Ladykirk, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #746

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

History[edit | edit source]

LADYKIRK, a parish, in the county of Berwick, 6 miles (N. E. by N.) from Coldstream; containing the villages of Horndean and Upsetlington. This place originally consisted only of the parish of Upsetlington, of which the name is of very uncertain derivation. The church is a handsome cruciform structure in the decorated English style of architecture, but has been greatly disfigured by injudicious alterations and additions; and the general effect of the interior, originally of lofty proportion and elegant design, has been destroyed by the partitioning off a portion of it for a schoolroom. It is adapted for a congregation of 300 persons. There is a place of worship for Burghers.[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 Scotland Census Records.

Click here[low quality link] to see the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Ladykirk, as well as the catalog entry for the 1811,1831,1841, and 1851 census surname indexes for Ladykirk.  Other surname indexes will be found on Berkwickshire 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: 1697-1854 1067901 item 1-2
Marriages: 1698-1817 1067901 item 1-2
Deaths: 1784-1814 1067901 item 1-2
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 March 1715–January 1722. Only two entries exist April 1732–April 1733. The pages are blank May 1741–February 1743. After April 1750, a portion of the record from 1747 is copied, with continuation of the principal register. Part of the page at 1750 is torn off. There are only a few irregular entries October 1754–December 1760. Irregular entries are numerous about 1787–1788. Mothers’ names are rarely recorded until 1733.
Marriages: The pages are blank 1715–January 1783 and June 1786–April 1788. From 1788 to 1805 the entries identify the place of marriage. After 1805, there is only a record of proclamation money. It commences March 1802 and ends April 1817.
Deaths: Burials; have no entries existing January 1786–June 1788. After January 1807, only Mortcloth Dues are recorded.
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 1697–1745, 1811–1933
Accounts 1787–1821
Seat Rent Accounts 1812–1824
Collections 1697–1752, 1756–1762
Disbursements 1697–1752, 1756–1762
List of Ministers 1694–1905
Detailed Lists of Inhabitants 1811, 1831
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/660 & 1092.

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.

Horndean Burgher, later United Presbyterian Church
[edit | edit source]

Several members of the parishes of Ladykirk and Hutton left the Established Church about a year and a half before the Disruption and joined the Secession. These members helped form the Secession congregation of Dunse. When seceding congregations formed in neighboring parishes, some of the Ladykirk and Hutton Seceders joined them. In 1784, the group applied to the Associate, Burgher Presbytery of Kelso for supply of sermon at Horndean in Ladykirk parish. The following year the Seceders organized their own church. They built a place of worship in 1786 and enlarged it in 1812.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

There are no known pre-1855 records.

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]

Ladykirk 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. 137-157. Adapted. Date accessed: 03 April 2014.

Return to the Berwickshire parish list.