Genealogy Centre, Level 3, The Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN
0141 287 8364

Old Parish Registers

Old Parish Registers

Take those next steps in your family history and retrace your ancestors’ footsteps over the centuries back beyond the introduction of civil registration in 1855

The Old Parish Registers (OPRs), 1553-1854, comprise the records of births & baptisms, banns & marriages and deaths & burials kept by individual parishes of the Established Church (Church of Scotland) before the introduction of civil registration in 1855.

You can access the official indexes and images of the Old Parish Registers for all of Scotland in the Registrars Genealogy Centre on Level 3 as part of a comprehensive package.

The Family History Centre  has microfilm copies of Old Parish Registers for large parts of Scotland.

The parish minister or the session clerk was usually responsible for maintaining the registers, but since there was no standard format employed, record keeping varied enormously from parish to parish and also from year to year. As a result, the information may be sparse, unreliable and difficult to read. Some registers have been lost or destroyed.  Many do not begin until 18th or 19th centuries, particularly in more remote areas.

Registration in Church of Scotland's registers was costly and unpopular; so many people did not bother to register events at all. Although details of some non-conformists can be found in Established Church registers, many members of other religious denominations chose to have events registered in their own churches

The Archives  has a number of pre-1855, mainly non-conformist, registers of births, marriages, and some burials among its church records.


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