Digging Up your Roots top Tips - Religion
Professor Bruce Durie shares some of his top genealogy tips - this week he looks at religion and ancestry.
1 - The best place for all Scottish Old Parish Records (OPRs)
... is www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk but do check if your local library has the microfilms. www.familysearch.org also has a lot of these, but no document images and often no source details.
2.Do remember three things:
i.These are from about 1560 to 1854, but are not complete for all parishes
ii.The church was not concerned with Birth, Marriage and Death, but Baptism, Proclamation and Burial. However, you may get a birth and baptism date in a record, or a date of actual marriage or death
iii. Mostly, these are Church of Scotland records, and some non-conformist denominations that later re-merged with the Kirk, plus some Catholic records. Free Church and others are harder to find, but local libraries or Family History Societies may have printed indexes. But, for instance, Perth & Kinross Archives have the Aberfeldy Congregational Church records from 1870.
3. A civil marriage record (post-1855)
May well say "married according to the forms of the United Presbyterian Church" (or the Roman Catholic church, or the Free Church etc.) and that's a clue where to go looking next.
4. Kirk Session records will be online soon.
These are a fantastic source of detail about the parish and its inhabitants - illegitimacies, poor relief, arguments between neighbours, witchcraft and much else besides. Meanwhile, they can be consulted at The National Archives (Edinburgh) and in some cases in your local parish.
5. If you are looking for clergy...
Check the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, a list of EVERY Church of Scotland minister, with a biography and in many cases a genealogy. There are available as books in many larger libraries but can be downloaded as whole volumes from www.archive.org (choose the PDF option). Other churches have Fasti too, but they are harder to find.