Bolton, East Lothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #704

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

History[edit | edit source]

BOLTON, a parish, in the county of Haddington, 2 miles (S. by W.) from Haddington. This manor, in 1568, belonged to Hepburn of Bolton. The parish, which is about six miles in length, and one mile and a quarter in average breadth, is bounded on the east and north-east by the Gifford or Bolton water. The church, erected in 1809, is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and is well adapted for a congregation of 350 persons.[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 your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Bolton, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

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 the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]


Events Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1686-1819 - baptisms 1067794 item 4

1819-1854 1067795 item 1-2
Marriages: 1685-1821 1067794 item 4

1820-1854 1067795 item 1-2
Deaths: 1697-1701, 1746-1820 - burials 1067794 item 4
Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

Indexed: 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: This record seems to have been regularly kept. At the beginning of the volume are copies, and also a facsimile, of twelve entries of the name of Yule dated 1626–1657.
Marriages: Regularly kept, excluding that, 1685–1688, the fact of marriage is often not added.
Deaths: Burials are blank, excluding one entry September 1701–October 1745, and defective 1795–1826.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
[edit | edit source]

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:

                                             FHL Film Number
Baptisms         1850–1861       0304660 item 3
Marriages         1850–1860       0304660 item 3
Deaths             1840–1860       0304660 item 3
Minutes 1640–1802 - with some accounts, 1832–1898
Cash Books 1803–1842
Financial Minutes, 1838–1925
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/37.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Salton and Bolton Free Church
[edit | edit source]

The minister of Salton parish and many of his people adhered to the Free Church in 1843. At first they worshiped in a large barn. Church and manse were soon erected. The minister of the neighboring parish of Bolton also “came out”, but owing to illness was unable for duty. Some of his people attended worship at Gifford; but most of them went to Salton, and became identified with the congregation there.
Membership: 1848, 255; 1900, 78.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Bolton was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Haddington. 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 East Lothian 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 East Lothian. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of East Lothian] and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records. 

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 04 April 2014.

Return to the East Lothian Parish list.