Skirling, Peeblesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Skirling (#769)

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

History[edit | edit source]

SKIRLING, a parish, in the county of Peebles, 2 miles (E. N. E.) from Biggar. This place, of which the name, in some ancient documents written Scrawline, is of uncertain derivation, is undistinguished by any historical event prior to the reign of Robert the Bruce. The church, which is conveniently situated, is an ancient edifice; it was thoroughly repaired in 1720, is still in good condition, and adapted for a congregation of 200 persons. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[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 Skirling.  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 Skirling.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index              
1841 941.46/S2 X2m 1841
1851 941.46/S2 X2m 1851
1861 941.46/S2 X2m 1861
1881 6086640 ( 1 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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1683-1854 1067921 item 4
Marriages: 1665-1854 1067921 item 4
Deaths: 1723-1736, 1750-1794 1067921 item 4
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 also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are no entries May 1797–June1701 and March 1714–April 1718. The record for 1721–1764 is among Kirk session records and other matters. Mothers' names are not recorded until 1729.
Marriages: There are no entries February 1672–April 1690, March 1697–April 1701, November 1711–June1718, and August 1719–December 1720.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with other matters until 1765. No entries exist 1736–1750 and 1765–1783, after which burials are recorded. The record ends October 1794.
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 1654–1659, 1701–1713, 1718–1720, 1765–1853 - with gaps
Accounts 1658–1675, 1690–1697, 1701–1714
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/329.

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.


Skirling Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of the parish and most of his congregation left the Established Church at the Disruption. The congregation was well managed and built a church in 1843.
Membership: 1848, 150; 1900, 83
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.

Minutes 1849–1924
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/900.

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]

Skirling 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.

Return to the Peeblesshire parish list.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 461-467. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 February 2014.