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Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland Genealogy

Parish #662

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


BATHGATE, a burgh of barony, and a parish, in the county of Linlithgow, 7 miles (S. by W.) from Linlithgow, and 18 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing the village of Armadale. This place, of which the name, in a charter of Malcolm IV. written Batket, is of unknown derivation, formed part of the extensive possessions given by King Robert Bruce, in 1316. The church, erected in 1739, is a plain building, situated in the town, and nearly in the centre of the parish; it is in good repair, and contains 719 sittings, a number very inadequate to the population. There are places of worship for Free Church, Relief, United Secession, and Original Burgher congregations.[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 RecordsEdit

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 Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Bathgate, as well as the catalog entry for the 1881 census surname index for the county of West Lothian.

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 RecordsEdit

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 RegistersEdit

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1672-1684, 1722-1769 1066611 item 4
1769-1854 1066612
Marriages: 1672-1767, 1785-1788 1066611 item 4
1798-1821, 1834-1855 1066612
Deaths: 1697-1727, 1748-1873 1066611 item 4
1769-1854 1066612
Condition of Original Registers—Edit

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: There are no entries for July 1684–May 1722.
Marriages: There are no entries for November 1688–December 1691 and September 1767–October 1783, and only eight entries for December 1785–March 1811. From March 1811 there is only a record of proclamation fees, and through 1818 the names of the brides are not inserted in the entries.
Deaths: The burials are Mortcloth Dues until 1753. There are no entries for 1710–December 1714, September 1727–February 1748, and July 1753–March 1769. After 1769 a record of deaths is kept. There is also a record of Mortcloth Dues from March 1811.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session RecordsEdit

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 1633–1650, 1673–1689, 1694–1792, 1855–1937
Accounts 1697–1710, 1713–1726, 1769–1772, 1811–1838, 1855–1856
Baptismal Register 1845–1979
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/30.

Nonconformist Church RecordsEdit

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.

Livery Street Associate Seceders, extinctEdit

In 1740 seceders from Bathgate became part of the Secession congregation of Craigmailen. At the 1747 Breach, a minority of this congregation adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod. In 1749 they were joined by a number of seceders from the parish of Kirkliston and in 1751 by a large number from Torphichen. Sermon was supplied at Torphichen. In 1763 Bathgate built a place of worship. One minister then supplied sermon to both places on alternate Sabbaths.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #0477618. More details are given in the source.

Records—                                                               FHL Film Number
Minutes        1766–1771, 1785–1799, 1829–1842        1482996 item 5

General Associate Seceders Congregation

At the 1747 Breach, the majority of the Craigmailen congregation adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod. In 1805 the congregation planned to build a new church in Linlithgow. Because of the distance, the members in and around Bathgate opposed the change and they applied for and obtained supply of sermon. (See also Bathgate Evangelical following.)
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #0477618. More details are given in the source.

Extent of the records is unknown.

Bathgate Evangelical Union, Congregational

This continues the history of the Bathgate General Associate Secession Church. When the Evangelical Union was formed in 1843, this congregation and its minister joined it, and Bathgate Church was one of the original four churches which constituted that body. By the union of the Congregational Union and Evangelical Union in 1896, the Bathgate congregation became part of the Congregational Union of Scotland.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, Glasgow, 1960. FHL British Book 941 K2se, page 295.

The extent of records is unknown. For availability of records write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

West Bathgate Relief Congregation, later United Presbyterian

This congregation was established in 1812.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #0477618. More details are given in the source.

Records—                                                        FHL Film Number
Session Minutes                                                0889480 item 3 X
Births and Baptisms                                           0889480 item 3 X
Communion Rolls and Deaths    1813–1891          0889480 item 3 X
Note: The X means records have been extracted.
Congregational and Managers Minutes 1824–1884
Seat Rent Book 1823–1829, 1871–1897
Communion Rolls 1829–1833, 1843–1932
Minutes 1851–1876
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/416.

Bathgate Free Church

The congregation was founded in 1843 when the parish minister adhered to the Free Church. In 1843 the chief employment was weaving, but this gradually gave way to mining and other industrial enterprises.
Membership: 1848, 218; 1900, 390.
Source: 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 source.

Records—                             FHL Film Number
Baptismal Register                  0889480 item 1 X
Marriages                               0889480 item 1 X
Deaths              1843–1905     0889480 item 1 X
Note: The X means records have been extracted.
Session Minutes 1843–1924
Congregational Minutes 1847–1892
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/410.

Bathgate Roman Catholic Church

This church was served from Linlithgow until 1858. See that parish for records.

Bathgate Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints

Records—                                      FHL Film Number
Record of Members early to 1868      0104149 item 9

Civil Registration Records Edit

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 RecordsEdit

Bathgate 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 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 West Lothian, and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 101-123. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.

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