News Article: Release of Presbyterian Church Records

Detail from a page of a marriage register, 1842

From 26 June 2017, more than 36,000 new presbyterian church records, covering the period 1744 to 1855, have been added to the ScotlandsPeople website. The 20,255 births and baptisms (1744–1855), 10,368 marriages and proclamations (1729–1855) and 5,422 death and burial records (1783–1855) may be especially helpful for anyone searching for a person who was born or baptised, married or died before the introduction of statutory registration in 1855.

Search the church registers or read more about them in our church registers guide.

Old Parish Registers (OPRs), already available to search through the website, were compiled by ministers of the Church of Scotland, and therefore do not include surviving records of baptisms that were created in other presbyterian denominations that separated themselves from the established church and that sometimes also formed further separate denominations.

An interesting example of births from these records relates to the family of Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson was a highly successful bookseller and printer in Edinburgh whose business expanded to America in 1854 and eventually became part of the world famous HarperCollins publishing firm. The new releases of 20,255 birth and baptisms feature the birth of all nine of Nelson’s children, recorded in CH3/1198/1 (Edinburgh, Martyrs' Reformed Presbyterian Church Kirk Session). Nelson’s first child, Ann, was born in 1815 and his final child, Janet, was born in 1834. Two of his sons, William, born 1817, and Thomas, born 1823, were to become instrumental in the running of his business.

Baptism entry of William Nelson, 1817

Baptism entry of William Nelson
National Records of Scotland, Kirk Session Records, 1817, CH3/1198/1/10

Baptism entry of Thomas Nelson junior, 1823

Baptism entry of Thomas Nelson junior
National Records of Scotland, Kirk Session Records, 1823, CH3/1198/1/14

To find out more about Nelson’s family and business, please read our Hall of Fame entry on the National Records of Scotland website.

List of volumes released in June 2017

Further information about covering dates and administrative histories of particular parishes can be found by searching the National Records of Scotland catalogue. Please note that these other church registers are only available on the website and will be released in local family history centres later this year.

Births and baptisms

  • Abernethy Associate (Antiburgher) Congregation, United Presbyterian, United Free South (CH3/687/1–3), 1744–1855
  • Banff, Free Church, High United Free (CH3/1303/29), 1844–1850
  • Bellshill Relief Church, United Presbyterian, West United Free, St. Andrew's Church of Scotland (CH3/1037/9), 1764–1833
  • Brightons Parish Church, Polmont Free Church (CH3/1196/1), 1843–1855
  • Chirnside Reformed Presbyterian Congregation, later Free and West United Free Church (CH3/336/1), 1839–1855
  • Comrie Associate Congregation (United Presbyterian, United Free Comrie East) (CH3/608/1), 1791–1826
  • Edinburgh, Martyrs' Reformed Presbyterian Church, Free Church, United Free, united with St John's as Martyrs' and St John's, 1909 (CH3/1198/1), 1805–1855
  • Glasgow, John Street Relief Church, United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/806/12), 1822–1855
  • Hamilton, Brandon Street, Second Relief Church, United Presbyterian, and United Free (CH3/996/6), 1831–1842
  • Howgate, Antiburgher, Associate Session, United Presbyterian and United Free Church (CH3/1363/11), 1750–1759, 1800–1826
  • Irvine, East Church, Trinity, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/1288/13), 1820–1854
  • Kincardine (Burgher), United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1018/23), 1853–1855
  • Kirkcaldy, Pathhead Antiburgher Church, Associate Session (Linktoun), United Presbyterian (CH3/1144/6–8), 1760–1855
  • Kirkcowan, United Secession Church, United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland, Danson Memorial (CH3/871/5), 1838–1842
  • Kirriemuir, Associate, United Original Secession Church (CH3/1398/2), 1824–1843
  • Leith, Relief Church, United Presbyterian Junction Road, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/728/32), 1825–1855
  • Macduff Free/United Free/MacDuff Gardner Church of Scotland (CH3/1416/1), 1843–1855
  • Newton Stewart Relief Church, United Presbyterian, United Free York Road (CH3/1371/1), 1791–1845
  • Nigg (Antiburgher) Associate, United Secession, United Presbyterian, later Chapelhill United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/1433/12), 1767–1855
  • Paisley, Reformed Presbyterian, Oakshaw Free Church, Oakshaw West United Free, and Church of Scotland (CH3/751/21), 1809–1853
  • St Andrews Hope Park Church (CH3/1584/28), 1829–1838
  • West Linton Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, West Linton and Newlands United Free Church and Trinity Church of Scotland (CH3/307/1), 1748–1795

Banns and marriages

  • Aberdeen (St Andrew's Street), St Paul's Relief Church, United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/927/10), 1807–1855
  • Aberfeldy Free Church, later United Free and Church of Scotland, Breadalbane (CH3/453/2), 1851–1855
  • Airdrie, South Bridge Street, Second United Associate Congregation, (Graham St) Relief, United Presbyterian, later United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/793/9), 1833–1843
  • Alness Free Church, United Free (CH3/750/2), 1843–1855
  • Alyth Associate Session (Antiburgher) United Presbyterian, United Free South (CH3/15/3), 1820–1855
  • Arbroath First United Associate Congregation, (Antiburgher) North Grimsby Church, later Princes Street United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/964/21), 1823–1855
  • Ardeonaig Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1243/3), 1847–1855
  • Auchencairn, Free Church, United Free, St John's Church of Scotland (CH3/1199/4), 1844–1855
  • Ayr Cathcart Church (CH3/753/7), 1832–1855
  • Barr Free Church, United Free, Angus Memorial, Church of Scotland (CH3/757/1), 1843–1855
  • Biggar Associate (Burgher) Church, North, Moat Park, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/1248/1), 1761–1810
  • Biggar Relief congregation, later South United Presbyterian, Gillespie, United Presbyterian and United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1249/6), 1837–1852
  • Brechin Relief Session, later High Street and Bank Street United Presbyterian Churches and Bank Street United Free (CH3/439/15), 1832–1855
  • Bridge of Teith Associate Congregation, United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/48/21), 1758–1766
  • Brightons Parish Church, Polmont Free Church (CH3/1196/1), 1843–1855
  • Campsie West United Free Church Kirk Session (CH3/1041/3), 1845–1855
  • Carluke, Kirkton United Presbyterian Church (CH3/459/1), 1832–1855
  • Chirnside Reformed Presbyterian Congregation, later Free Church and West United Free Church (CH3/336/1), 1839–1855
  • Coatbridge – Dunbeath Relief Church, later United Presbyterian and United Free (CH3/524/9), 1838–1855
  • Cockburnspath and Oldhamstocks Free Church, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/58/14), 1846–1855
  • Cromarty Free Church, later United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/586/10), 1843–1847
  • Dallas Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1131/8–9), 1846–1855
  • Dunblane Leighton, Associate Session, United Presbyterian, Leighton United Free (CH3/90/1, 10), 1758–1790, 1836–1855
  • Dundee – Hilltown Free (CH3/341/29), 1851–1855
  • Dunfermline, Associate (Burgher) Church, Queen Anne Street, United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland Erskine (CH3/568/16–17), 1740–1754, 1799
  • Dunfermline, St Margaret's United Free Church Kirk Session (CH3/1232/33), 1825–1850
  • Durness Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/852/2), 1843–1855
  • East Kilbride, Relief Session, United Presbyterian, West United Free, and Church of Scotland (CH3/1001/1), 1792–1855
  • Edinburgh – Cowgate, United Associate Congregation, Infirmary Street United Presbyterian, Mayfield Secession Church, United Presbyterian, Fountainhall Road United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/1014/10), 1844–1855
  • Edinburgh – Lady Glenorchy's Free Church, United Free, North Church of Scotland (CH3/723/18), 1843–1855
  • Edinburgh – Martyrs' Reformed Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, FC, United Free, united with St John's as Martyrs' and St John's, 1909 (CH3/1198/1), 1805–1855
  • Edinburgh – Corstorphine Free Church, United Free and St Ninian's Church of Scotland (CH3/514/10), 1846–1855
  • Edzell Free Church, later United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/543/4–5), 1837–1855
  • Enzie Free Church (CH3/314/9), 1844–1855
  • Eyemouth United Secession Church Kirk Session, United Presbyterian, East United Free (CH3/1235/1), 1841–1855
  • Falkirk, West, Relief Church Kirk Session, United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1459/16), 1843–1855
  • Glasgow – Caledonia Road UP Church (CH3/399/8), 1844–1855
  • Glasgow – Regent Place United Associate (CH3/354/26), 1836–1840
  • Glasgow – Eglinton Street United Free Church (CH3/769/20), 1842–1855
  • Glasgow – St Stephen’s West Kirk Session (CH3/162/18), 1838–1850
  • Greenock Associate Session Church Kirk Session, Crawfordsdyke (Cartsdyke) (CH3/1378/1), 1779–1788
  • Huntly Free Church (Strathbogie New Church, 1840–1843), Strathbogie United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/620/14), 1840–1845
  • Inch Free Church, later United Free, Castle Kennedy, united with Inch Church of Scotland in 1931 (CH3/557/1), 1843–1855
  • Insch Free Church, later United Free and East Church of Scotland (CH3/175/5), 1843–1855
  • Inverkeithing Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, United Free and St John's Church of Scotland (CH3/452/1), 1753–1775
  • Inverurie Free Church, later United Free, West Church of Scotland (CH3/556/2), 1844
  • Kelso Reformed Presbyterian Congregation (CH3/667/1), 1824–1853
  • Kilmarnock (Crookedholm) Reformed Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, Martyrs Free (from 1876), United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1318/1), 1803–1855
  • Kilmaurs Associate (Antiburgher) Congregation, Smyton United Presbyterian, United Free and Glencairn Church of Scotland (CH3/193/1, 3, 21), 1740–1760, 1780–1855
  • Kilmun Free Church, United Free, later Kilmun and Strone United Free and St Andrew's Church of Scotland (CH3/505/8), 1842–1855
  • Kirkcaldy, Bethelfield (Burgher), United Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/846/2), 1834–1855
  • Kirkcowan, United Secession Church, United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/871/5), 1838–1855
  • Kirkliston Free Church United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1008/4), 1843–1855
  • Knockbain Free Church Kirk Session, Munlochy, United Free, North Church of Scotland (CH3/1200/1), 1843–1855
  • Lanark, Broomgate/Bloomgate First Relief Church Kirk Session, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/1449/1), 1845–1855
  • Leith, Mariners Free Church, St Ninian's United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/448/2), 1842–1855
  • Leith, Relief Church, United Presbyterian Junction Road, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/728/33), 1823–1855
  • Letham United Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian (CH3/213/1), 1839–1855
  • Lybster Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/882/1), 1844–1855
  • Macduff Free, United Free, Macduff Gardner Church of Scotland (CH3/1416/1), 1843–1855
  • Marnoch, Free, United Free, later New Marnoch Church of Scotland (CH3/1492/28), 1843–1850
  • Maybole Cargill Church Kirk Session (CH3/869/8), 1846–1853
  • Methven Associate Session, later United Presbyterian and United Free (CH3/444/3), 1846–1855
  • Montrose, First United Associate (Antiburgher) Church Kirk Session, Mill Street United Presbyterian, St Luke's United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1177/10), 1745–1840
  • Montrose, St John's Free Church, United Free, and Church of Scotland (CH3/1178/19, 23), 1825–1849
  • Monzie Free Church (CH3/567/2), 1843–1855
  • Morebattle (Gateshaw) Associate Session, United Associate Session, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/520/1–2), 1775–1855
  • Morebattle Free Church, United Free and St Aidan's Church of Scotland (CH3/526/10), 1847–1855
  • Muthill Free Church (CH3/694/2), 1843–1855
  • Newton Mearns Kirk Session (CH3/227/1), 1746–1760
  • Newton Stewart Relief Church, United Presbyterian, United Free York Road (CH3/1371/1), 1807
  • Nigg (Antiburgher) Associate, United Secession, United Presbyterian, later Chapelhill United Free (CH3/1433/12), 1767–1855
  • North Ronaldsay Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1101/4), 1848–1855
  • Ordiquhill Free Church, United Free, Ordiquhill and Ordiquhill, Cornhill and Church of Scotland (CH3/1045/5), 1845–1855
  • Paisley, Reformed Presbyterian, Oakshaw Free Church, Oakshaw West United Free, and Church of Scotland (CH3/751/20–22), 1809–1855
  • Perth (North) Associate Session (Antiburgher), United Presbyterian United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/507/1, 9), 1740–1855
  • Perth, Free Middle Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/1283/13), 1845–1855
  • Rathillet Kirk Session (Burgher), later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/1565/4), 1764–1855
  • Rhynie Free Church (CH3/935/4), 1842–1846
  • Rutherglen Stonelaw Kirk Session (CH3/1343/31), 1837–1855
  • Stewarton, Original Secession Church, joined Church of Scotland, 1839–43, Free Church from 1843 (CH3/789/7), 1843–1855
  • Stranraer Associate Session, Ivy Place Antiburgher, First United Secession, later United Presbyterian (CH3/549/11), 1811–1855
  • Stronsay, United Associate (Antiburgher), United Presbyterian, St John's United Free (CH3/1116/1, 4), 1799–1825, 1836–1855
  • Thurso Associate Congregation Church Kirk Session, Original Secession Church, joined the Free Church in 1852 (CH3/1399/1), 1841–1855
  • Urr Antiburgher, United Associate, Church, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/1038/1), 1817–1855
  • West Linton Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, West Linton and Newlands United Free and Trinity Church of Scotland (CH3/307/2–3), 1803–1852
  • Westruther Free Church, later United Free Church (CH3/469/39), 1729–1779
  • Wigtown United Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, West United Free Church and West Church of Scotland (CH3/310/4), 1849–1855
  • Yetholm Burgher (New Licht) Church, later United Presbyterian, Borderview United Free church, Saint James's Church of Scotland (CH3/578/1), 1838–1852

Deaths and burials

  • Bathgate Relief Session, later West United Presbyterian Church, St. John's United Free Church and St. John's Church of Scotland (CH3/416/13), 1832–1834
  • Bellshill Relief Church, United Presbyterian, West United Free, St. Andrew's Church of Scotland (CH3/1037/9, 12), 1797–1855
  • Campsie, Relief Church, United Presbyterian, United Free (CH3/1041/3), 1845–1855
  • Carluke, Kirkton, United Presbyterian Church (CH3/459/1), 1835–1837
  • Chirnside Reformed Presbyterian Congregation (CH3/336/1), 1843–1855
  • Dennyloanhead Associate (Antiburgher) Congregation, United Presbyterian, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/704/25), 1836–1851
  • Dunfermline, St Margaret's United Free Church (CH3/1232/33), 1825–1850
  • Edinburgh – Martyrs' Reformed Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, Free Church, United Free, united with St John's as Martyrs' and St John's, 1909 (CH3/1198/1), 1805–1855
  • Edzell Free Church, later United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/543/4), 1837–1855
  • Glasgow – Regent Place United Associate (CH3/354/26), 1836–1840
  • Inch Free Church, later United Free, Castle Kennedy, united with Inch Church of Scotland in 1931 (CH3/557/1), 1845–1855
  • Insch Free Church, later United Free and East Church of Scotland (CH3/175/5), 1843–1855
  • Kirkcaldy, Pathhead Antiburgher Church, Associate Session (Linktoun), United Presbyterian (CH3/1144/8), 1839–1855
  • Kirkcowan, United Secession Church, United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland Danson Memorial (CH3/871/5), 1838–1855
  • Lethendy Associate Congregation (CH3/214/1), 1801
  • Lybster Free Church, United Free, Church of Scotland (CH3/882/1), 1844–1855
  • Monzie Free Church (CH3/567/2), 1843–1855
  • Morebattle, Free Church, United Free, and St Aidan's Church of Scotland (CH3/526/10), 1848–1853
  • Ordiquhill Free Church, United Free, Ordiquhill, Cornhill and Ordiquhill Church of Scotland (CH3/1045/53), 1845–1855
  • Paisley, Oakshaw East Associate Congregation (Antiburgher), later United Free Church (CH3/550/4), 1836–1855
  • Paisley, Reformed Presbyterian, Oakshaw Free Church, Oakshaw West United Free, and Church of Scotland (CH3/751/20), 1809–1821
  • Paisley, Abbey Close Associate Session, later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/465/39–40), 1842–1855
  • Rathillet Kirk Session (Burgher), later United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland (CH3/1565/4), 1783–1836
  • Stronsay, United Associate (Antiburgher), United Presbyterian, St John's United Free (CH3/1116/1), 1800–1810
  • West Linton Associate Congregation, later United Presbyterian, West Linton and Newlands United Free and Trinity Church of Scotland (CH3/307/2–3), 1812–1852
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