Whitsome and Hilton, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Whitsome & Hilton. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
WHITSOME and HILTON, a parish, in the county of Berwick; 7 miles (N. by E.) from Coldstream. These two ancient parishes, which are in the eastern portion of the county, were united in 1735, after the decay of the old church of Hilton, from the situation of which upon an eminence that district derived its name. The church, erected in 1803, is a neat plain structure containing 260 sittings.
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 of the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Whitsome and Hilton, as well as the catalog entry for the 1841 surname index for Whitsome. For other indexes, see 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||FHL Film Number|
|Births:||1724-1854||067904 item 6-7|
|Marriages:||1724-1854||067904 item 6-7|
|Deaths:||1724-1822||067904 item 6-7|
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: After 1792, entries are frequently out of chronological order, at times by several years. Mothers’ names are rarely recorded until 1808.
Marriages: There is only one entry prior to May 1785. The record before 1790 is deficient, usually containing only the names of the bridegrooms and no dates. There are no entries 1793–November 1808.
Deaths: Burials are recorded on alternate pages of the register of marriages. Except for the year 1790, the names of the deceased are rarely mentioned in the entries.
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:
Minutes 1834–1844, 1847–1870
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/977.
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 were no known pre-1855 nonconformist churches in this parish. In 1834 there were forty Dissenter families, or about 214 persons of all ages, out of a population of about 665, but no nonconformist chapels within the parish. They would have attended chapels in neighboring parishes.
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.
Whitsome and Hilton were 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. 588-608. Adapted. Date accessed: 03 April 2014.
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