Friday, 28 December 2007

Scottish Roman Catholic records

Whilst all Scottish Roman Catholic births, marriages and deaths are recorded in the statutory registers from 1855, and therefore available online through Scotland's People, events prior to this are currently unavailable online. Photocopies of parish registers pre-1855 are stored at the National Archives of Scotland, but if you have Catholic ancestry you may not be aware that the Scottish Catholic Archives holds an absolute wealth of material that may be of use to you genealogically. The following links outline the collections held at the SCA, including the parish registers that they hold:

http://www.catholic-heritage.net/sca/sumcat.pdf (Collections - requires Adobe Acrobat or Reader)
http://www.catholic-heritage.net/sca/genealogy-pr.htm (Parish registers)

The Scottish Catholic Archives are based at Columba House, 16 Drummond Place, Edinburgh EH3 6PL. They will carry out research for a fee, but are happy for private researchers to use their facilities.

Personally, one of the greatest uses I have found for the parish registers is in working out when people arrived in Scotland to flee the famine in Ireland during the 1840s, and to find additional members of the family, often named as witnesses at weddings and baptisms. In conjunction with the poor law returns (where they survive) held at places such as the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, a great deal can be worked out about where families came from in Ireland, which anyone who has found the birthplace of an ancestor in a census listed simply as "Ireland" can appreciate!

Chris

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