Fala and Soutra, Midlothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #686

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Fala & Soutra. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.

History[edit | edit source]

FALA and SOUTRA, a parish, partly in the county of Haddington, but chiefly in that of Edinburgh containing, with part of the village of Faladam, 8½ miles (S. E.) from Dalkeith. The name of Fala is derived from Fah, in the Anglo-Saxon, "speckled," and law, the description of hill upon which the church stands: Soutra signifies "the hamlet with a prospect." The church, which is pleasantly seated on an eminence overlooking the village, is a plain and unpretending edifice, affording accommodation to 250 persons. There is a place of worship for Burghers.[1]

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records
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A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Fola & Soutra as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records
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The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1673-1853 1067751 items 7-8
Marriages: 1675-1686, 1697-1847 1067751 items 7-8
Deaths: 1829-1852 - burials 1067751 items 7-8
Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland. 

Births: The record prior to 1689 is very much wasted and a large number of the entries are almost illegible. There are no entries August 1689–September 1697 and they are incomplete 1701–1706. Entries inserted on the margin of the register are frequent after 1753 and mothers’ names are not recorded until 1697.
Marriages: Except for two pages with entries for June 1675–June 1686 which are very much wasted and partially illegible, there is no record until November 1697. There are no entries May 1701–December 1706, May 1763–October 1769, June 1772–May 1775, September 1780–February 1782 and only four entries March 1785–May 1801.
Deaths: There is no record until 1829.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1715–1937
Accounts 1674–1765
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/148.

Nonconformist Church Records
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A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Fala United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

The Secession congregation of Fala was formed in 1783 by members of the congregation of Stow and of the First Secession congregation of Dalkeith, resident in the parishes of Borthwick, Cranston, Crichton, Heriot, and Fala who, on account of dissatisfaction with the Established Church and the great distance from other Secession congregations, applied to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh to be disjoined and formed into a separate congregation. Supply of sermon was first granted in 1779 and there was strong opposition to the movement by the congregations from which the petitioners asked to be disjoined. Fala was chosen as the seat of the congregation because it was most central to the majority of persons taking part in the formation of it. A church was built in 1786.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Session Minutes 1779–1795, 1834–1937
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/126.

Civil Registration Records
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Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records
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Fala & Soutra were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburg until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Edinburgh. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Midlothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Midlothian.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Midlothian and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 411-428. Adapted. Date accessed: 11 April 2014.

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