Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png LanarkshireGotoarrow.png Rutherglen

Rutherglen (#654)

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



RUTHERGLEN, a parish, burgh, and market-town, in the Lower ward of the county of Lanark, 2½ miles (S. by E.) from Glasgow, and 43 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh containing the West late quoad sacra district. This place is popularly supposed to have derived its name from Reutherus, King of Scotland, the fifth in descent from Fergus I., founder of the Scottish monarchy. The town is pleasantly situated on the Clyde, over which is a stone bridge of five arches, communicating with the suburbs of Glasgow on the opposite shore. The present church, erected in 1794 is in good repair, and adapted for a congregation of 800 persons. There is a chapel of ease also containing 800 sittings, to which an ecclesiastical district was till lately annexed called West Church. In the town are likewise a Free and a Relief 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 Rutherglen.  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 Rutherglen. 

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index           
1851 CD-ROM no. 1850
1861 6205869
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.


Established Church—Kirk Session Records

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births; 1698-1854 1066604
Marriages: 1698-1758, 1820-1854 1066604
Deaths: 1705-1794 1066604
Condition of Original Registers

Births: Birth record is tabulated prior to 1780.
Marriages: Proclamations and Marriages. There are no entries October 1758–1820.
Deaths: There are no entries July 1782–November 1783. There are five entries for January 1794, and there is no record after March 1791.
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 1658–1688, 1694–1763, 1792–1863
Baptisms 1663–1698
Marriages 1663–1686, 1691–1697
Testimonials 1663–1688
Accounts 1633–1687, 1692–1693, 1776–1780
Note: Available at the Glasgow City Archives, Glasgow, record CH2/315.

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.

Rutherglen Free Church

The minister and congregation of this church adhered to the Free Church at the Disruption. Deprived of their church in 1849 they erected a new one in 1850. The growth of the town was mainly towards the east end, away from the church.
Membership: 1848, 402; 1900, 540.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Minutes 1843–1933
Communion Roll 1853–1874
Note: Available at the Glasgow City Archives, Glasgow, record CH2/1359.

Rutherglen Relief, later United Presbyterian Church

From 1827 to 1834 the parish church of Rutherglen had no minister. A dispute over the right to appoint a new minister led to a group of the parishioners withdrawing from the Established Church and applying to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow for supply of sermon. In December 1834, Rutherglen was received as a forming congregation and a church was built the following year. This 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. FHL Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Rutherglen Catholic Church

This church was founded in 1846 and the church building dedicated to St. Columbkille in 1851. The Catholics also maintained a school in the parish from as early as 1836.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1880: Vol. 6 Scotland, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. FHL Ref. Book 942 K24gm Vol. 6.

Baptisms 1851–1887
Marriages 1851–1885
Easter Communicants 1846–1867
Note: Available online for a fee, at, record RH21/5. Originals are with the parish priest.

Rutherglen Brach, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints

                                                    FHL Film Number
Record of Members   1848–1854     0104155 item 12

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

Rutherglen 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. 430-443. Adapted. Date accessed: 28 February 2014.

Return to the Lanarkshire parish list.