Wiston and Roberton, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Wiston and Roberton

Wiston and Roberton (#660)

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



WISTON and ROBERTON, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Lanark containing the village of Newton, 7 miles (S. W. by W.) from Biggar, and 201 in the village of Roberton, 9½ miles (S. W.) from the same town. This place comprehends the old parishes of Wiston and Roberton, which were united in the year 1772. Their names, of uncertain origin, were probably derived from proprietors. The church, formerly that of the old parish of Wiston, which was enlarged after the union of the two parishes, is a plain edifice adapted for a congregation of nearly 400 persons. In the village of Roberton is a place of worship for members of the Relief.[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 Wiston and Roberton.  Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

A census 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 for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Wiston and Roberton.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index          
1851 CD-ROM no. 1850
1861 6205869
1881 6086616 ( 41 fiche)

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 indexes through the library.


Church Records

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—Kirk Session Records

Event  Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1694-1854 1066609
Marriages: 1689-1854 1066609
Deaths: 1689-1701, 1747-1772 1066609
Condition of Original Registers

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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.  
Births: Wiston has no entries May 1713–February 1714, November 1717–December 1726, August 1786–March 1787. Entries are frequently out of order of time after 1800. Mothers’ names not recorded until 1787.
Roberton’s registers prior to 1715 are recorded with the marriages on alternate pages of the same register. There are no entries June 1715–February 1729, except one for 1723. After 1715 there are occasional entries of marriage in register of births.
Marriages: Wiston has no entries October 19, 1689–May 1691, August 1709–September 1730, November 1738–June 1742, September 1786–August 1787. Roberton’s registers prior to 1715 are recorded with births on alternate pages of the same register. There are no entries December 1714–June 1729, August 1740–June 1742, except one, December 1742–July 1747. After 1715 there are occasional entries of marriages in the register of births.
Deaths: Wiston’s burials are contained on one page. Roberton’s are recorded on occasional pages of the register of births and marriages for same period.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

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:

Minutes and Cash Book 1689–1710, 1730–1738, 1742–1830
Testimonials 1741–1791
Accounts 1796–1829
Accounts and Heritors Minutes 1829–1872
Minutes 1831–1963
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/376.

Nonconformist Church Records

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 Lists.


Roberton Free Church

In 1843 supply was granted to those who adhered to the Free Church in this parish. The church on Chisholm estate beside the Borthwick water was built and opened in December of that year. Decline of the population brought a great decrease in the membership and for many years it had a struggling existence. In 1852 it was reduced to the status of a preaching station. At first it belonged to the Presbytery of Selkirk but in 1880 it was transferred to that of Jedburgh.
Membership: 1848, 60; 1900, 32.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Roberton Relief, later United Presbyterian Church

The two parishes of Roberton and Wiston were combined in 1772 and the place of worship was designated as Wiston. Those persons living in Roberton were unhappy with this decision and with the minister in Wiston. For several years their pleas for the minister to come to Roberton on Sacramental Fast Days were ignored. They thought of building a dissenting place of worship and had several guest ministers come preach to them. Finally in 1799 they applied to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow for supply of sermon which was granted. A church was built in 1801. This congregation joined the United Presbyterian Church in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Baptismal Register 1845–1935
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland of Scotland, CH3/636.

Civil Registration Records

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

Wiston and Roberton was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Lanark until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Glasgow. 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 Lanark and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Lanark..

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Lanark. Look in the library catalog
 for the 'Place-names' of Lanark 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. 609-617. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 March 2014.

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