Canongate, Midlothian, Scotland
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Canongate. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
CANONGATE is a parish in the city of EDINBURGH, the seat of a university, and the metropolis of the kingdom of Scotland, situated in longitude 3° 10' 30" (W.), and latitude 55° 57' 29" (N.), about a mile (S. by W.) from Leith, 40 miles (S.S.W.) from Dundee, 42 (E. by N.) from Glasgow, 44 (S. by E.) from Perth, 55 (W. by N.) from Berwick-upon-Tweed, 92½ (N. by W.) from Carlisle, 109 (S. W. by S.) from Aberdeen, 156 (S. by E.) from Inverness, 270 (N. E.) from Dublin, and 392 (N. N. W.) from London; containing 56,330, and, including the suburban parishes of St. Cuthbert and Canongate. The parish of the Canongate is about a mile and a half in length, and nearly four-fifths of a mile in breadth, comprising a considerable rural district. The church was erected in 1688 and was thoroughly repaired and new seated in 1819. It is a plain cruciform structure of irregular style, with a portico of four columns having an entablature and cornice surmounted by a triangular pediment; the interior is well arranged, and contains 1295 sittings. There is a place of worship for a congregation of members of the Free Church.
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 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 Canongate, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.
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 church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.
Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
||Years Covered||Family History Library Film Number|
|Births:||1564-1567||941 B4sr vol. 90, or 1067739|
||1830-1872 (neglected entries)||1067750|
||1795-1851 (Index only)||1067751 items 1-6|
|Marriages:||1564-1567||941 B4sr vol 90, or 1067743|
||1814-1822 (chapel of Ease)||1068224 Item 5|
||1564-1800 (Holyrood chapel)||941 B4sr Vol. 46|
||1689-1691 (Mortcloth Dues)||1067744|
||1744-1862 (Indexed only||1067751 items 1-6|
||1706-1900 (Holyrood Chapel)||941 B4sr vol. 25|
||1793-1814 (Holyrood Chapel)||1067746|
||1820-1854 (Holyrood Chapel)||1067750|
See also Edinburgh parish.
Condition of Original Registers—
Births: There is a modern copy of the portion prior to 1567. There are no entries for March 11th, 1567–May 1600. After May 1631 there is a duplicate of the record from March 1627, which is continued after the former date as the principal register. After November 1690 begins a register of baptisms in the Canongate meeting house, from August 1687, in which the entries are different from those in the preceding record for the same period. Mothers’ names are not recorded until September 1615.
Marriages: There are separate records of proclamations and marriages prior to 1567. There are no entries for November 1567–May 1600 and August 1631–October 1645. After October 1690, there is a separate record of proclamations for August 1651–February 1673 followed by marriages from August 1687. There are no entries for February 1699–August 1700. After March 1707, the record appears to be mainly one of proclamation of banns. The Chapel of Ease marriages, 1814-1822, give the names of the brides’ fathers, as well as occupations.
Deaths: The record for 1565–1568 is contained on a single page. It embraces entries relative to the deaths of King Henry, Darnley and Rizzio. The records of the Canongate burying ground, 1612–1854 inclusive, in thirteen volumes, are in the custody of the recorder of the ground, 163 Canongate. The records of the same for1820–1854 inclusive, one volume, are in the custody of the registrar of Canongate District.
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:
Marriage dues, morthcloth dues, and money disbursements, 1689-1693
Various Minutes 1613–1928 - with gaps
Baptisms 1696–1697, 1766–1821, 1830–1840
Burials 1695–1731, 1789–1807, 1822–1828
Dues in Interment in Abbey Church 1814–1840
Aliment to Prisoners in Tolbooth 1682–1705
Bonds of Cautionary Presentation 1694–1706
Charity Accounts 1646–1822
Confessions - declarations of paternity etc. 1694–1827
Entertainment Expenses 1658–1772
Extracts of Presbytery Minutes of Discipline Cases Referred to the Session 1705–1750
Miscellaneous Discharges 1645–1863
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/122.
Managers’ Minutes 1804–1811, 1817–1847
Managers’ Cash Book 1833–1852
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/132.
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.
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.
Canongate 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 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 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 Midlothianhe subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 361-392. Adapted. Date accessed: 10 April 2014.
Return to the Midlothian parish list.