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Erskine, Renfrewshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Erskine (#563)

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


History[edit | edit source]

ERSKINE, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 10 miles (N. N. W.) from Glasgow; containing the village of Bishopton. This place, of which the name is of uncertain origin, is of considerable antiquity: according to most historians, the lands were conferred upon the founder of the Erskine family by Malcolm II. The parish is beautifully situated on the river Clyde, and extends along its south bank for nearly eight and a half miles. The church, having become ruinous, was taken down in 1813, and a new church erected near its site. It is a neat structure in the Elizabethan style of architecture, containing 500 sittings. There is likewise a place of worship for members of the Free Church.[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 Erskine.  Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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 Erskine as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Fillm Number        Surname Index              
1841 1042723 CD-ROM no. 3820
1851 1042359 Item 3 CD-ROM no. 3817
1861 103898
1871 104081
1881 203568 6086652 (set of 11 Fiche)
1891 220183

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 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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1705-1854 1041058
Marriages: 1705-1854 1041058
Deaths: 1852-1854 1041058
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: Many of the early leaves of the record are considerably wasted. They are blank May 1770–June 1771.
Marriages: These records are proclamations and marriages. The records are blank from September 1709–December 1710.
Deaths: Record extends from March 1852–June 1854. See also Kirk Sessions below.
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 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:

Minutes 1729–1744, 1773–1801, 1807–1808, 1816–1830, 1852–1922
Collections 1729–1766, 1772–1807
List of pre-1855 Graves in the Churchyard
Register of Deaths or Obituaries 1828–1833
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1348.

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.


Erskine Bishopton Free Church[edit | edit source]

Dr. R. W. Stewart, minister of the parish, and many of his congregation, “came out” in 1843. Church and school were erected in 1844, and the manse in 1848. A new school, afterwards used as church hall, was built in 1853, the old school being converted into church-officer’s house.
Membership: 1848, 199; 1900, 114.
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.

Various Minutes 1843–1859
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/355.

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]

Erskine was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Paisley. 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 Renfrew and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Renfrew.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Renfrew.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Renfrew 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. 392-411. Adapted. Date accessed: 21 February 2014.

Return to the Renfrewshire parish list.