Carstairs, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Lanarkshire Gotoarrow.png Carstairs

Carstairs (#633)

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


CARSTAIRS, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark; including the village of Ravenstruther, 4½ miles (E. by S.) from Lanark. The name is most probably derived from the word Car, or Caer, signifying "a fort," and stair, or stairs, "a possession;" descriptive of an estate or possession in a fortified place. The church, which was built in 1794, and has a handsome spire, is situated in the centre of the village, on an eminence, and contains 430 sittings.[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 Carstairs.  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 microfilm numbers for the census records of Carstairs.  

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Years Surname Index         
1851 CD-ROM no. 1850
1861 6205854
1881 6086616 ( 41 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. 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 numbers.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Event Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1672-1820 1042971 items 4-5
1820-1855 1042972 items 1-2
Marriages: 1672-1705 0102986 in vault
1699-1705, 1712-1729 1042972 items 1-2
1749-1801, 1820-1855 1042972 items 1-2
Deaths: 1664-1708 0102896 in vault
1712-1729, 1749-1801 1042972 items 1-2
1818-1854 1042972 items 1-2
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 also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are no birth entries August 1683–January 1685, December 1688–August 1692, May 1704–December 1711 and March 1746–May 1748. There is a copy of the record for 1672–1803, which, though it exhibits the first three blanks as above noted, is complete for 1746–1748. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1700.
Marriages: Record prior to August 1687 is engrossed on parallel columns of the register of births for the same period. There are no entries February 1682–August 1685, August 1687–July 1699 except two for 1697, June 1705–1711, inclusive. From this date until 1729 there are only entries of marriage money, for each year, sometimes without full date. There are no entries October 1729–November 1749 and January 1801–20. From November 1749 to 1801 entries of proclamations are intermixed with Mortcloth Dues.
Deaths: Entries prior to 1678 are engrossed on parallel columns with births and marriages for the same period. There are no entries except two between 1697–1698 and April 1678–February 1701. The record up to October 1702 is one of burials. A record of Mortcloth Dues begins February 1701, which has no entries for April 1708–1719. There are no entries also for 1729–November 1749. Entries from November 1749 to 1801 are intermixed with other matters, except for the period 1751–1764, during which there is a separate record. There are no entries May 1801–January 1818, when a register of deaths begins.
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 1694–1730, 1732, 1737–1742, 1811–1923
Collections 1672–1710
Accounts 1801–1836
Disbursements 1699–1711, 1730–1745
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/63.

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.

There are none for this parish.

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

Carstairs was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Lanark 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 Lanark.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Lanark. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Larnark 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. 185-200. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 February 2014.

Return to the Lanarkshire parish list.