Polwarth, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Polwarth. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
POLWARTH, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 4 miles (S. W.) from Dunse. The parish is situated nearly in the centre of the county. The church, pleasantly situated within the demesne of Marchmont House, appears to have been originally erected prior to the 9th century, and rebuilt in 1703, upon the ancient foundation; it is a neat edifice, and beneath it is the vault of the Marchmont family, in which Sir Patrick Hume was concealed.
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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.
A census record 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[low quality link] to see the Family History Library Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Polwarth, as well as the catalog entry for the 1841 and the 1861 census surname indexes for Polwarth. Other indexes will be found listed on the Berwickshire county page.
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.
The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.
Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
|Event Type||Years Covered||Family History Library Film Number|
|Births:||1652-1688, 1747-1854||1067903 items 5-7|
|Marriages:||1652-1688, 1748-1772||1067903 items 5-7|
|Deaths;||1652-1688, 1748-1772||1067903 items 5-7|
Condition of Original Registers—
Index: 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: Births, marriages, and burials, are intermixed until 1688, but there is an index at the end. After 1789, the record of births is arranged chronologically in the form of an index, under the initial letters of the children’s surnames. Mothers’ names are not recorded in entries until 1753.
Marriages: Beginning in 1748, proclamation fees are mixed with other matters until June 1772.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues are mixed with the proclamation fees.
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 Kirk session was made up of he 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:
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/721.
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.
There are no known pre-1855 nonconformist churches or records for this parish. In 1834 there were only two or three dissenter families and no chapels within the 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.
Polwarth was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Lauder until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Duns. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Berwick and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Lauder.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Berwick. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Berwick and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 367-388. Adapted. Date accessed: 03 April 2014.
[Return to the Berwickshire parish list.]