Non-OPR Parish Registers Search - Help Page


Are these records not all on Scotland's People?

Why can’t I find my ancestor in your database?

What parishes have you covered?

Who has transcribed them?

Can I buy a transcription of the full register?

Can you give me more help?


Are these records not all on Scotland's People?

At present, apart from the Catholic Registers, the only parish registers available on the Scotland’s People site are known as the “Old Parish Registers”, or OPRs for short. These contain baptisms/births, marriages/marriage banns and deaths/burials recorded in the registers of the Church of Scotland. There are, however, records of births, marriages and deaths (BMDs) to be found outwith the OPRs.

There are various reasons why it is worthwhile searching in alternative sources. One is that BMD records form only part of the surviving written material generated by the Kirk Sessions (administrative bodies in each Church of Scotland congregation made up of the minister and church elders). As in some parishes it was not easy to separate the BMD material from other Session business, a surprising amount of BMD material remains among Kirk Session records, especially in smaller, rural parishes.

Another reason that it is worth looking beyond the OPRs is that as the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries progressed a greater and greater number left the Church of Scotland and formed other churches (the most well known of such divisions was the formation of the Free Church in the ‘Disruption’ of 1843). These new congregations often kept their own registers recording the births and marriages of their parishioners, and although many have not survived, a substantial number do remain. Sometimes the Church of Scotland registers also recorded these events, but more often than not this does not seem to have happened.

We have tried to locate as many of these ‘missing’ records in our area as possible and transcribe and index them by parish. We make these registers available in book form, and also available in PDF format by request. Additionally, we have made an overall index to the records we have transcribed available on our site (see below).

Why can’t I find my ancestor in your database?

It could be the way you search, or it may be that they are not in the database at all. It’s important to note that our parish register search is not searching the Old Parish Records (OPRs for short): rather it is searching a selection of parish records containing baptisms/births, banns/marriages and burials/deaths found in a variety of places. See the question “Are these records not all on Scotland's People?” above for more information.

It could be, though, that we may have what you are looking for. We have given a number of search boxes but you don’t have to fill them all in. Less is more. If there are no results try reducing the amount of information you give. You could just try the surname or even just first name.

Use wildcards: The wildcard * can represent any series of characters, and the wildcard ? can represent any single character.

Both can be used in any field. Let’s say your ancestor’s surname was Blyth. In Victorian records, though, spellings were very inconsistent, and the surname may have sppeared with our without a final ‘e’. To get around this, try a search of Blyth* and this will bring up all Blyths, with or without a final ‘e’.

Perhaps is a first name is causing some difficulty, for the same reason. Helen, for example might be ‘Hellen’, ‘Helen’, ‘Ellen’, ‘Elen’, ‘Elinor’ or ‘Eleanor’. Searching for *el*n* will bring almost all variations of the name up.

What parishes have you covered?

An up-to-date list of parishes covered and years can be found here.

Who has transcribed them?

The work has been done by Graham and Emma Maxwell, the owners of maxwellancestry.com.

Can I buy a transcription of the full register?

Yes, you can, we sell paper copies and PDFs, visit our online bookshop to buy them or email us.

Can you give me more help?

If you have an obstacle in your family tree and you need some help, contact us directly, explaining your problem and we will try to assist. Often with our experience and the resources we have to hand, it is possible to solve your problem in an hour or two. What we offer is that we will have a look at your problem for about half an hour with no obligation. We will then then tell you if we can solve the problem and how much it will cost you, and it will be up to you to decide if you would like to proceed.

Return to Top