Catholic Church Records

Find your Roman Catholic ancestors in Catholic parish records of baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials from the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:  

  • name of the person(s)

  • where they lived 

  • which church they attended

​What records can I find in the Mitchell: Registrars? 

Many of the records for Scottish Catholic parishes, together with some Catholic cemetery records, have been digitally imaged.  Copies of these images together with a full index, are one of the many resources available as part of the ScotlandsPeople network which you access in the Registrars on payment of a daily fee.   

 

Baptismal and marriage registers occasionally date from the beginning of the 18th century but mostly do not begin until the late 18th century or the 19th century.  

 

The information contained in the original registers is varied but the best baptismal records include:

  • name of child

  • dates of birth and baptism

  • legitimacy

  • parents’ names, including mother’s maiden name

  • place or parish of residence

  • father’s occupation

  • name of witnesses​

 

Some registers record minimal information such as the names of the child and parents and a baptismal date.

 

Marriage registers rarely record much more than the names of the individuals being married. Catholic Parish registers usually record the date of marriage, often with the information that the banns of marriage have been duly proclaimed.

 

There are only a small number of death, burial and funeral records.  This scant coverage has been supplemented by utilising the surviving cemetery registers from St Peter's Dalbeth in Glasgow and Mount Vernon in Edinburgh.  

 

The information contained in the original death registers can be quite minimal, and varies from parish to parish and indeed over time within each parish. At best, a death, burial or funeral register will record the following:

  • name of deceased person

  • dates of death and burial

  • address,  place or parish of residence

  • age

  • name of a relative (perhaps a widow, or parent if deceased was a child

What records can I see online?

Images of the Catholic registers for baptisms (to 1913), marriages (to 1938) and deaths (to 1963) can be purchased on ScotlandsPeople website.  Discounted vouchers for this website can be purchased in person at Special Collections.

​What records can I see elsewhere?

A large number of Catholic Parish Registers are held in the Scottish Catholic Archives.  Other records are still retained within the parishes.