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Family History Searches

Please note : St Cuthbert's do not store any historical records. This means we are unable to assist with any historical or family history enquiries

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General Information

The primary sources of information are census returnsand records which relate to births, marriages and deaths. Statutory registration (the legal requirement to register births, marriages and deaths) was introduced in Scotland in 1855 (1837 in England) but prior to that records were maintained by the churches. Hence the interest which family history researchers show in churches. Even after 1855 churches continue to maintain their own records and these will often yield information for keen researchers which goes beyond what is available in the statutory records. 

Additionally churches often have graveyardsand these may have burial records and recordings of monumental inscriptions (i.e. what it says on the tombstones) associated with them. In Scotland responsibility for graveyards passed to the local authorities in 1929 when there was the great re-unification of various denominational factions, but churches were somewhat reticent about passing on all their records, so they can be difficult to locate. 

Another resource for family history searches for people with Scottish ancestry is www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk This is a partnership between the General Register Office for Scotland - the custodian of the registry of all births, deaths and marriages in the country and Scotland On Line, a provider of internet-driven, IT-based business solutions. Thus site offers three main benefits: 

  • Unique Information that can be found nowhere else 
  • A massive database that is constantly updated 
  • A visitor-friendly search facility that is accessible to all 

For a general guide to family history see :  



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Births, Marriages and Deaths
...and Census Information

The statutory records of births, marriages and deaths (and divorce records) from 1855 are held on Microfiche. Census records from 1841 to 1901 and Old Parish Registers (OPR's) of births, marriages and deaths before 1855 are held on Microfilm.  

They are held by the General Register Office for Scotland at New Register House :  


For location and opening times see :  


New Register House has terminals giving access to digital images of some records and indexes to all these records (except the OPR deaths). Alternatively the indexes can be searched on-line at :  


The available OPR's relating to St Cuthbert's are listed on pages 6 and 7, at :  


The OPR's are also available at :
The Edinburgh Room, Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge

The Scottish Genealogy Society, 15 Victoria Terrace  


There is also a set of three books published by The Scottish Record Society listing marriages alphabetically by both male and female surnames :  

Register of Marriages Parish of Edinburgh 1595-1700 published 1905
Register of Marriages Parish of Edinburgh 1701-1750 published 1908
Register of Marriages Parish of Edinburgh 1751-1800 published 1922  

These are available both in the National Archives of Scotland (Reference 685 - 027, 035 and 053) and in the Edinburgh Room of Edinburgh Central Library (Reference Y CS 436).  

The Scottish Record Society is contactable via :  

The Honorary Secretary
Professor James Kirk
Department of Scottish History
University of Glasgow


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Graveyards and Burial Grounds

Monumental Inscriptions for St Cuthbert's Churchyard were recorded and published by The Scottish Record Society in two volumes (sometimes found bound together) in the early 20th century. 

These are both called Monumental Inscriptions in St Cuthbert's Churchyard Edinburgh, and are compiled by John Smith and edited by Sir James Balfour Paul. The older portion was published in 1915, while the newer portion was published 1919. These are available in the National Archives of Scotland (Reference 685 - 047 and 051), in the Edinburgh Room of Edinburgh Central Library (Reference Y CS 436 C 98) and in the Scottish Genealogy Society. 

More recently the late George Gray produced a short listing of better known people buried in the churchyard and this is available from the church bookstall. 

In 1979 the former City of Edinburgh District Council Department of Architecture produced Catalogue of Monuments and Burial Grounds. This is available in the Edinburgh Room of Edinburgh Central Library (Reference QY NA 9355). St Cuthbert's appears in Vol 3 under 'Lothian Road' 

Burial Records for St Cuthbert's Churchyard are now controlled by :  

The Recorder of District Burial Grounds and Crematorium
Mortonhall Crematorium
Howdenhall Road
Edinburgh EH16 6TX
Telephone 0131 664 4314  

The only register they have is a Manuscript Chronological Register (i.e. a diary) from 1804 up to the present. There is no lair register (i.e. record of who all is in each grave) held there. 

The office is primarily there to service cremations and burials. They can offer only a limited service to family historians because there is little space. To visit personally it is necessary to book an appointment and then it is necessary to quote an approximate date and name for the ancestor of interest. There is no practical way of searching without this information and they are unable to offer the opportunity to trawl through Registers at length. If information is requested by post or help required on a visit then a charge is made. 

An On-line listing of the graves and gravestone inscriptions in the churchyard is available HERE

(Please note this links to an external site - St Cuthbert's are not responsible for the availability of the website or its content, and do not have access to this document in any other format other than this link. St Cuthbert's have no control or input to the document, and cannot attest to its accuracy.)


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Other Historic Information About St Cuthbert's

Most of St Cuthbert's historic records have been deposited in theNational Archives of Scotland, up the steps behind Wellington's statue at the East End. See :


They are principally held under reference CH2 / 718 for which there is a 21 page index. There are many items in there of potential interest to family historians, including more recent baptism and marriage records, Kirk Session Minutes and Register of Discipline. (If your ancestor was illegitimate the register of discipline may be the only place you can find out who the father was!). There are also items which may be of interest beyond family history. 

The Scottish Room at Edinburgh Central Library has a few items which may be of interest : 

Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, reference WX BR 5069
Gives a complete history of all the ministers going back to 1560

The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799, reference WX DA 855
All parish ministers were asked to write an account of their parish.
It gives a pen picture of what life was like at that time. Edinburgh was done collectively rather than individually by parish.

The New Statistical Account of Scotland, reference WXDA 865
This was a repeat exercise between 1834 and 1845.

There is a third one done by the Universities in 1966
This is held in the Edinburgh Room but it is not very good.  

The Edinburgh Room at Edinburgh Central Library has a classification specifically for St Cuthbert's. It is (Y) BR 5346 C98 (omit the 'Y' if searching their computer). It holds about 30 items acquired before 1980, referenced by a card index system and about another 10 acquired since, referenced on their computer system. One item which is full of interesting information is :'History of the Church and Parish of St Cuthbert' by W Sime (Session Clerk) published in 1829


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Miscellaneous Other Genealogy Resources

GENUKI information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland  www.genuki.org.uk

Cyndi's List - A comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links  www.cyndislist.com

Scotlands People - The official Scottish genealogy resource  www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

Genealogical Records search www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/searching-genealogical-records

A Guide to Genealogy - has info and lots of links

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St Cuthbert's Parish Church. 5 Lothian Road. Edinburgh. UK. EH1 2EP

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