Steps For Tracing Scottish Ancestry Outside of The Church of Scotland
For many researchers of Scottish ancestry, the Church of Scotland parochial registers may not provide comprehensive coverage of Scotland’s population beyond marriage and occasional burial registers (all marriages and burials pre-1850 were required to take place in Church of Scotland churches and churchyards, respectively. But these events did not always conform to the laws. Listed below are some alternative research steps and record sources used to find non-Church of Scotland ancestors. These important steps and records will help counter the problems associated with their names missing in and the problems of under-registration in the parochial registers of the Church of Scotland.
Steps for Tracing Non-Subscribing Ancestry At ScotlandsPeople in Edinburgh, United Kingdom: • Kirk session records< • Blotter registers (approx. 75+ parishes) • “Neglected entries” (approx. 130 parishes) on film #103538 • Nonconformist & non-subscribing church registers in the target parish • Nonconformist & non-subscribing church registers in parishes surrounding target parish • Marriage registers of surrounding parishes • Marriage registers of the Church of Scotland in a large city • Church burial registers (where extant) • Monumental inscriptions (MI’s) where they exist (i.e. the Mitchell Collections) • Civil registration records of death and marriage • Sasines: sometimes reveal a Marriage Contract • Register of Deeds: sometimes give a Marriage Contract after husband’s decease • Marriage registers at Gretna Green, Renfrewshire (clandestine); • Follow these steps for known siblings • Search the DOS version of the Church of Scotland database; has some non-subscribing church entries
Steps for Tracing Non-Subscribing Ancestry In-Field (Scotland) Here are 7 steps researchers of Scottish ancestry might need to take to trace ancestry when his/her name[s] do[es] not appear (about 50-50%) in Scotlandspeople.gov.uk “Church Registers” (especially pre-1855 ancestry):
1. Search FHL’s Scottish Church Records Database (DOS Index) because the index contains some names from non-parochial and non-seceder church registers that Scotlandspeople does not possess (about 5-7% only) 2. Then check the FHL online Catalog under the parish name to see what nonconformist/non-subscribing Presbyterian church registers we hold; then search these – if possible, or, give them microfilm number[s] so they can search original scans at home Steps for Tracing Non-subscribing Ancestry In-Field (Scotland) – cont’d
3. Scotland’s Peoples’ (New Register House) has many (but not all) nonconformist and non-subscribing Presbyterian church registers—which are not online. Be certain to have them email SP to have a search made ($), or to obtain a list of hire-able record agents/searchers 4. Search for Local/Regional archives, such as Dundee City Archives or Strathclyde Regional Archives, etc. Check their online catalog[s] to see what holdings they possess for all nonconformist and non-subscribing Presbyterian church registers in their archives. [Hint: You can Google! to find a list of all Scottish Regional or local archives with links to addresses; or, see accompanying PowerPoint, frame no. 36; search their online catalogs and use their email addresses for contacting] 5. Search the Kirk Session (church court) records at Scotlandspeople in Edinburgh, or selected regional archives; they can be a treasure-chest of information on non-Church of Scotland ancestors. Indexes are only now beginning to appear online. 6. Google! to find online transcriptions of some church registers, i.e. Scottish Episcopal registers or Reformed Presbyterian registers, etc. 7. For Church registers not in above archives: Write to the local congregation (must Google to find email addresses); willingly make a generous donation when you request a “look-up” in their church records and/or kirk session records (where extant); or, when a local congregation clerk won’t answer your query, then contact the nearest local archive for name[s] of hire-able record agent[s] to perform the search for you.