Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Roman Catholic baptisms released on ScotlandsPeople

Roman Catholic baptisms from 1703-1955 have been released on the ScotlandsPeople website, the first non-Church of Scotland parish registers to be so released on the site.

The following information is from the website:

Catholic Parish Registers comprise records of births and baptisms; marriages; confirmations; deaths and burials; communicants; sick calls; status animarum; converts; first confessions and sent rents. The records cover all Scottish parishes in existence by 1855 – before the introduction of civil registration; the records of the main Catholic cemeteries in Edinburgh and Glasgow and the records of the RC Bishopric of the Forces, which records all sacramental events for British service men and women serving in the armed forces worldwide.

Approximately 700 registers have survived, the earliest dating from 1703, but most records only beginning in the 30 years following the relaxation of legislation against Catholics in the 1790s.

Interestingly, the site also holds Catholic records from St. Joan of Arc, Catterick, and Aldershot, both from garrisons in England.

To view the records, visit
www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk . Scotland leads the way - mar as abhaist! A help file is also available at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/content/help/index.aspx?r=554&1374

UPDATE: There's coverage of the launch for the records at www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/two-centuries-of-scottish-catholic-archives-published-online-1.924381.


Professional genealogical problem solving and research


The Professional Descendant said...

Just tried a search for one of my surnames of interest and an entry I know to be in one of the registers doesn't appear in the index, despite using a fairly broad wildcard search.

The main information on the registers given on ScotlandsPeople doesn't mention that some are in Latin, although the following appears in a pop-up on the search page:

'Note: Some Catholic parish registers record forenames in Latin. The indexes available on this site include Latin to English translation and you need only enter the forename in English. Your search results will return the English name followed by the Latin equivalent in brackets ‘()’ where this occurs.'

There could be some problems with this. I have a baptism where the son's name is recorded as 'Jacobum' and translated as Jacob, the father's name is recorded as 'Jacobo' and has not been translated. The baptism record (in English) of another child in the same family indicates that the father's name was James.

Room for improvement?

Chris Paton said...

Thanks Kirsty,

I suppose no index will ever be perfect, I have in the past found census entries missing on SP which have been picked up by FreeCEN and Ancestry (albeit, horribly mangled in the transcription on Ancestry!), though that is rare. I can understand the desire to translate from Latin to English, but I suppose that will only increase the possibility of an error creeping in. Definitely worth keeping an eye on!


The Professional Descendant said...

My main issue with the Latin was that it could have been made clearer on the website that some records are in Latin and that this may cause additional difficulties.

I also think it could have been made clearer that although the registers cover 1703-1955, "Records are only available for people born before 1909."

This makes sense as it is in line with the Statutory Registers, but at first glance you might think you can access the baptism record for someone whose birth record is not yet available through the site.

But I'll stop now, otherwise I might start getting picky :P


Chris Paton said...

And slightly more confusing in that the search box allows you to search up to 2008!


Bonnie M said...

I think some records are missing. Like Aidrie 1842-1853(?). Some of the records you found for me from 1842-1844 are not on the index, using every single variant and/or wildcard of which I can think.

I emailed them to get them to double-check to see if they have a gap. I couldn't find ANY common Irish names for Aidrie for 1842-1850 and I know they had records in that time frame.

Makes me wonder if there are *other* missing records.

Chris Paton said...

Hi Bonnie,

I am currently in Crete, so can't chase up - I believe that registers created post-1855 are not online, just those started pre-1855, and it was a while since I looked at your records for you, so apologies I can't be more precise just now! You could contact the Scottish Catholic Archives - the registers I looked at in the NAS were copies from their records. I'll look in next wek when I gt back!


Bonnie M said...


When it comes to Aidrie, I got this back yesterday:

"I have received word back that Airdrie St Margaret's 1842 -1853 is an index which was only done recently, and so will be uploaded with the rest still to go on round about Christmas, January/February."

So it looks like they're not all up yet.

Chris Paton said...

Thanks Bonnie, that's extremely useful, as I know someone else with family from the area also. Back in Blighty tomorrow!