Scottish Catholic records

Cardinal David Betoun, portrait in "Liber S. Thome de Aberbrothoc", Volume 2 (Edinburgh: 1848-56)
Cardinal David Betoun, portrait in “Liber S. Thome de Aberbrothoc”, Volume 2 (Edinburgh: 1848-56)

If you are interested in researching your Catholic ancestors in Scotland then Andrew R. Nicoll’s book “Scottish Catholic Family History: a family historian’s guide to Catholic parish registers and cemetery records for Scotland and the Bishopric of the Forces” (2011) provides a good starting point. It provides details of what records are available, where they are stored and how to access them. It also provides detailed lists of the different types of records and how to understand them, a directory and maps of Catholic parishes in Scotland and a Latin glossary to explain unfamiliar terms.

Another useful resource for locating relevant Scottish material is Michael Gandy’s “Catholic Family History: a bibliography for Scotland” (1996), which includes section headings such as Archives, the Military, Lay Societies, Local Material and Education.

Information on individuals who were priests in the church can be found in a number of published works including “Scottish secular priests 1580-1653” by Brian M. Halloran (2003); “Scottish Catholic secular clergy 1879-1989” by Christine Johnson (1991); and “Irish-born secular priests in Scotland 1829-1979” by Rev. Bernard J. Canning (1979).

The Library also holds collections of published records of individual churches or missions. Some examples include Archibald S. Maxwell’s “Register of Baptisms in Catholic congregations, of Braemar and Glengairn, Aberdeenshire, 1781-1845” (1969); “Indexes to the Baptismal and Marriage Registers of the Catholic Campsie Mission 1831-1860” by James G. Slavin (2012); and “Kingussie Church, Catholic Cemetery, Mill Road Cemetery: monumental inscriptions” (2010).

Newspapers can be a useful source of information for Catholic families. There are a number of specifically Catholic publications in the Library, including the “Scottish Catholic Observer” (1968-2016); the “Fifeshire Catholic Herald” (1919-1938); and the “Aberdeen Catholic Herald” (1936-1939).

Further information on Catholic records in Scotland can also be found at the Scottish Catholic Archives and Scotlandspeople.