10.7 million new Scottish records added to FindMyPast

29 July 2021
Findmypast have today announced the addition of 10.7 million new records to their database, creating the largest collection of Scottish family history records available online.

Findmypast has today (29 July) announced the publication of a vast new online collection of Old Parish Registers, in collaboration with local archives and organisations across Scotland.  

Dating back to 1561 and spanning 450 years of Scottish history, the new collection contains more than 10.7 million historical documents chronicling baptisms, marriages, burials and more. This resource will allow family historians across the globe to uncover rare details of their ancestor’s lives and the stories behind major life events.  

This new resource is the result of Findmypast’s collaboration with local family history societies, archives and volunteers from across the country. It brings together a wide variety of important historical records, many of which were previously inaccessible to public and are now fully searchable in new ways for the first time.  

Find your Scottish ancestors

The collection includes records that not only reveal vital information on Scottish ancestors, but also provide valuable insights into parish life, including:

  • Records of non-conformist churches including the Episcopal, Free Church, United Free Church and more, fully indexed and searchable for the very first time 
  • Newly-published 20th century records (current online collections stop at 1855) that provide vital details of more recent ancestors, allowing users to uncover the details of previous generations and trace their family tree back from there 
  • Rare “Irregular Marriages” from Kirk Sessions (those not officially recorded by the parish registers and conducted without a ceremony) 
  • Mortcloth rentals, records of deceased Scots who were too poor to afford a proper burial, having to the hire the cloth that was placed over their coffin, or where original records no longer survive
  • “Ringings of the burial bell”, records of those too poor to even afford a mortcloth rental so instead paid for a ringing of the church bell in their memory 

The new resource is the result of a collaborative project between Findmypast and volunteers at 9 Scottish local and national family history societies, including:

  • The Scottish Genealogy Society
  • Fife Family History Society
  • The Highland Family History Society
  • Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society
  • Renfrewshire Family History Society
  • Lothians Family History Society
  • Lanarkshire Family History Society
  • Glasgow & West of Scotland Family History Society
  • West Lothian Family History Society

Names, dates, locations, the names of parent’s, spouses, children and other biographical details such as occupations, residences and more were transcribed and then digitally converted thanks to the hard work of hundreds of Scottish family historians.

Some of Scotland’s most renowned sons and daughters can be found within the collection, including fathers of nations, inventors and innovators, forgotten figures and much more. 

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Myko Clelland, Regional Licensing & Outreach Manager at Findmypast said: “We are honoured to work with such a large number of outstanding organisations to make Scottish family history accessible worldwide. This has enabled Findmypast to not only illuminate the lives of influential Scots who have played pivotal roles in history, but also tell the stories of ordinary and often overlooked people who, through centuries of effort, have shaped the world we now live in and are responsible for everything we know and love as Scotland today.”

Forgotten figures

Scipio Kennedy, a enslaved person taken as a child from Guinea in West Africa and brought to Scotland in 1702. Purchased at the age of five or six by Captain Andrew Douglas of Mains, Scipio served as an enslaved person under his daughter, Jean, the wife of Sir John Kennedy, 2nd Baronet of Culzean in Ayrshire.

Scipio Kennedy's grave

He was granted his freedom in 1725, but continued to work for the Kennedy family and was given land on the estate. In 1728, Scipio was recorded as having fathered a daughter, Elizabeth, “by fornication” with Margaret Gray. Scipio married Margaret later that year and baptism records reveal the couple had a further seven children, and is known to have descendants living today.

Early feminist, socialist, abolitionist and social reformer, Frances Wright – baptised in Dundee in 1795, she became a US citizen in 1825 and founded the Nashoba Commune in Tennessee, a utopian community designed to prepare enslaved people for eventual emancipation. Throughout her life, Wright campaigned for universal education, the emancipation of enslaved people, birth control, equal rights, sexual freedom, rights for married women, and liberal divorce laws. She was also vocal in her opposition to both organized religion and capital punishment and her radical views were constantly attacked by the press and members of the clergy. 

To access the Scottish collection, visit FindMyPast. Please note that access to the collection requires membership of FindMyPast. 

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