Eyemouth, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #739

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

History[edit | edit source]

EYEMOUTH, a sea-port, burgh of barony, and parish, in the county of Berwick, 3 miles (N. E.) from Ayton, and 8 (N. N. W.) from Berwick. This place derives its name from its situation at the influx of the river Eye into the sea. The church, situated in the centre of the town, was erected in 1812; it is a neat edifice with a tower, containing little exterior embellishment, and is adapted for a congregation of 450 persons. There are places of worship for the Free Church, the Secession, and Primitive Methodists.[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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. 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 hereto see the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Eyemouth, as well as the catalog entry for the 1841,1851 and 1861 census surname indexes for Eyemouth.  Other surname indexes will be found on the Berwickshire county page.

The 1841-1911 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. and has images of the original census. To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, 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. Indexes to the 1841-1911 census are also available at these websites that are for pay at findmypast.co.ukand Ancestry.co.uk.

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: 1709-1756 1067896 item 6

1757-1854 1067897 item 1-3

1841-1843 - neglected 1067897 item 6
Marriages: 1710-1792 1067896 item6

1783-1854 1067897 item 1-3
Deaths: 1744-1777 1067896item 6

1732-1777 - mortcloth dues 1067897 item 1-3
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 intermixed with other matters until 1756. The pages are blank except for two entries October 1718–July 1742. There is a separate record of births from January 1757. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1775.
Marriages: Marriages are intermixed with other matters until 1756. The pages are blank September 1718–July 1732 except for one entry of an irregular marriage for 1729. There are no entries December 1756–October 1783 except for a few entries of irregular marriages after 1780.
Deaths:Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with other matters. The records are poor prior to 1745.
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 1826, 1834–1881; Minutes from 1709 seem to have existed in 1849, but have been misplaced or lost since.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1239.

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

Eyemouth United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation began when members of both the Established Church and the Secession congregations of Ayton and Coldingham wanted evangelical preaching in their village. In February 1841 they obtained supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Berwick and were organized into a congregation later the same year. They built their church in 1842.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film <img _fck_mw_template="true" _fckrealelement="4" _fckfakelement="true" src="spacer.gif" class="FCK__MWTemplate">. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1842–1917
Lists of Members pre-1855 to 1879
Baptisms 1841–1861 (about 150 baptisms - only two after 1855 - <a href="https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/show?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fcatalog-search-api%3A8080%2Fwww-catalogapi-webservice%2Fitem%2F1867448">FHL book 941.455/E2 K2mu</a>)
Marriages 1843,1850 (only three entries - same FHL book)This book can be purchased through <a href="http://www.maxwellancestry.com/ancestry/">Graham Maxwell Ancestry</a>

Note: National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1235.

Reference Title Date Access status from National Archives of Scotland catalogue. CH3/1235 Eyemouth, United secession church, United Presbyterian, East United Free, united in 1917 with Eyemouth, St John's United Free church 1841-1917 Not Held CH3/1235/1 Minutes 1842-68; Lists of members pre 1855-1879; Baptisms 1841-61; Marriages 1843-50 (3 entries) 1841-1879 Not Held CH3/1235/2 Minutes 1868-1879 Not Held CH3/1235/3 Minutes 1879-1897 Not Held CH3/1235/4 Minutes 1897-1917 Not Held CH3/1235/5 Baptismal register 1880-1917 Not Held CH3/1235/6 Communion roll c 1878-1917 Not Held

Eyemouth, St. John’s Free Church[edit | edit source]

In 1843, the minister of the parish and his congregation left the Established Church and the next year built a church on High Street. This congregation benefited from the 18591861 revival and erected another church on Victoria Road in 1879. A fishing disaster on October 14, 1881 took the lives of several of their congregation.
Membership: 1848, 170; 1900, 213.
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 1844–1954
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1236.

Eyemouth Congregational Church[edit | edit source]

Although a church began in 1806, it existed for only a short time. Following a revival in 1861, another church was formed in the area. They joined the Evangelical Union in 1873. Half the male membership of the church was killed in an 1881 disaster and the church struggled to recover for many years.

Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Contains list of ministers; Family History Library British Book 941 K2es.

Extent of records is unknown. No pre-1855 records likely exist.

Eyemouth Baptist Church[edit | edit source]

The Baptist movement began here in 1807, but in 1835 only five members remained. Two brothers of the McLean family in this area became Baptist ministers, and one, William McLean, became the first minister of this congregation when it began in 1842. When he left in 1850, the church faltered until a revival in 1858. The church had a high point of about 60 members, but it had completely ceased by 1880
Sources: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille, pub.1926, Family History Library book941 K2hi; also, The Baptists in Scotland, by D. W. Bebbington, pub.1988, Family History Library book 941 K2bs. The first includes a list of ministers.

Extent of records is unknown. Write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

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 Registrationfor more information and to access the records

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Eyemouth 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- 1925 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.

www.ancestry.co.uk has also obtained the indexed portion of the Principal Probate Registry records 1858-1966.  This index has over 245,000 references to Scottich probate records.

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.' 

The Family History Library also has indexes that cover the probate record in the Commisariot Courts 1876-1936.

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: 03 April 2014.

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