Cranston, Midlothian, Scotland

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Midlothian Gotoarrow.png Cranston

Parish  #680

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


CRANSTON, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh, 1 mile (N. by W.) from Ford; containing the villages of Chesterhill with Sauchenside, Cowsland, and Preston. The name of this place is said to be derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, signifying "the crane's district," and applied on account of the number of cranes that formerly resorted to the place. The church is a neat edifice of freestone, built in 1825, at the cost of Sir John Dalrymple, and will accommodate about 350 persons.[1]

  The name of the parish of Cranston or Cranstoun, in the charters of the twelfth century, was written Cranestone, the Anglo-Saxon, Craenston, signifying the crane's district, or resort.  There are cranes in in the river Tyne, which intersects Cranston.  In the 12th century the  manor was divided into New Cranston and Cranston Ridel.  The Church was at New Cranston which was the larger of the two manors.  The parish registers begin in 1682 and are now regularly kept but not voluminous.  In 1792 the population was 839, and in 1831 it was 1030.  The land is used primarily for potatoes, turnips, hay, wheat, oats, barley, pease, and beans.  The villiages in the parish are Cousland, Chesterhill, and Preston.  The nearest market town is Dalkeith.  There are about 62 families in the parish that belong to the Established Church, and about 36 that are Disenting or Seceding.

This account was written in 1839.

Source:  New Statistical Account of Scotland (FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 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 your parish of interest. 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 census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Cranston, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

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 the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1682-1820 1066676 item 3

1820-1855 1066677
Marriages: 1692-1696, 1784-1820 1066676 item 3

1820-1855 1066677
Deaths: 1738-1746 0103010 - in vault

1853-1857 1066677
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 no entries except six, March 1691–September 1694, May 1713–March 1714, and November 1750–February 1752. Mothers’ names are rarely recorded before 1694.
Marriages: Except for three entries June and July 1713, there does not appear to be any record extant earlier than July 1784, and the entries from the latter date refer mainly to proclamations, and to clandestine or irregular marriages, of which a large number are recorded.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues, the entries occur on two pages of the register of baptisms, before births for December 1740 and before births September 1742. Last entry is dated April 1746.
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 1783–1949
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/74.

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 List.

This congregation originated with members of the Established Church who were dissatisfied with the doctrines taught in the pulpits of the parish churches, and the moral deadness that pervaded the congregations, the Presbytery of Dalkeith being notorious at the time for its moderatism. They applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh in 1784. This congregation became extinct after the departure of its third minister in 1814, and the property belonging to it was sold to the Secession Church congregation.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Extent of records is unknown.

Ford Secession Church

This congregation originated with members of the Relief Church, and some of the Secession, resident in the locality, who attended church in Fala and Dalkeith. These parties applied to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon in 1815, which the Presbytery was disposed to grant; but such was the strenuous opposition shown to the movement by the minister and several members of the congregation of Fala, fearing the loss of Number of their congregation, that it was deemed expedient to refer the case to the Synod. The Synod by a majority granted the petition, but there was still opposition. However, when the Relief Church building was offered for sale the same year, a congregation was formed in connection with the United Associate Synod and the place of worship was purchased. They occupied that church until 1851 when a new one was built. Ford is partly in the parishes of Cranston and Crichton.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Extent of records is unknown.

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

Cranston was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Edinburgh. 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 Midlothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Midlothian.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Midlothian 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. 218-233. Adapted. Date accessed: 10 April 2014.

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