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Finding Your Scottish Ancestors Pre 1855

Prior to statutory registration births, baptisms, marriages and deaths were the responsibility of the Church of Scotland and are referred to as the Old Parish Registers. The responsibility for maintaining these registers was normally the parish minister or session clerk. As no formal procedure had been established the amount of information recorded can vary from parish to parish and from year to year.  The census years of 1841 and 1851 are also examined and there are a number of localised census returns prior to 1841 that can be examined. As part of your research project we also examine the Scottish Statistical Accounts of Scotland 1791-1799 and 1834 – 1845. The reports were prepared by the parish minister and can provide an insight into life in the parish.

A recent development that is now available to researchers and this applies to both the pre and post 1885 options is the availability of Roman Catholic registers of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths. There are restrictions to access for births after 1914, and for marriages after 1934.