Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Lanarkshire Gotoarrow.png Cambusnethan

Cambusnethan (#627)

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Cambusnethan. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.


CAMBUSNETHAN, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark; including the villages of Bonkle, Stane, and Stewarton and Wishawton; 4½ miles (N. W.) from Carluke. The name is derived from the Gaelic word Camus, signifying a "bay" or "curve," applicable to the remarkable windings of the river Clyde; and from Nethan, the name of the celebrated saint whom Archbishop Usher styles "religiosissimus et doctissimus Nethan," and to whom the church was dedicated. The church is a plain and uncomfortable building, erected in 1640, in lieu of a more ancient edifice, part of which is still standing: a third church, to supersede the present, was begun in June, 1839, and is a handsome edifice with a tower. There are places of worship for the Relief body, Reformed Presbyterians, and members of the United Secession.[1]

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Cambusnethan.  Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library (FHL) microfilm numbers for the census records of Cambusnethan.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Years Surname Index          
1841 ($)
1851 FHL CD-ROM no. 1850
1861 6206626
1871 ($)
1881 FHL 6086616 (41 fiche)
1891 ($)
1901 ($)

All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access indexes through the library.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish with their Family History Library call number.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Event Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1634-1854 1042968 items 1-3
Marriages: 1634-1819 1042968items 1-3
Deaths: 1649-1652, 1742-1750 1042968items 1-3
Condition of Original Registers

Indexed: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: There are only four birth entries for January 1653–January 1654. There are no entries November 1660–May 1662, January 1664–January 1670, except two for April 1671–February 1678. There is one entry for June 1687–January 1691 and no entries 1704–October 1741, after which date the upper portion of several pages was destroyed. Except for January 1670–April 1671, Mothers’ names are seldom recorded until 1741.
Marriages: There are no marriage entries May 1653–May 1654, December 1656–June 1670, April 1671–February 1678, July 1684–February 1686, except two for 1691, August 1687–January 1693, November 1704–January 1787, except there is one page of entries of proclamations for 1750 and a few entries of irregular marriages 1747–1751, these are intermixed with the record of Mortcloth Dues, etc. There are separate entries of Consignation Money 1654–1666. The record after 1786 is one of proclamations only.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues–There are no entries December 1652–1742, after which date the entries are intermixed with other matters.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1636–1652, 1660, 1640–1661, 1687, 1704–1739, 1775–1942
Cash Books 1753–1848
Accounts 1654–1693
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/48.

Nonconformist Church Records

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union Lists.

Bonkle United Presbyterian Church

This congregation was formed in 1737 from a praying society in Calderwater. Many parishioners of Cambusnethan joined the congregation after the settlement of an unfavorable minister in the parish church. The congregation was made up of persons collected from 22 parishes. A place of worship was built at Davies Dykes in 1740 and rebuilt in 1780. The congregation was known by that place name for many years. The minister and the majority of the congregation adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod at the Breach in 1747. A new church was built in the village of Bonkle in 1818. The congregation joined the United Presbyterian Church in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family Hhistory Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Baptismal Register 1837–1852, 1861–1875
Minutes 1759–1813
Congregational Minutes 1802–1831
Poor Fund Accounts and Distributions 1842–1885
Seat Rent Accounts 1791–1843
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1445.

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records'

Cambusnethan was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Glasgow.  Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at  You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Lanark and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Glasgow.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Lanark. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Lanark and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 163-185. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 February 2014.

Return to the Lanarkshire parish list.