Kirknewton and East Calder, Midlothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #690

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

History[edit | edit source]

KIRKNEWTON and EAST CALDER, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh, 10½ miles (W. S. W.) from Edinburgh. These two ancient parishes, which were united about the year 1750, on the erection of the present church, are bounded on the north by the river Almond, and on the south by the Water of Leith. The church is a plain substantial structure, containing 430 sittings, and conveniently situated nearly in the centre of the parish. There are some remains of the ancient churches of East Calder and Kirknewton, of which the churchyards are still used as places of interment. The United Secession have a meeting-house.[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 your parish of interest. 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 census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Kirknewton & East Calder, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

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 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: 1642-1764, 1642-1712 - baptisms 1067762

1712-1764, 1766-1819 - baptisms 1067763 items 1-3

1785-1820, 1820-1854 - baptisms 1067763 items1-3
Marriages: 1699-1738, 1750-1856 1067762

1704-1761, 1773-1792, 1816-1854 1067763 items 1-3
Deaths: 1699-1739 1067762

1708-1747, 1829-1854 - burials 1067763 items 1-3
Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Indexed: For an index to these records, see the Scottish church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.  
Births: Kirknewton: Births are intermixed with marriages and deaths (burials) prior to 1682. There are no entries August 1682–June 1699, September 1722–January 1726, January 1737–December 1750, and March 1757–January 1762. A separate record ends July 1764 and records for the United Parish begin January 1766. There is a duplicate of the portion, 1786–1808. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1750.
East Calder: The record prior to 1724 is a copy. There are no entries November 1727–January 1732 and a separate record ends October 1764.
Marriages: Kirknewton: There are no entries June 1682–July 1699 or June 1738–December 1750. A separate record ends November 1756. There are no entries except two, November 1756–June 1774, when the united record begins. There are no entries August 1792–August 1816.
East Calder: There are only a few transcribed entries of irregular marriages until May 1724. There are no entries except two, July 1726–April 1728, June 1738–August 1740, and December 1744–June 1759. A separate record ends November 1761.
Deaths: Kirknewton: There are burials until November 1679 and then no entries until June 1699. After which there are Mortcloth Dues.
East Calder: Records are transcribed entries of Mortcloth Dues, etc.
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:

Minutes 1646–1655, 1663–1688, 1691–1720, 1751–1757, 1762–1764, 1788–1957
Baptisms 1722, 1855–1946
Cash Book 1775–1801, 1846–1869
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/412.

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 List.

East Calder Associate Burgher Church[edit | edit source]

In 1744, there were 33 members of the congregation of Bristo Street, Edinburgh, resident in East Calder. In 1775, these or their survivors applied to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of separate sermon. A church was built the following year and a second church was built in 1805.
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.

Records Years FHL Film Number
Baptisms from session minutes 1777-1802, 1810 0559522 item 8 X
Session minutes 1777-1826
Scroll minutes 1777-1808, 1826-1883
Congregational minutes 1777-1884
Cash book 1842-1871
Communion roll 1836-1943

Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/349.

The X means the records have been extracted.

Also see Ratho Parish.

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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Kirknewton and East Calder were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Edinburgh. 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 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.

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  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 98-121. Adapted. Date accessed: 11 April 2014.

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