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''For information about records for non-Christian religions in Scotland, go to the [[Scotland Religious Records|Religious Records]] page.''
  
Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death. Most people in Scotland before the mid-nineteenth century are listed in church records. Since civil authorities did not begin registering vital statistics until 1855, church records are the best source of family information before that date. 
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Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death. Since civil registration in Scotland began in 1855, church records are a major source for genealogical research in Scotland before 1855.  
  
== Online Resources ==
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== Understanding the Records ==
*[http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ Scotlands'''People'''], index, images, free index, pay per view ($)
 
*[http://www.nls.uk/family-history 1500 - 2014 National Library of Scotland]
 
*[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60143 Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564 - 1950], ($). Also at [http://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-births-and-baptisms-1564-1950 FindMyPast], index, ($). Also at [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-30226/scotland-births-baptisms-1564-1950?s=218489221 MyHeritage], index,($).
 
*[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1771030?collectionNameFilter=false Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950], index, incomplete.
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10321/scotland-selected-births-baptisms-c-1640-c-1860?s=218489221 Scotland, Selected Births & Baptisms, c. 1640 - c. 1860], index, ($).
 
*[https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1771074?collectionNameFilter=false Scotland Marriages, 1561 - 1910], incomplete. Also at [http://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-marriages-1561-1910 FindMyPast], index, ($). Also at [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-30229/scotland-marriages-1561-1910?s=218489221 MyHeritage], index, ($).
 
*[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1636 Gretna Green, Scotland, Marriage Registers, 1794 - 1895] ($)
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10079/scottish-deaths-1747-1868?s=218489221 Scottish Deaths, 1747 - 1868], index, ($).
 
*[http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/content/help/index.aspx?r=554&612 Statutory Records,BMD 1855-2014], Index, ($).
 
*[http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/Content/Help/index.aspx?r=554&1375 Catholic Parish Registers], index, ($).
 
*[http://www.freereg.org.uk/ FreeReg], index.
 
  
== Understanding Church Organization  ==
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[[Image:United Presbyterian Church at Stonehouse, Scotland.jpg|thumb|right|403x600px|United Presbyterian Church at Stonehouse, Scotland.jpg]]
  
[[Image:United Presbyterian Church at Stonehouse, Scotland.jpg|thumb|right|403x600px|United Presbyterian Church at Stonehouse, Scotland.jpg]]The Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church) has been the recognised national church of Scotland since 1690; it is not a state or "established" church (although that latter description has found its way into various official documentation such as marriage registers) and that independence from the state was eventually acknowledged in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The organization of the Church of Scotland is as follows:
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=== Church of Scotland ===
 +
''See also: [[Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records]]''
  
*The General Assembly is the highest organizational body and serves as the final ecclesiastical court of appeals.  
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The Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church) has been the recognised national church of Scotland since 1690. It is not a state or "established" church (although that latter description has found its way into various official documentation such as marriage registers); that independence from the state was eventually acknowledged in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The organization of the Church of Scotland is as follows:
*A Synod is made up of several presbyteries and serves as the court of appeals for those presbyteries.  
+
 
*A Presbytery is made up of several parishes and serves as the court of appeals for those parishes.  
+
*The General Assembly is the highest organizational body and serves as the final ecclesiastical court of appeals.  
*A parish is the lowest governing body.  
+
*A Synod is made up of several presbyteries and serves as the court of appeals for those presbyteries.  
 +
*A Presbytery is made up of several parishes and serves as the court of appeals for those parishes.  
 +
*A parish is the lowest governing body.  
 
*A chapelry or chapel of ease is a small church which serves a distant part of a parish.
 
*A chapelry or chapel of ease is a small church which serves a distant part of a parish.
  
Each local parish (parochin) keeps records. The two major record types are ''parochial or parish registers'' and ''kirk session records.''  See details below under '''Old Parochial Registers (OPR'''), or go to [[Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records|Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records]].  
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The two main types of records are '''Old Parochial Registers (OPR)''' and '''Kirk Session Records'''. OPR's list baptisms, marriages and burials. Kirk Session records are the records of the Church Courts. They often list information relevant to genealogy.
  
The [http://www.nas.gov.uk/ National Archives of Scotland] maintains these records. [http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/. A more detailed description of each of these record types is available online at the University of Glasgow (Archive Services).]
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*Descriptions of parishes can be found at:
 +
**[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk]  
 +
**[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/ VisionofBritain.org.uk]
 +
*Lists of neighboring parishes can be found at:
 +
**[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk]
 +
*Parish outline maps are also available online at:
 +
**[http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm Scotlandsfamily.com]
 +
*Atlas and index to parish registers can be found at:
 +
**[https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8830 Great Britain, Atlas and Index of Parish Registers] ($)
  
It ''may be'' necessary to know the parish where your ancestor was born, married, or died so you can search parish registers. If you do not know the parish but know the name of a village or town, you may use a gazetteer to locate the parish. For more information, read the article [[Scotland Gazetteers|Scotland Gazetteers]]. Gazetteers may provide:
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*Printed Resources:
 
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**Books detailing the overall dates of old parochial records in civil parishes or counties in northeast Scotland (by the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society) ({{FHL|941 E7c|call number-id|disp=FHL Map Case 941 E7c pt. 4}})
*Descriptions of parishes can be found at [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk].  
+
**Parish Maps of Scotland. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. ({{FHL|6036350|Fiche-id|disp=FHL Book 941 E7ch}})
*Maps showing parish boundaries to help determine which parish records to search
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**Phillips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland 1881. London, England: G. Phillip, 1881. ({{FHL|941 E7p|call number-id|disp=FHL Book 941 E7p}})
*Lists of neighboring parishes can be found at [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk].
 
'The Scottish Congregational Ministry 1794-1993' by Rev. Dr William D. McNaughton, 1993 includes the names of ministers throughout Scottish church entries. The following works by the same author cover Scotland in various sections from c. 1790-1870, give history of churches and those involved.  
 
*Early Congregational Independency in Shetland' 2005
 
*Early Congregational Independency in Orkney' 2006
 
*Early Congregational Independency in the Highlands and Islands and the North-East of Scotland' 2003
 
*Early Congregational Independency in Lowland Scotland Volume I' 2005
 
*Early Congregational Independency in Lowland Scotland Volume II' 2007
 
  
 
=== Nonconformists ===
 
=== Nonconformists ===
  
Churches which are not part of the Church of Scotland are often referred to as nonconformist although this word's correct use does not have valid application in a country with no state church and properly applies only in England where the Church of Scotland is a non-conformist church. There were two categories of so-called nonconformist churches in Scotland:  
+
Churches which are not part of the Church of Scotland are often referred to as nonconformist. By the 19th century a majority of the population was non-Conformist. There were two categories of so-called nonconformist churches in Scotland:  
  
 
*Seceders -- Those who seceded from the main church but were still Presbyterian in form.  
 
*Seceders -- Those who seceded from the main church but were still Presbyterian in form.  
*Dissenters -- Those who were not Presbyterian in form, such as Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic.
+
*Dissenters -- Those who were not Presbyterian in form, such as Episcopal, Methodist, or Catholic.
 
 
Nonconformists had their own congregations and kept their own records. They could go to church wherever they wished and were not confined to parish boundaries. However, before 1834, nonconformist ministers were not authorized to perform marriages as clergyman; after 1834 they could perform marriages if the banns had first been read in the parish church. Total authority was granted in 1855.In the context of Scots Law as it applied until 1939 this only in practice affected the mode of marriage as until then any declaration of marriage in front of witnesses was valid although many might have failed to be recorded.
 
 
 
The [http://www.nas.gov.uk/ National Archives of Scotland] maintains these types of records under the following references: [http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/news/dunaskinnews200207/sourcesforscottishchurchhistoryinthenas/ CH4-CH16.] A detailed description of the record types is available online at the [http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/news/dunaskinnews200207/sourcesforscottishchurchhistoryinthenas/ University of Glasgow (Archive Services).]
 
 
 
For more background information on churches in Scotland, including a historical time-line, read the article [[Scotland Church History|Scotland Church History]].
 
 
 
== Identifying Churches  ==
 
 
 
=== Books containing maps that show parish boundaries: ===
 
 
 
*'''Civil Parishes and Counties of North East Scotland Showing Overall Dates of Old Parochial Records''': Held in Edinburgh and Available Worldwide on Microfilm [Scotland]: Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society''[ 198-]. ({{FHL|941 E7c|call number-id|disp=Family History Library Map Case 941 E7c pt. 4}})
 
*'''The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers''', 2nd ed. Chichester, England: Phillimore & Co. Ltd, 1995. ({{FHL|941E7pa|callnumberid|disp=Family History Library Book 941 E7pa}})
 
*'''Parish Maps of Scotland. '''Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. ({{FHL|6036350|Fiche-id|disp=Family History Library Book 941 E7ch; Fiche 6036350}})
 
*'''Phillips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland 1881. '''London, England: G. Phillip, 1881. ({{FHL|941 E7p|call number-id|disp=Family History Library Book 941 E7p; Film 423175}})
 
 
 
Parish outline maps are also available online at [http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm].
 
 
 
==== 1851 Census of Places of Worship  ====
 
 
 
Popularly called the 1851 Religious Census, this is a resource for identifying what churches existed where in 1851. [[1851 Census Places of Worship|Read more...]]
 
 
 
==== The Union List of Church Records  ====
 
 
 
The staff of the Family History Library has compiled a resource called the [[Scotland Church Records Union Lists|Scotland Church Records Union List]] which strives to identify all pre-1855 churches in Scotland and whether they have surviving records. It also contains brief parish and congregation histories. This information, arranged by county then parish, is available through the Wiki by searching for a [[Scotland Old Counties pre 1974 and New Counties post 1974|county]] or parish of interest.
 
 
 
== Old Parochial Registers (OPR)  ==
 
 
 
The term ''old parochial registers'' refers to the parish records kept by the Presbyterian Church (Church of Scotland) from the time the church began keeping records up to the year 1855. Records include registers of: <br>
 
*Births/baptisms<br>
 
*marriages/proclamations<br>
 
*deaths/burials<br>
 
The amount of information in registers varies from parish to parish. Later records generally give more complete information than earlier ones. For more information see [[Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records|Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records]].
 
 
 
Most parish registers begin after 1650. Some kirk session (parish court) records begin earlier than the parish registers. Kirk session records may have some christening, marriage, and burial records in them.
 
 
 
Some early parish registers may be in Latin. Scotland has its own version of English, so you may need to use a dictionary to understand some words and terms. Read more in [[Scotland Language and Languages|Scotland Language and Languages]].
 
 
 
For an interesting article on what is found in the registers, see:
 
 
 
*Whyte, Donald. "Old Parochial Registers of Scotland." Refers to people from various parts of Ireland - baptisms, marriages - that were held in various Scotland Old Parish Registers for the years 1691-1846. Article in ''The Irish Ancestor'', vol.III, no.2,1971, pages 79-82. Family History Library book 941.5 B2i. <br>
 
 
 
==== Indexes  ====
 
 
 
Indexes to the old parochial registers have been created and are available in various forms.&nbsp; See the following Wiki articles for more information:
 
 
 
*[[Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records|Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records]].
 
*[[Scotland Old Parochial Registers (OPR)|Scotland Old Parochial Registers (OPR) Index]]
 
 
 
== Websites ==
 
  
*[http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk ScotlandsPeople]:&nbsp;A&nbsp;paid subscription site&nbsp;<br>
+
Nonconformists had their own congregations, with different boundaries to the Church of Scotland and kept their own records. However, before 1834, nonconformist ministers were not authorized to perform marriages as clergyman; after 1834 they could perform marriages if the banns had first been read in the parish church. Total authority was granted in 1855. In the context of Scots Law as it applied until 1939, this affected, only in practice, the mode of marriage because until then any declaration of marriage in front of witnesses was valid although many might have failed to be recorded.
*[http://www.scottishindexes.com/coveragebmd.aspx ScottishIndexes]: has some court, and church register transcriptions for non-OPR (Old Parochial Registers)<br>
 
*[http://www.nas.gov.uk National Archives of Scotland]:&nbsp;Online catalogue show holdings viewed while physically there.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>
 
*[http://www.scottishdocuments.com Part of the National Archives of Scotland]:&nbsp;Digitized collections&nbsp;<br>
 
*[http://www.scan.org.uk Scottish Archive Network]:&nbsp; Digitized Collections<br>
 
*[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/ National Archives of England]:&nbsp;Link to catalogue<br>
 
  
Records of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland:<br> [http://www.scottishcatholicarchives.org.uk/ Scottish Catholic archive].<br>Catholic Church. Some Catholic Registers are held at the [http://www.nas.gov.uk/ National Archives of Scotland] with the identifier of <u>[http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/ NAS REF: RH21]</u>.  
+
For more background information on churches in Scotland, including a historical timeline, read the article [[Scotland Church History|Scotland Church History]].
  
'''Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:'''
+
== Accessing the Records ==
  
*[[Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
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=== OPR ===
*[[Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
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*All Church of Scotland OPRs can be accessed on the ScotlandsPeople's [https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ website]. There is no fee to search for names, but there is a fee of several pounds per original image. The original images can also be browsed for free at FHCs and Affiliate Libraries through the [https://www.familysearch.org/catalog/search FamilySearch Catalog].
 +
*Microfilm and microfiche indexes are also available. See the article [[Scotland Old Parochial Registers (OPR)]] to learn more. Some records are also available in various collections on [https://www.familysearch.org/ FamilySearch]. To learn more:
 +
**[[Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
**[[Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[http://www.freereg.org.uk/ FreeReg.org] is a site that transcribes records from across the UK. A few Scotland Church Records are included. No images are available.
  
Go to the [[Scotland Strategies for Locating Births, Marriages and Deaths|Scotland&nbsp;Research Strategies]] page.
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=== Kirk Sessions ===
 +
 +
Very few Kirk Sessions records are available online. ScotlandsPeople are in "the final stages" of making more of them available online. See this guide [https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/church-court-records-online Church Court Records] for more information. 
 +
*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2390848 Scotland Church Records and Kirk Session Records, 1658-1919]
 +
*[http://www.oldscottish.com/records.html Oldscottish.com] has some non-parochial (Seceder church) register transcriptions, kirk sessions, and more ($)
 +
*[http://www.scottishindexes.com/coveragebmd.aspx ScottishIndexes] has some court and church register transcriptions for non-OPR (Old Parochial Registers)
 +
*Kirk Sessions can also be obtained in person at regional archives throughout Scotland.
  
[http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ Ancestry.co.uk], a paid&nbsp;subscription site, &nbsp;has some Scotland Parish Records available online. This site is available at the Family History Library and Regional Centers for free.
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=== Non-Church of Scotland ===
  
{{Template:Pros-Scot}}
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*[https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ ScotlandsPeople] has indexed most of the Roman Catholic parish registers throughout the country. These collections can be accessed on their [https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/advanced-search#{%22category%22:%22church%22} Advanced Search] page. See this page for more information: [https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/catholic-parish-registers Catholic Parish Registers] A slight majority of other non-Church of Scotland denominational registers are available for searching in person or by record agent at the National Records of Scotland. A list of what is available is [https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/guides/church-registers#Parishes here].
 +
*Other nonconformist databases include:
 +
**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-roman-catholic-parish-baptisms Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms] ($)
 +
**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-roman-catholic-parish-marriages Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Marriages] ($)
 +
**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-roman-catholic-parish-burials Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Burials] ($)
 +
**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-non-old-parish-registers-vital-records-1647-1875 Scotland Non-Old Parish Registers Vital Records 1647-1875] ($)
 +
**[https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61544 Scotland, Extracted Parish Records, 1571-1997] ($)
 +
**[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1636 Gretna Green, Scotland, Marriage Registers, 1794-1895] ($)
 +
**[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10079/scottish-deaths-1747-1868?s=218489221 Scottish Deaths, 1747-1868] ($)
 +
*See "Research Guidance" below for important steps to take, to trace non-Church of Scotland ancestry. 
  
{{Place|Scotland}}
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== Research Guidance ==
  
[[]]  
+
'''FamilySearch Wiki Help for Non-Church of Scotland Church Records Research'''
 +
*[[Steps For Tracing Scottish Ancestry Outside of The Church of Scotland|Steps For Tracing Scottish Ancestry Outside of The Church of Scotland]]
 +
'''Online Tutorials on FamilySearch:'''
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/241 Scotland's Old Parish Registers: How to Access, Use, and Interpret] - Parts 1 and 2
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/783 Using Church of Scotland Parochial Registers to trace Scots Ancestry]
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/338 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk]
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/510 British Resources on FamilySearch.org] - Parts 1 and 2
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/511 British Resources on Ancestry] - Parts 1 and 2
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/782 Scotland's Lost Other Half: Tracing Difficult Ancestral Lines in Scotland's Non-Parochial Register]
  
[[Category:Church_records_in_Scotland]]
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[[Category:Scotland Church Records]]

Latest revision as of 19:41, 2 July 2018

Scotland Wiki Topics
Flag of Scotland.jpg
Beginning Research
Record Types
Scotland Background
Local Research Resources
Scotland
Church Records

For information about records for non-Christian religions in Scotland, go to the Religious Records page.

Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death. Since civil registration in Scotland began in 1855, church records are a major source for genealogical research in Scotland before 1855.

Understanding the Records

United Presbyterian Church at Stonehouse, Scotland.jpg

Church of Scotland

See also: Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records

The Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church) has been the recognised national church of Scotland since 1690. It is not a state or "established" church (although that latter description has found its way into various official documentation such as marriage registers); that independence from the state was eventually acknowledged in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The organization of the Church of Scotland is as follows:

  • The General Assembly is the highest organizational body and serves as the final ecclesiastical court of appeals.
  • A Synod is made up of several presbyteries and serves as the court of appeals for those presbyteries.
  • A Presbytery is made up of several parishes and serves as the court of appeals for those parishes.
  • A parish is the lowest governing body.
  • A chapelry or chapel of ease is a small church which serves a distant part of a parish.

The two main types of records are Old Parochial Registers (OPR) and Kirk Session Records. OPR's list baptisms, marriages and burials. Kirk Session records are the records of the Church Courts. They often list information relevant to genealogy.

  • Printed Resources:
    • Books detailing the overall dates of old parochial records in civil parishes or counties in northeast Scotland (by the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society) (FHL Map Case 941 E7c pt. 4)
    • Parish Maps of Scotland. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. (FHL Book 941 E7ch)
    • Phillips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland 1881. London, England: G. Phillip, 1881. (FHL Book 941 E7p)

Nonconformists

Churches which are not part of the Church of Scotland are often referred to as nonconformist. By the 19th century a majority of the population was non-Conformist. There were two categories of so-called nonconformist churches in Scotland:

  • Seceders -- Those who seceded from the main church but were still Presbyterian in form.
  • Dissenters -- Those who were not Presbyterian in form, such as Episcopal, Methodist, or Catholic.

Nonconformists had their own congregations, with different boundaries to the Church of Scotland and kept their own records. However, before 1834, nonconformist ministers were not authorized to perform marriages as clergyman; after 1834 they could perform marriages if the banns had first been read in the parish church. Total authority was granted in 1855. In the context of Scots Law as it applied until 1939, this affected, only in practice, the mode of marriage because until then any declaration of marriage in front of witnesses was valid although many might have failed to be recorded.

For more background information on churches in Scotland, including a historical timeline, read the article Scotland Church History.

Accessing the Records

OPR

Kirk Sessions

Very few Kirk Sessions records are available online. ScotlandsPeople are in "the final stages" of making more of them available online. See this guide Church Court Records for more information.

Non-Church of Scotland

Research Guidance

FamilySearch Wiki Help for Non-Church of Scotland Church Records Research

Online Tutorials on FamilySearch: