Culter, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Lanarkshire Gotoarrow.png Culter

Culter (#637)

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


CULTER, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark, 2½ miles (S. W.) from Biggar. This place takes its name from its situation in the rear of the district of which it forms a part. The church, erected in 1810, a plain edifice beautifully situated, commodious, and accessible to the parishioners, is adapted to a congregation of nearly 400 persons. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church.[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 Culter.  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 Culter.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Years Surname Index          

941.43/C8 X2m 1851

CD-ROM no. 1850

1861 6205866
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 number.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Event Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1700-1854 1066587 items 3-5
Marriages: 1700-1854 1066587 Items 3-5
Deaths: 1700-1854 1066587 items3-5
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 Intnational Genealogical Index. 
Births: There are no birth entries March 1721–January 1738. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1778.
Marriages: There are no entries for 1708, September 1720–November 1737, after which the record is one of proclamations, May 1781–March 1786. There is a record containing proclamation fees 1703–1769 and Mortcloth Dues 1706–1772 which is blank 1730–1738.
Deaths: There are no entries October 1718–November 1737 and April 1779–December 1786. The former blank is partly supplied by the record of Mortcloth Dues above mentioned.
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 and Accounts 1737–1751, 1766–1772
Poors’ Accounts 1772–1851
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/454.

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.

Culter Free Church

The minister of the parish with three elders and a considerable portion of the congregation adhered to the Free Church in 1843. At length a church and manse were built. The church at Culter served the whole district including Biggar. Part of the congregation did not join the union in 1900.
Membership: 1848, 240; 1870, 228; 1900 figures not available.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Minutes 1843–1900
Deacons’ Court Minutes and Accounts 1846–1911
Note: Available at the Free Church Offices in Edinburgh.

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

Culter 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 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. 246-259. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 February 2014.

Return to the Lanarkshire parish list.