Lauder, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #748

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

History[edit | edit source]

LAUDER, a royal burgh, a parish, and the seat of a presbytery, in the county of Berwick, 25 miles (S. E.) from Edinburgh, and 35 ( S.) from Berwick. This place in the Celtic language, is descriptive of its situation in the valley of the Leader. The parish is one of the most extensive in the county. The church, erected in 1673, on the south-west side of the town to replace the original church, which was removed is a plain cruciform structure, containing 773 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and the United-Associate and Relief synods.[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 Lauder, as well as the catalog entry for the 1841and 1851 census surname indexes for Lauder.  Other surname indexes will be found on the Berwickshire county page.

The 1841-1911 census of Scotland is indexed on

The 1841-1901 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.

The 1841-1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  This is a pay website, but very good for searching census records.

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: 1680-1820 1067901 item 5-6

1820-1854 1067902 item 1
Marriages: 1677-1796 1067901 item 5-6

1844-1854 1067902 item 1
Deaths: 1785-1794 1067901 item 5-6

1836-1855 1067902 item 1

Condition of Original Registers—
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: No entries exist August 1688–January 1691, and the record is in poor condition 1691–1695. There is only one entry January 1695–October 1707; also March 1716–June 1720. Two pages of the record for 1725–1726 are damaged. Entries are frequently out of chronological order after 1800.
Marriages: There is only one entry for 1692, August 1688–April 1707 and March 1729–June 1733, and one entry, for 1743, November 1739–December 1782. The record terminates September 1796 and is not resumed until 1844.
Deaths: There are registers for October 1794–1836, and only one entry in 1809.
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 1677–1688, 1707–1708, 1719, 1733–1882
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/534.

Book at the Family HIstory Library for Burials from the Kirk Sessions 1827-1838 FamilySearch Catalog.  This book can also be purchased through e-mail or through  This book is from National Records of Scotland reference CH2/534/24

CH2/534 Records of Lauder Kirk Session 1677-1931 at HM General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh  EH1 3YY

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.

 Lauder First Anti-burgher Secession Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation originated in 1747 with members of the congregation of Stow who adhered to the General Associate, Anti-burgher Synod. They met for a time with a congregation in Earlston, but in 1751 they obtained supply of sermon from the Presbytery as a separate congregation with its seat in Oxton, in the parish of Channelkirk, four miles west of Lauder. By 1758 most of the congregation was from Lauder so they built a place of worship there. After the death of its minister in1824, this congregation united the following year with the second Secession congregation in Lauder. They used one church building for worship and the other for a school.
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.

Extent of records is unknown. See below.

Lauder Second Burgher Secession Church[edit | edit source]

In 1793, 14 male residents of the Lauder area received supply of sermon from the Associate, Burgher Presbytery of Selkirk. They built a church in 1795 and a second in 1841. After the resignation of its minister in 1824, this congregation united with the first congregation, and a new minister was ordained. In 1847, the congregation became United Presbyterian.
Membership: 1833, over 500, or a quarter of the population of the parish.
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.

                                                                FHL Film Number
Session Minutes                1796–1811        1485176 item 1
List of Members                 1796–1806         1485176 item 1
Congregational and Managers’                     1485176 item 2–5
Minutes 1803–1855

Lauder Relief Church - extinct[edit | edit source]

This congregation originated with a small minority of the united Secession congregation who obtained supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Kelso in June 1835 and built a place of worship the same year. They lost their minister in 1845 and rejoined the Secession congregation in June 1847. The church was sold in 1851.
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.

Extent of records is unknown.

Lauder Free Church[edit | edit source]

At the Disruption, a Free Church congregation formed here under the Presbytery of Kelso and Lauder. The congregation included the parish of Channelkirk and the village of Blainslie, with occasional services held at Stow. The group built a church in 1843.
Membership: 1848, 240; 1900, 126.
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.

                                     FHL Film Number
Baptisms    1844–1856    0304671 item 15
Minutes      1844–1878    1485176 item 6

Lauder Evangelical Union Church[edit | edit source]

An Independent congregation was formed in Lauder in 1845 in association with the Evangelical Union. It was apparently short-lived.

Extent of records is unknown.

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]

Lauder 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' 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' 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.

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