Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Glasgow (#644-1)

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

Glasgow Cathedral.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Coat of arms of Glasgow
Glasgow location in Scotland

GLASGOW, a city, the seat of a university, and a sea-port, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the Lower ward of the county of Lanark, and situated in longitude 4° 15' 51" (W.), and latitude 55° 52' 10" (N.), 23 miles (E. by S.) from Greenock, 29 (S. W. by S.) from Stirling, 34 ( N.) from Ayr, 43 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh, 79 (N. N. W.) from Dumfries, 144 (S. w.) from Aberdeen, 196 (N.N.E.) from Dublin, 213 (N. W. by N.) from Manchester, and 396 (N. W. by N.) from London. This place, which appears to have been a Roman station within the wall of Antoninus, and to have formed part of the province of Valentia, is conjectured by some authorities to derive its name, originally Glas-Achadh, said by them to denote in the Gaelic language, "a green field," from a verdant piece of ground on the bank of the Clyde, by which it is bounded on the south. The city is the seat of a presbytery, including the ten parishes in Glasgow, and the twelve surrounding parishes of Barony, Gorbals, Rutherglen, Cumbernauld, Carmunnock, Cadder, Campsie, Govan, Kirkintilloch, Kilsyth, Cathcart, and Eaglesham. The cathedral is one of the proudest ornaments of the city, a stately cruciform structure in the early English style of architecture, 319 feet in length and sixty-three feet in width, with a square tower rising from the intersection of the nave and transepts, surmounted by a lofty spire, and with a tower also at the west end of the north aisle. The parish of the Inner High church, the Outer High church, or the parish of St. Paul, Tron, St. David, St. George, St. Andrew, St. Enoch, St. John, and St. James are some of the churches in the great city. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, Glassites, Old Scotch Independents, Baptists, Scottish Baptists, the Society of Friends, and others.[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 Glasgow. Also available at the Family History Library.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and third-largest in the United Kingdom.

Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the fifteenth century, it became a major center of the Scottish Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. From the eighteenth century onward, the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.

The area around Glasgow has hosted communities for millennia, with the River Clyde providing a natural location for fishing. The Romans later built outposts in the area and, to keep Roman Britannia separate from the Celtic and Pictish Caledonia, constructed the Antonine Wall. Items from the wall like altars from Roman forts like Balmuildy can be found at the Hunterian Museum today.

Glasgow itself was reputed to have been founded by the Christian missionary Saint Mungo in the 6th century. He established a church on the Molendinar Burn, where the present Glasgow Cathedral stands, and in the following years Glasgow became a religious center.

The first bridge over the River Clyde at Glasgow was recorded from around 1285, giving its name to the Briggait area of the city, forming the main North-South route over the river via Glasgow Cross. The founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451 and elevation of the bishopric to become the Archdiocese of Glasgow in 1492 increased the town's religious and educational status and landed wealth. Its early trade was in agriculture, brewing and fishing, with cured salmon and herring being exported to Europe and the Mediterranean.

Following the European Protestant Reformation and with the encouragement of the Convention of Royal Burghs, the 14 incorporated trade crafts federated as the Trades House in 1605 to match the power and influence in the town council of the earlier Merchants' Guilds who established their Merchants House in the same year. Glasgow was subsequently raised to the status of Royal Burgh in 1611. Glasgow's substantial fortunes came from international trade, manufacturing and invention, starting in the 17th century with sugar, followed by tobacco, and then cotton and linen, products of the Atlantic triangular slave trade.

After the Acts of Union in 1707, Scotland gained further access to the vast markets of the new British Empire, and Glasgow became prominent as a hub of international trade to and from the Americas, especially in sugar, tobacco, cotton, and manufactured goods. The city's Tobacco Lords created a deep water port at Port Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde, as the river within the city itself was then too shallow. By the late 18th century more than half of the British tobacco trade was concentrated on Glasgow's River Clyde, with over 47,000,000 lb (21,000 t) of tobacco being imported each year at its peak. At the time, Glasgow held a commercial importance as the city participated in the trade of sugar, tobacco and later cotton.

The opening of the Monkland Canal and basin linking to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Port Dundas in 1795, facilitated access to the extensive iron-ore and coal mines in Lanarkshire. After extensive river engineering projects to dredge and deepen the River Clyde as far as Glasgow, shipbuilding became a major industry on the upper stretches of the river, pioneered by industrialists such as Robert Napier, John Elder, George Thomson, Sir William Pearce and Sir Alfred Yarrow.

By the end of the 19th century it was one of the cities known as the "Second City of the Empire" and was producing more than half Britain's tonnage of shipping, and a quarter of all locomotives in the world. In addition to its preeminence in shipbuilding, engineering, industrial machinery, bridge building, chemicals, explosives, coal and oil industries it developed as a major center in textiles, garment-making, carpet manufacturing, leather processing, furniture-making, pottery, food, drink and cigarette making; printing and publishing. Shipping, banking, insurance and professional services expanded at the same time.

The 20th century witnessed both decline and renewal in the city. After World War I, the city suffered from the impact of the Post–World War I recession and from the later Great Depression, this also led to a rise of radical socialism and the "Red Clydeside" movement. The city had recovered by the outbreak of World War II and grew through the post-war boom that lasted through the 1950s. By the 1960s, growth of industry in countries like Japan and West Germany, weakened the once preeminent position of many of the city's industries.

As a result of this, Glasgow entered a lengthy period of relative economic decline and rapid de-industrialisation, leading to high unemployment, urban decay, population decline, welfare dependency and poor health for the city's inhabitants.

By the late 1980s, there had been a significant resurgence in Glasgow's economic fortunes. The "Glasgow's miles better" campaign, launched in 1983, and opening of the Burrell Collection in 1983 and Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center in 1985 facilitated Glasgow's new role as a European center for business services and finance and promoted an increase in tourism and inward investment.

However, it is the industrial heritage that serves as key tourism enabler. Wider economic revival has persisted and the ongoing regeneration of inner-city areas, including the large-scale Clyde Waterfront Regeneration, has led to more affluent people moving back to live in the center of Glasgow, fueling allegations of gentrification. The city is now considered by Lonely Planet to be one of the world's top 10 tourist cities. [2]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Because of its size, as well as its long history, Glasgow has many cemeteries and crematoria. Rather than list them all individually, the following link provides information on them all:

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 Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Glasgow.

The 1841 through 1911 censuses of Scotland, indexes and images, are available on for a small access fee.  The indexes without images are also available on and

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian or the Church of Scotland. This denomination broke away from the original Catholic Church in 1560 AD about the same time that Henry VIII broke away and formed the Anglican Church, with the reformation work of John Knox. Knox was greatly influenced by John Calvin, as well as by the work of Martin Luther in what is now Germany. The following web site provides information on the Church of Scotland:

Scotland does not have Anglican Churches as such. Instead, the denomination is known as the Scottish Episcopal Church that follows the same liturgy. Glasgow also has an Episcopal Cathedral.

St Mary's Cathedral
300 Great Western Rd
Glasgow G4 9JB
Phone: +44 141 339 6691

St Margaret of Scotland
353 Kilmarnock Rd
Glasgow G43 2DS
Phone: +44 141 636 1131

St Bride's Church
69 Hyndland Rd
Glasgow G12 9UX
Phone: +44 141 334 1401

Scottish Episcopal
Essenside Avenue
Glasgow G15 6DT
Phone: +44 141 954 5563

St James the Less
66 Hilton Rd
Bishopbriggs, Glasgow G64 3EL
Phone: +44 141 563 5154

St Oswald's Church
260 Castlemilk Rd
Glasgow G44 4LB
Phone: +44 141 440 7455

All Saints Church
10 Woodend Dr
Glasgow G13 1QS

St Cyprian's Church
Beech Rd
Kirkintilloch, Glasgow G66 4HN
Phone: +44 141 776 0880

St Ninian's Church
1 Albert Dr
Glasgow G41 2PE
Phone: +44 141 423 1247

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.

Click here to see a list of the records of the various kirk sessions of Glasgow.

Non Conformists[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 Lists.

Click here to see a list of Glasgow area pre-1855 nonconformist churches with their histories and records.

Glasgow, as the largest city in Scotland, as well as the third largest in the British Isles, is home to many different denominations and groups. The major ones follow:

  • Baptist
  • Church of Christ
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Christian Science
  • Destiny Church
  • Glasgow Chinese Christian Church
  • Glasgow Prophetic Center
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Methodist
  • Pentecostal
  • Roman Catholic
  • Salvation Army
  • Seventh Day Adventist

Additionally the following non-Christian groups have assemblies in the region of Glasgow:

  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

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.

Directories[edit | edit source]

1787 Nathaniel Jones Directory of Glasgow

Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are avilable online. The directories available for Glasgow are:

1783-1912: These are available in either PDF format or viewable online. ( A few years are missing)

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Glasgow has experienced major economic growth and development in recent years, bolstered by careful planning, a growing and young population, and business growth in high-tech and service sectors.

Launched in 2016, the current Economic Strategy is building on this success and aiming to make Glasgow the most productive major city economy in the UK by 2023. This will be achieved by creating the conditions for growth and supporting residents to take advantage of the opportunities this will create.

Within this framework, Glasgow looks to attract the right mix of business, productivity, innovation and investment to the city and building on its excellent infrastructure to be one of the most diverse and forward-thinking cities in Europe while being globally competitive in a number of sectors:

  • Creative Industries
  • Digital Technology
  • Engineering Design & Advanced Manufacturing
  • Finance & Business Services
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • Higher and Further Education
  • Low Carbon footprint technology
  • Tourism & Events

Glasgow also has the third highest GDP Per capita of any city in the UK (after London and Edinburgh). The city itself sustains more than 410,000 jobs in over 12,000 companies. Over 153,000 jobs were created in the city between 2000 and 2005 – a growth rate of 32% and this has continued for the next decade. Glasgow's annual economic growth rate of 4.4% is now second only to that of London.

Glasgow has improved its employment rate significantly, reaching its highest ever employment rate in 2016 of 67.3%. Glasgow’s Economic Strategy plans to maintain or exceed the city’s employment rate at the national Scottish average over the period 2017-2023. This will be achieved by taking advantage of underused talent in Glasgow and increasing the skills base. [3]

Poor Law Records[edit | edit source]

Prior to 1845, the care of the poor was the joint responsibility of the kirk session and the heritors (local landowners).  Beginning in 1845, parochial boards were responsible and they collected funds from property taxes rather than church collections and contributions from heritors.  The New Poor Law system took a while to be fully accepted in all areas of the country, though in some areas civil responsibility was practiced from the 1830's.  (For further information, see the Wiki article on Scotland Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc.)

The city of Glasgow had a parochial board and the neighboring areas of Barony, Govan and Gorbals each had their own (see those parish pages for more). The city was divided into six districts (later expanded to twelve) and each district kept detailed registers of the poor receiving relief while the board also kept minutes of meetings and accounts of assessments and expenditures. Not all records survive equaly well, but those that do are very helpful to family history research. 

Registers of applications for relief from the various districts, generally for 1851-1900 (though there are some gaps in records) are on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City:

An index has been created to the Glasgow applications for relief that is available as a searchable database on computer at the Glasgow City Archives, Mitchell Library, in Glasgow.  There is no cost for using the index or the archive collection.  Once a search is made in the index and a reference is found, the appropriate register is ordered.  After a short wait, you can view the original register in the archive's search room.  You can read all about the search room rules by clicking here.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Glasgow was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Glasgow. 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 Lanark and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Glasgow.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Lanark. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Lanark and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 478-499. Adapted. Date accessed: 28 February 2014.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Glasgow," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 January 2018.
  3. Invest in Glasgow, accessed 28 January 2018

Return to the Lanarkshire parish list.