Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Lanarkshire

Biggar (#623)

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


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 Biggar. 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 Biggar.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Years Surname Index            
1841 Ancestry. com ($)
1851 CD-ROM no. 1850
1861 6205846
1871 ($)
1881 6086616 ( 41 fiche)
1891 ($)

All available censuses, 1841-1911, are indexed on with images.  Also, all available censuses 1841-1901 are indexed on and  To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. 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 with their Family History Library call number.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Event Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1730-1854 1042963
Marriages: 1806-1810, 1836-1854 1042963
Deaths: No entries

Condition of Original Registers—

Indexed: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers.  Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index. 
Births: On page two there are seven irregular entries of one family, 1722–1737, and the record is irregular until 1735. No entries, except two for 1737, July 1735–February 1738 and August 1760–December 1761. Entries are out of order of time of frequent occurrence throughout.
Marriages: Except for a few entries, 1806–1810, which are recorded among the births for the same period, there is no register of marriages before 1836.
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 1834–1935
Accounts 1852–1935
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1253.

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.

Moat Park Associate Burgher Presbyterian Church

In 1739, three elders and 23 private members of the parish of Symington presented a petition to the Associate Presbytery asking to be taken under their inspection, which was granted. Seceders from Covington and Skirling joined with these in worship at West Linton. The Breach of 1747 divided them. Those who adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod continued to worship at West Linton until 1756 when the Presbytery of Edinburgh formed them into a separate congregation at Biggar. A church was built in 1760. A new church was built in 1866. In 1831, about 360 persons attended this church. The congregation was said to draw from fifteen parishes; 48 families were from Biggar. 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. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Whitburn General Associate Anti-burgher Church, later Free

This church was formed in 1766 from persons in Whitburn who had until then traveled to Craigmailen, a distance of 12 miles, for worship. The majority of this congregation, along with its minister, withdrew from the Anti-burger Synod in September 1806 and helped to form the Constitutional Presbytery, Old Lights, which later became the Synod of Original Seceders in 1827. The congregation later joined the Free Church in 1852.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film#477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

South Relief Church

Due to an unpopular minister being presented to the parish in 1779, a great proportion of the parishioners left the Established Church and applied to the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon. Despite opposition, they built a church in 1781. In 1831, the congregation was said to draw from 15 parishes, and about 118 families from Biggar attended here. The Relief Presbytery became part of the United Presbyterian Church in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.
Records— Information from the National Archives of Scotland Catalogue
Biggar Relief congregation, South United Presbyterian, Gillespie, United Presbyterian and United Free, C. of S., united with Moat Park as Gillespie Moat Park in 1946 1788-1971 

CH3/1249/1 Minutes 1788-94
Minutes 1807-1906 1788-1906 
CH3/1249/2 Scroll minutes 1807-1811 
CH3/1249/3 Managers' minutes 1836-1901 
CH3/1249/4 Cash book 1859-1884 
CH3/1249/5 Cash book 1883-1923 
CH3/1249/6 Baptismal register 1830-83
Marriage register 1837-52
Marriage register 1867-8 1830-1883 
CH3/1249/7 Communion roll c 1850-1897 
CH3/1249/8 Adherents' roll c 1875-1878 
CH3/1249/9 Young men and women's guild minutes 1893-1897 
CH3/1249/10 Young men and women's guild minutes 1898-1901 
CH3/1249/11 Minutes 1906-1946 
CH3/1249/12 Minutes 1946-1969 
CH3/1249/13 Managers' minutes 1901-1946 
CH3/1249/14 Managers' minutes 1946-1957 
CH3/1249/15 Managers' minutes 1957-1971 
CH3/1249/16 Baptismal register 1931-1944 
CH3/1249/17 Communion roll 1909-1938 
CH3/1249/18 Communion roll 1946-1952

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

Biggar 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  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.

Return to the Lanarkshire parish list.