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Stow, Midlothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #699

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

History[edit | edit source]

STOW, a parish, partly in the county of Selkirk, but chiefly in the county of Edinburgh; containing the hamlets of Fountainhall and Killochyett, 8 miles (N. N. W.) from Galashiels. This place derives its name from a residence of the bishops of St. Andrew's, who anciently had a regal jurisdiction over the whole of the district of Wedale. The village is situated on the road from Edinburgh to Carlisle, and on the Gala water, over which is a commodious bridge, erected in 1654. The church is a very ancient structure containing about 600 sittings; it has undergone various alterations, and is in good repair. There is a place of worship in the village for members of the United Secession.[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
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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 Stow, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

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
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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]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1626-1782 - baptisms 1067790 items 4-5

1783-1854 - baptisms 1067791 items 1-4
Marriages: 1641-1754 1067790 items 4-5

1754-1854 1067791 items 1-4
Deaths: 1722-1854 - burials 1067791item 1-4
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 January–September 1733. Half of the page at February 1750 is torn off. After May 1689 is one page of children baptized in the meetinghouses in the parish of Stow, 1687–1688. Entries out of the order of time are frequent.
Marriages: There are no entries July 1656–July 1659 or June 1662–1666.
Deaths: Deaths and burials; the record for 1775–1778 inclusive, there are only two small fragments of pages bearing a few entries.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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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:

Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/338.

Nonconformist Church Records
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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.

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

In 1732, a new minister was presented to the church and parish of Stow, then vacant. So hostile were the parishioners to the settlement that several of them, and 11 out of 15 elders, discontinued their attendance at the Established Church. A similar situation occurred in the adjacent parish of Heriot in 1734. In 1738 these seceding individuals petitioned the Associate Presbytery to be formed as a congregation, which was granted. A fast was held in October 1738 and visiting ministers baptized 28 children. A church was built and opened in 1740. A new church was built in 1872. At the Breach in 1747, the majority of this congregation and its minister adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Llibrary Film#477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Seat Rents 1812–1851
List of Members 1810–1821
Missionary Society Minutes 1836–1912
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/731.

Stowe and Heriot Free Church
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The minister of Stow remained in the Established Church in 1843. The minister of Heriot “came out” but was at once transferred to Pathhead. Adherents of the Free Church from Stow and Heriot met for worship in an Inn at Galabank and services were supplied under the Presbytery of Kelso and Lauder. A church was built in 1843. The charge sanctioned in 1845 was, in 1847, transferred to the Presbytery of Dalkeith and again in 1866 to that of Selkirk. The district is largely pastoral.
Membership: 1848, 72; 1900, 117.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Minutes 1843–1901
Deacons Court Minutes 1847–1901
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/732.

Civil Registration Records
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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
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Stow was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Edinburgh. 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 Midlothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Midlothian. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Midlothian 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. 500-519. Adapted. Date accessed: 11 April 2014.

Return to the Midlothian Parish list.