Duddingston, Midlothian, Scotland

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Midlothian Gotoarrow.png Duddingston

Parish #684

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


DUDDINGSTON, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh; including the villages of Joppa and Easter and Wester Duddingston, and also the late quoad sacra parish of Portobello; 3½ miles (E. by S), and the latter 1½ mile (E. S. E.), from Edinburgh. This place derived its name, anciently Dodinestun, from the family of Dodin, to whom it belonged in the reign of David I. The church is a very ancient structure in the Norman style, of which it contains some interesting details, particularly a fine arch separating the chancel from the nave; in 1631. It was enlarged and repaired in 1840, and now contains 400 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the United Associate Secession, the Relief Congregation, and Independents, and an episcopal and a Roman Catholic chapel.[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 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.

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 census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Duddingston, 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.

Church Records

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: 1631-1819 1066683

1819-1854 - with index 1066685

1818-1847 - neglected entries 1066685
Marriages: 1653-1817 1066684

1820-1854 1066685
Deaths: 1631-1667, 1683-1796, 1813-1819 1066684

1820-1854 1066685

Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers.  Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.

Marriages: There are no entries, except entries of sums collected at marriages in 1682, June 1681–April 1684, December 1684–September 1694, November 1696–April 1698, May 1698–February 1712, May 1743–August 1747. A large number of irregular marriages are recorded, 1765–1805 and there are no entries May 1817–April 1821.
Deaths: There are burial records until 1770. Of 159 persons whose deaths are recorded in 1645, all except seventeen are stated to have died of the “plague” and most of them were interred “in the fute of the lon” (loan). There are no entries except for a few relating to paupers, November 1667–January 1685. Mortcloth Dues January 1771–May 1796 and then There are no entries until February 1813, after which deaths are recorded. See also Portobello Kirk Session records below.
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:

Various Minutes 1710–1716, 1742–1797, 1806, 1810–1877
Accounts 1682–1719
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/125.

Managers’ Minutes 1807–1859
Roll of Members 1837–1843
Treasurer’s Accounts 1830–1861
Register of Burials 1834–1948
Receipts for Tombs 1834–1934
Miscellaneous Papers from 1814 on
History of Old Portobello and Regent Street Parish Church 1809–1959
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/512.

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.

Portobello United Associate, First Secession Church

In 1825, a group of people made application to the United Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon, which was obtained, and a place of worship was erected. A trade depression in the area about this time threw the new congregation into financial difficulties when subscriptions could not be met. The only minister resigned in 1833 and the congregation became extinct and the place of worship sold.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Extent of records is unknown. None may exist.

Portobello Relief Church

A congregation was formed in 1834 and a church was acquired. After the only minister resigned in 1843, the congregation united with the new Free Church and sold the building to them.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Extent of records is unknown. None may exist.

Portobello United, United Free Presbyterian Church

In 1835, former members of the first secession church applied again to the United Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon which was obtained. They erected a church on Bath Street in 1838 and later moved to Windsor Place. In 1929, it did not rejoin the Established Church and continued as a United Free Church. From 1958, it was called Wilson Memorial Church after its former minister. It is currently located at Moira Terrace, Portobello Road.
Membership: 2000, 198.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618 More details may be given in the source including ministers also, The United Free Church Of Scotland, Handbook 2000, Family History Library book 941 K24h.

Baptismal Register 1836–1876
Minutes 1836–1972
Poors’ Fund Accounts 1848–1894
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/933.

Portobello St. Philip’s Free Church

The minister of the quoad sacra parish of Portobello, with his session and many of his members, “came out” in 1843 and formed the Free Church of Portobello. They worshiped at first in a school on Bath Street, then in the Relief Church, the use of which had been offered them. They shortly after purchased the building, the Relief and Free Church congregations uniting. In 1874 the church burned down. A new church was built on a different site and was opened in 1877.
Membership: 1845, 300; 1900, 558.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family Hisoty Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Cash Book 1848–1884
Other post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/957.

Portobello Congregational Church

A church erected in Wellington Street was opened as a preaching station in August 1835 by the Congregational Union. For several years prior to that date Congregationalists from Edinburgh and elsewhere had conducted regular open–air services in the town and a schoolroom had been rented and used as a place of worship. In September 1836 a church was constituted with about twenty members. This congregation was still active in 1993.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960; Family History Library book 941 K2es, also, The Scottish Congregational Ministry, by Rev. Dr. William D. McNaughton, pub. 1993; Family History Library book 941 K2mwd. Both include lists of ministers.

Extent of records is unknown. For more information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX
Or you may write to the church on Malborough Street in Portobello.

Portobello Catholic Church

The congregation was formed in 1835 and the church was built and dedicated to St. John the Evangelist in 1852. It was served from Edinburgh prior to formation.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1800, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. Family History Library book Ref. 942 K24gm, vol. 6.

Baptisms and Marriages1844–1872
See St. Mary’s, Edinburgh, for earlier records.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record RH21/89.

Portobello Episcopalian Church


The church was dedicated to St. Mark in 1828 and is currently vacant.

Christenings 1828–1854
Marriages 1829–1854
Burials 1828–1854
Note: Records may be available by writing to:
Diocesan Centre
21A Grosvenor Crescent
Edinburgh EH12 5EL
Tel: 011–44–131–538 7033

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

Duddingston 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 Midlothian 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. 297-310. Adapted. Date accessed: 10 April 2014.

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