Eccles, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #373

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

History[edit | edit source]

ECCLES, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 6 miles (W. by N.) from Coldstream; containing the villages of Leitholm and Birgham. The name of this parish is derived from the classical word signifying a church, supposed to be applied on account of the number of churches or chapels at one time situated here. It is remarkable as containing the ancient village of Birgham, celebrated for the meeting, in 1188, between Hugh, Bishop of Durham, and William the Lion, at the instance of Henry II. The first church was dedicated to St. Cuthbert, but the next, built about the year 1250, was in honour of St. Andrew; the present church was erected in 1774. It is situated about a mile from the western boundary of the parish, and contains 1000 sittings. The Relief Congregation have a place of worship.[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 edina. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Record[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 Eccles, as well as the catalog entry for the 1841,1851, and 1861 census surname indexes for Eccles.  Other surname indexes will be found on the Berwick county page.

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on scotlandspeopleTo 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: 1699-1854 1067895item 3-6

1761-1854 - fuplicate 1067896
Marriages: 1697-1854 1067895 item 3-6
Deaths: 1776-1854
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: Births are frequently out of chronological order 1790–1810.
Marriages: The first page of the record is almost illegible, and the second is also in poor condition. From May 1721–April 1754, the records are mixed with births for the same period. There are no entries 1810–January 1818. There are entries of proclamation money for 1776–1785.
Deaths: Prior to November 1784 only Mortcloth Dues are recorded. There are no entries September 1794–February 1812.
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:

Minutes 1721–1753, 1832–1942
Accounts 1721–1753, 1813–1923
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/910.

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.

Eccles Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation began in 1843 as a preaching station. In 1844 they built a church, and in 1845 they received a minister. The district is agricultural and encountered declining population.
Membership: 1848, 180; 1900, 66.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1845–1919
Communion Roll 1845–1894
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/877.

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]

Eccles 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 scotlandspeople 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. 349-361. Adapted. Date accessed: 28 March 2014.

Return to the Berwickshire Parish list.