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Scottish Church Records Before 1855 Released

More than 36,000 new Scottish church records before 1855 have been added to ScotlandsPeople, covering the period 1744 to 1854. These parish records are of interest if your ancestors belonged to Presbyterian churches that broke away from the established Church of Scotland or if you’re having difficult finding ancestors in the established church’s Old Parish Registers (OPRs).

ScotlandsPeople notes:

The records are from Presbyterian churches that were originally outside the Church of Scotland (or left the Church of Scotland) but joined (or re-joined) the Church of Scotland at various points. These other Presbyterian churches in Scotland kept registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1716 onwards….

The 20,255 births and baptisms (1744–1855), 10,368 marriages and proclamations (1729–1855) and 5,422 death and burial records (1783–1855) may be especially helpful for anyone searching for a person who was born or baptised, married or died before the introduction of statutory registration in 1855.

Old Parish Registers (OPRs), already available to search through the website, were compiled by ministers of the Church of Scotland, and therefore do not include surviving records of baptisms that were created in other presbyterian denominations that separated themselves from the established church and that sometimes also formed further separate denominations.

ScotlandsPeople also notes that the other churches did not have the same parish structure as the Church of Scotland. Read more about the other churches in their church registers guide.

Search the church registers by choosing”advanced people search” on the main page, followed by “church registers” on the following page. Then select “other Scottish church records before 1855churches” in the registers, as shone at right for births and baptisms.

The release of 36,000 records are just the beginning as Scotlands People plans further additions to these records available online.

Records from these churches are included:

  • The Reformed Presbyterian Church
  • The Original Secession (or First Secession) Church
  • The Associate Synods (Burghers and Antiburghers, and the Auld Licht Burghers, New Licht Burghers, Auld Licht Antiburghers and New Licht Antiburghers)
  • The Relief Church
  • The United Secession Church
  • The United Presbyterian Church
  • The Free Church

Locations for New Scottish Church Records Before 1855

Click the links for more information on Births and Baptisms and Marriages and Banns for the specific parishes that are included. Deaths for these new Scottish Parish Records are listed below.

Deaths and Burials

  • Bathgate Relief Session, later West United Presbyterian Church, St. John’s United Free Church and St. John’s Church of Scotland (CH3/416/13), 1832–1834
  • Bellshill Relief Church, United Presbyterian, West United Free, St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland (CH3/1037/9, 12), 1797–1855
  • Campsie, Relief Church, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/1041/3), 1845–1855
  • Carluke, Kirkton, United Presbyterian Church (CH3/459/1), 1835–1837
  • Chirnside Reformed Presbyterian Congregation (CH3/336/1), 1843–1855
  • Dennyloanhead Associate (Antiburgher) Congregation, United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/704/25), 1836–1851
  • Dunfermline, St Margaret’s United Free Church (CH3/1232/33), 1825–1850
  • Edinburgh – Martyrs’ Reformed Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, Free Church, United Free, united with St John’s as Martyrs’ and St John’s, 1909 (CH3/1198/1), 1805–1855
  • Edzell Free Church, later United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/543/4), 1837–1855
  • Glasgow – Regent Place United Associate (CH3/354/26), 1836–1840
  • Inch Free Church, later United Free, Castle Kennedy, united with Inch Church of Scotland in 1931 (CH3/557/1), 1845–1855
  • Insch Free Church, later United Free and East Church of Scotland (CH3/175/5), 1843–1855
  • Kirkcaldy, Pathhead Antiburgher Church, Associate Session (Linktoun), United Presbyterian (CH3/1144/8), 1839–1855
  • Kirkcowan, United Secession Church, United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland Danson Memorial (CH3/871/5), 1838–1855
  • Lethendy Associate Congregation (CH3/214/1), 1801
  • Lybster Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/882/1), 1844–1855
  • Monzie Free Church (CH3/567/2), 1843–1855
  • Morebattle, Free Church, United Free, and St Aidan’s Church of Scotland (CH3/526/10), 1848–1853
  • Ordiquhill Free Church, United Free, Ordiquhill, Cornhill and Ordiquhill Church of Scotland (CH3/1045/53), 1845–1855
  • Paisley, Oakshaw East Associate Congregation (Antiburgher), later United Free Church (CH3/550/4), 1836–1855
  • Paisley, Reformed Presbyterian, Oakshaw Free Church, Oakshaw West United Free, and Church of Scotland (CH3/751/20), 1809–1821
  • Paisley, Abbey Close Associate Session, later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/465/39–40), 1842–1855
  • Rathillet Kirk Session (Burgher), later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/1565/4), 1783–1836
  • Stronsay, United Associate (Antiburgher), United Presbyterian, St John’s United Free (CH3/1116/1), 1800–1810
  • West Linton Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, West Linton and Newlands United Free and Trinity Church of Scotland (CH3/307/2–3), 1812–1852
Finding Scottish Ancestors Online

Finding Scottish Ancestors Online

For more help searching Scottish records, try Finding Scottish Ancestors Online, my genealogy guide to resources and records for U.S. immigrant ancestors and their families in Scotland. I know I have some Free Church of Scotland ancestors in the Highlands, so having Scottish church records before 1855 released is great news. Off to search!

 

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine’s “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”

One Comment

  1. Nancy Loe 11 November 2017 at 5:22 PM - Reply

    From reader-genealogist Jody Allen, some useful information about the years that these churches broke away from the Church of Scotland.

    • The Reformed Presbyterian Church 1690
    • . The Original Secession (or First Secession) Church 1822
    • The Associate Synods (Burghers and Antiburghers, and the Auld Licht Burghers, New Licht Burghers, Auld Licht Antiburghers and New Licht Antiburghers) 1733, 1747, 1798, 1806, 1829, 1847 ( a series of dates)
    • The Relief Church 1761
    • The United Secession Church 1732
    • The United Presbyterian Church 1847
    • The Free Church 1843

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