Galashiels, Selkirkshire, Scotland Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Galashiels (#775)

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

History[edit | edit source]

GALASHIELS, a manufacturing town, burgh of barony, and parish, partly in the district of Melrose, county of Roxburgh, and partly in the county of Selkirk, 6 miles (N. by E.) from Selkirk, and 32 (S. S. E.) from Edinburgh. This place, which is of remote antiquity, derives its name, signifying in the British language "a full stream," from its situation on the river Gala. The parish, which includes the old parishes of Galashiels and Lindean, is bounded by the rivers Tweed, Ettrick, and Gala. The church, erected in 1813, is a good structure in the later English style of architecture, with a square embattled tower, and is adapted for a congregation of 1000 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Associate Synod, the Relief Church, Baptists, and Independents.[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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Galashiels.  Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Galashiels.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Years Surname Index           
1841 941.465/E1 X2m 1841
1851 941.465/E1 X2m 1851
1861 941.465/E1 X2m 1861
1881 6086676 ( 2 fiche )

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  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 indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

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

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1714-1854 1067925 items 2-4
Marriages: 1726-1776, 1837 1067925 items 2-4
Deaths: 1714-1781, 1831-1848 1067925 items 2-4

For earlier records see the Kirk Session records below.

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: A few irregular entries dated 1773–1803 are recorded at 1779 and likewise two pages of "Baptisms of Seceders" September 1755–1779. Irregular entries are frequent after 1790. After the record for 1819 is a draft of the portion 1739–1749.
Marriages: Record ends January 1776, except one entry for 1837. There is a draft of a duplicate of the portion 1739–1748.
Deaths: Burials; there is a draft or duplicate 1739–1750. Entries contain only names of the deceased and the record ends 1781, except five entries, 1831–1848.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

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:

Galashiels[edit | edit source]

Baptisms 1672–1690, 1693–1718 (FHL book 941.465/G1 K2mg)
Marriages 1672–1689 (same FHL book)
Burials or mortcloth records 1673-1683 (same FHL book)
Marriage proclamation register 1845–1854 (FHL book 941.465/G1 K2m)
Note: Originals available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1255.

Minutes 1692–1710, 1715–1748, 1757, 1760–1782, 1791–1835, 1835–1908
Accounts 1672–1683
Register of Processes - Discipline 1673–1689
Testimonials 1670–1687 
Communion Roll 1848–1863
Collections and Disbursements 1714–1759
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1255.

Ladhope[edit | edit source]

Trustees' Minutes 1843–1923
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/734.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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 Lists.

Galashiels Free, St. John's United Free Church[edit | edit source]

The parish minister did not "come out" in 1843, but a Free Church congregation was formed at the disruption. Supply was provided until April 1844, when the first minister was settled. The church was built in Market Square in 1844 and the manse on Abbotsford Road in 1848. A new church was erected at the foot of Lawyers Brae in 1875. Growth of the Tweed trade brought considerable expansion to the town after 1870.
Membership:1848, 200; 1900, 513.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.

Minutes 1844–92
Deacons' Court Minutes 1844–80
Accounts 1847–76
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/529.

Ladhope Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of Ladhope quoad sacra church and nearly his entire congregation "came out" in 1843. They worshiped for a time in the hall of a hotel. The church was built on Island Street, Galashiels, in 1844; and the manse in Buckholmside in 1848. A new church was built on Bridge Street in 1885.
Membership: 1848, 380; 1900, 473.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.

Minutes 1843–1952
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1847–1950
Other post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1442.

Galashiels Relief Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation originated in the end of 1836. On the 31st of October 1837, a petition was presented to the Relief Presbytery of Kelso craving that as the people of Galashiels had secured ground on which to build a church, and as they had had supply of preaching for a year, they should be organized as a congregation. The petition was granted and the church congregated on the third Sabbath of November 1837. The church was forthwith built.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Records—                                  FHL Call Number
Baptismal Register 1838–1915          Book 941.465/G1 K2m

Minutes 1836–55
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1257.

Galashiels East Church Burgher[edit | edit source]

The Rev. Gabriel Wilson of Maxton, a parish southeast of Galashiels, though maintaining his incumbency in the Established Church, built a chapel in his parish upon Independent principles. In July 1739 several of Mr. Wilson's people met to consider the Testimony emitted by the Associate Presbytery, and after mature deliberation, came to the resolution of publicly adhering to it and, as a consequence, they connected themselves with the Secession Congregation of Stow. With this congregation the Associate Seceders in and about Galashiels remained connected until the commencement of the present century, when the manufacturing interest greatly increased its population, and led them to believe that a Secession Congregation might be formed there with every prospect of success. They made application accordingly to the Presbytery to be disjoined from Stow and Selkirk, in November 1804, and formed into a separate congregation. 150 members from Selkirk and 50 from Stow were congregated the 12th of August 1805. First church was built in 1805. The second was built 1844. In 1868 this building was enlarged and improved.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.
Minutes 1845–61
Managers' Minutes 1854–81
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/920.

Galashiels Evangelical Union Church[edit | edit source]

In October 1844 thirty-four members of the church in Melrose formed the church in Galashiels, Union Street in connection with the Evangelical Union, and in the same year James B. Robertson became pastor. A church was opened for public worship in July 1846. The present church built on the same site was opened in December 1872. The congregation joined the Evangelical Union in 1864.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott. Glasgow: Congregational Union of Scotland, 1960.Family History Library British Book 941 K2es. This source contains list of ministers.

Extent of records is unknown. For further information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

Galashiels Baptist Church, Stirling Street[edit | edit source]

In 1782, three men from Galashiels were baptised and received into the membership of the Bristo Place Church in Edinburgh, though they continued to reside in Galashiels. The doctrines they held became known and their Number increased until it was deemed advisable to form a Church in Galashiels. Accordingly, in 1804 a Church was formed and elders, pastors, and deacons were called. At first the Church met for worship in what was called the Cloth Hall in the Old Town. They afterwards erected a place of worship on Overhaugh Street, which was also used as a day school during the week. In 1842 this was sold, and the Chapel on Stirling Street, with a dwelling house attached, was built. When the Church took possession of their new meeting house, there were forty members on the roll. The membership grew until it was again found necessary to increase their Chapel accommodation. Accordingly, in 1870, the present place of worship was built adjoining the old Chapel. The membership at that time was 145. As a Scotch Baptist Church, there was a plurality of pastors or elders, which was continued until 1875 when it was deemed advisable to call someone to the Pastorate who would devote his whole time to the duties of the office. On account of this decision, a number of members left and formed the sister Church of Victoria Street.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille. Glasgow: Baptist Union of Scotland, 1926. Family History Library British Book 941 K2hi Contains a lists of ministers.

See below.

Victoria Street Baptist Church[edit | edit source]

Some of the members of the Stirling Street congregation objected to the move of that church in 1875 to call a full time, University trained, pastor, which was a departure from Scotch Baptist principles. They left and formed themselves into a separate church which met in Bridge Place Hall for the first time in March of that year. Their Number increased and, finding the Hall too small, they decided to build a church in the rapidly growing Gala Park district, securing a site on Victoria Street. A plain but substantial building was opened for public worship in July 1883. The membership again increased with the addition of several new families. A hall was erected behind the church in 1903.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille. Glasgow: Baptist Union of Scotland, 1926 Family History Library British Book 941 K2hi. Source contains a list of ministers.

Extent of records is unknown. For more information write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

Galashiels Roman Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Congregation formed 1852. Church consecrated to Our Lady and St. Andrew in 1866.

Baptisms 1852–1946
Marriages 1853–1908
Note: Available online for a fee, at, Edinburgh, record RH21/78.

Galashiels Branch, Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter–Day Saints[edit | edit source]

                                           Family History Library Film Number
Record of Members,   1851     0104151 item 5

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Galashiels was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Peebles until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Selkirk.  Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at  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 Selkirk and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Peebles.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Selkirk.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Selkirk and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 458-478. Adapted. Date accessed: 28 March 2014.

Return to the Selkirkshire parish list.