Peebles, Peeblesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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

History[edit | edit source]

PEEBLES, a burgh, market-town, and parish, in the county of Peebles, of which it is the capital 21 miles (S.) from Edinburgh. The town is beautifully situated on the north bank of the Tweed, and at the mouth of the stream called the Peebles water, which here falls into that river: the older portion of it is on the west, and the more modern portion, called the New Town, on the east, side of the Peebles water. The church, a substantial edifice of stone, was erected in 1784, and is adapted for a congregation of 850 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, for the Associate Synod, the Relief Church, and Episcopalians.[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 Peebles.  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 Lanark.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index          
1851 CD-ROM no. 1850
1861 6205865
1881 6086616 ( 41 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 ea

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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1622-1659 1067919 item 6
1660-1819 1067920
1819-1854 1067921 items 1-3
Marriages: 1628-1659 1067919 item 6
1660-1820 1067920
1820-1854 1067921 item 1-3
Deaths: 1628-1659 1067919 item 6
1660-1688 1067920
1687-1712, 1742-1847 1067921 items 1-3
Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Indexed: 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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index. 

Births: Except 1660–1668 mothers' names are rarely recorded until 1742.
Marriages: Marriages are intermixed with deaths until December 1659. September records were kept from 1660. No entries August 1715–April 1716, December 1731–December 1739, and June1712–February 1742. There is a draft or duplicate of the portion April 1750–May 1772, after the record for August 1776.
Deaths: Burials are intermixed with marriages until December 1659. The records are separate from 1660.
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:

Old Peebles:  
                                                        FHL Film Number
Kirk Session Records                                              0599522 item 3
Proclamations of Marriages     1794–1802                  0599522 item 3
Baptisms 1                            1816–1819                  0599522 item 3
Minutes 1657–1678, 1691–1753, 1763–1921
Heritors' Minutes 1813–1815
Cash Books 1793–1802
Proclamations of Marriage 1794–1802, 1803–1822, 1825–1893
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/420.

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.

Peebles Free Church[edit | edit source]

Although the minister of the parish remained with the Established Church in 1843, a group of parish members adhered to the Free Church. This group joined with others from surrounding parishes to form a new congregation, and a minister was settled in October 1843. They had their own building in School Brae by 1845 and in 1872 built a new church in Eastgate.
Membership: 1848, 151; 1900, 353
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Records—                                                                   FHL Film Number
Free Presbytery Minutes       1843–1857         1482997 item 1
Deacons' Court Minutes 1844–1885
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/44 and 396.

Peebles First Secession Presbyterian Church, extinct[edit | edit source]

In 1742, when an unpopular minister was settled in the parish of Manor, adjoining Peebles, several of the parishioners left the Established Church and joined the Secession Congregations of Stow and West Linton. In 1747, many of the Seceders from the parishes of Manor, Peebles, and Eddleston adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod and helped to form the congregation of Howgate. However, the location of the church became inconvenient for part of the congregation who then petitioned the Associate Anti-burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon in 1750. In 1754 a minister was settled in Howgate, and residents in the area of Peebles formed a separate congregation which met in various places until in 1755 they built a church in Peebles. Although their minister resigned in 1837, they continued to receive supply of sermon for a time, but it was ultimately withdrawn. The property was sold, and the congregation became extinct.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Extent of the records is unknown.

East Church, Leckie Associate Burgher Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Before 1790 this congregation was preached to twice yearly at Peebles. In 1790, they applied to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh for supply of sermon, which was granted. The church opened in 1791.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

                                                         FHL Film Number
Session Minutes         1793–1812        1886231 items 2–3
Managers' Minutes      1789–1847        1886231 items 2–3
Cash Book                 1790–1816         1886235 items 1–3
Minutes                      1812–1859        1886235 items 1–3

West Church Relief Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

This congregation began in 1827 when several residents of Peebles who were dissatisfied with their minister applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh. They built a church in 1828.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Session Minutes 1829–1876
Communion Roll, 1830–1876
Management Committee Minutes 1827–1883, 1827–1850
Cash Book 1827–1904
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/397.

Peebles, St. Joseph's Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

A domestic chapel was located at Traquair House from the 17th century, but there are no known registers. In 1850 a congregation was started at Peebles and a church consecrated to St. Joseph.

Baptisms 1850–1863
Note: Available online for a fee, at, Edinburgh, record RH21/81.

Prison Records[edit | edit source]

A transcription index has been published by Maxwell Ancestry (of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire) of the following:

  • Peebles Prison Register, 1848-1862    (FHL book 941.46/P1 J62m)

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Peebles was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Peebles until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Peebles.  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 Peebles 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 Peebles.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Peebles 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. 337-351. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 February 2014.

Return to the Peebleshire parish list.