Coldingham, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #732

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

History[edit | edit source]

COLDINGHAM, a parish, in the county of Berwick; including the tract of Laverock, and the late quoad sacra district of Houndwood; 3 miles from Reston, which is on the London and Edinburgh road, and 11 (N. N. W.) from Berwick. This place, of which the name is of doubtful derivation, has a claim to very remote antiquity. The parish is bounded on the north and north-east by the sea and the Frith of Forth. The church, which is a portion of the ancient monastery, was repaired in 1662, and is well adapted for a congregation of 827 persons. There is a place of worship for members of the United Associate Synod.[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 census records.

Click here[low quality link] to see the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Coldingham, as well as the catalog entry for 1841,1851,and 1861 census surname indexes for Coldingham.  Other surname indexes will be found on the Berwickshire  county page.

 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 church records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Event Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1690-1726 1067868 item 2-4

1727-1819 1067869

1819-1853 - neglected 1845-1848 1067870 item 1-2

1854-1855 1068273 item 3
Marriages: 1690-1742 1067868 item 2-4

1727-1820 1067869

1820-1853 1067870 item 1-2
Deaths: 1690-1759 1067868 item 2-4
Collections: 1722-1759 1067868 item 2-4
Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

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: There are no entries June 1692–July 1694. The record prior to 1714 is in the form of a small memorandum book. There is also, however, a record of births intermixed with marriages and deaths from January 1710–1727, with a few entries to 1734. A separate record again begins October 1727. After 1806, there is a supplement for the years 1776–1804 inclusive. In the record after January 1807, numerous blank spaces in the record occur. Mothers’ names are rarely recorded until May 1764.
Marriages: A double record of proclamations and marriages occurs prior to 1702. Entries of proclamations, 1710–1744, occur among the births and other matters. In the unmixed record of marriages, no entries exist December 1724–December 1727.
Deaths: Burials are recorded 1694–1742; Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with other matters 1710–1744.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970.Family History Library British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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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 1699–1709, 1726–1898
Accounts 1726–1805
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/69.

Houndwood “quoad sacra” Parish
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This parish was created in 1851

Minutes 1851–1958
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/969.

Nonconformist Church Records
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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.

Coldingham Relief Church
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Some members of the parish, disappointed in a new minister, applied for supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Kelso in 1792. This was granted in 1793, and the congregation built a church the same year. Several years later, in 1805, the congregation became a Burgher church. See the history following.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873.Family History Library Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

See below.

Coldingham United Associate, Burgher Church
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The Relief congregation of Coldingham (discussed above) applied to be admitted to the Associate, Burgher Presbytery of Coldstream. This was granted in 1806.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873.Family History Library Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1808–1896
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/628.

Houndwood Free Church
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Those parishioners who left the Houndwood “quoad sacra” church in 1843 were granted supply of sermon at Auchencrow, and in 1845 the charge was sanctioned. Two years later they built their church at Houndwood. However, when a new congregation which had been formed in Reston began to draw off members, the Houndwood congregation moved to Grant’s House in 1888.
Membership: 1848, 293; 1900, 150.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914.Family History Library Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1846–1941
And other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/930.

Reston Congregational Church
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Most likely there was a congregation in Reston in 1806, but it was short lived.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Source contains a list of ministers; Family History Library British Book 941 K2es.

Extent of the 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]

Coldingham was 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  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.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 200-218. Adapted. Date accessed: 28 March 2014.

Return to the Berwickshire Parish list.