Whitburn, West Lothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #673

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

History[edit | edit source]

WHITBURN, a parish, in the county of Linlithgow; containing the village of Longridge and part of Blackburn, 4 miles (S. W. by W.) from Bathgate. This place derives its name of Whiteburn or Whitburn in contradistinction to that of the village of Blackburn, in the adjoining parish of Livingstone, of which it once formed a part. The church was erected, and partly endowed, by subscription; it is a neat structure. There are places of worship for Burghers and another body of seceders.[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 is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Click here[low quality link] to see the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Whitburn, as well as the catalog entry for the  numbers for 1881 surname indexes .

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Scotland 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: 1719-1854 1066639 items3-6
Marriages: 1732-1794, 1803-1854 1066639 items 3-6
Deaths: 1730-1794, 1803-1830 1066639 items 3-6

Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

Indexed: 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: Irregular entries are frequent after 1784. The record of one family for 1750–1777 is recorded in August 1790.
Marriages: They are often proclamation dues. There is only one entry 1797, for December 1794–January 1803 and none for August 1810–May 1818.
Deaths: The burials are Mortcloth Dues. After January 1791 the entries are intermixed with the proclamation dues, etc. There are no entries for December 1794–January 1803 and September 1810–May 1818.
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 1732–1789, 1830–1892
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/370–1256.

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.

Whitburn, Longridge Associate Congregation, later Free Church[edit | edit source]

After an unacceptable minister was settled in the parish of Whitburn in 1772, the seceders in the area petitioned the Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh to be disjoined from the different congregations and formed into a separate congregation. The request was finally granted in 1775. A place of worship was built in Longridge in 1777. This congregation joined the Free Church in 1852.
Sources:Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #0477618. Also Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols., pub. 1914. FHL Film #0918572. More details are given in the sources.

The 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 Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Whitburn was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Linlithgow. Probate records for 1513- 1901 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 West Lothian 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 West Lothian. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Lothian 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. 588-608. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.

Return to the West Lothian Parish list.