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Effective research in church records requires some understanding of your ancestor’s religion and the events that led to the creation of church records.
The following major events affected Scottish church history and records:
'''1552''' Roman Catholic parishes are ordered to keep a register of baptisms and banns of marriage.
'''1560'''Protestantism is established and the authority of the pope abolished.
'''1592''' The Presbyterian Church is formally established.
'''1600''' Scotland changes from using the Julian calendar to using the Gregorian calendar .
'''1610''' James VI establishes the Episcopal Church.
'''1638''' The Episcopal Church is abolished by the General Assembly of Presbyterians at Glasgow. Although the government did not recognize this move, Episcopalians were persecuted. They sometimes hid or destroyed their registers or did not keep them at all.
'''1640''' An estimated five percent of the parishes of the Presbyterian Church are keeping records by this date.
'''1641''' Charles I and the English Parliament acknowledge the Presbyterian Church in Scotland.
'''1661''' The Episcopal Church is reestablished under Charles II.
'''1690''' The Presbyterian Church is permanently restored and becomes the Church of Scotland.
'''1700s''' During the eighteenth century, particularly after 1730, many nonconformist groups form. Many preachers come from England, but they usually keep only personal records of conversions, and many conversions are not recorded locally. Prominent among these groups are the Baptists, Methodists, and Congregationalists (Independents).
'''1733''' Four ministers break away from the Presbyterian Church and set up the Secession Church.
'''1745''' The Secession Church divides. The new denomination is known as the Anti-Burgers Church.
'''1752''' Three ministers secede from the Presbyterian Church and form the Relief Church. By 1790, this church has about 150,000 members. The Relief Church keeps its own records.
'''1783''' The government imposes a tax on every christening, marriage, and burial entry recorded in church records, causing many entries not to be registered.
'''1792'''The laws against Episcopalians are repealed, allowing them to worship and keep records.
'''1820''' Parishes are required to keep register books.
'''1829'''Roman Catholics are permitted by law to buy and inherit property and keep records.
'''1843''' Ministers break away from the Presbyterian Church and form the Free Church.
'''1847''' The Secession and Relief Churches combine to form the United Presbyterian Church. At that time, the Free Church had five million members, and the United Presbyterian Church had two million members.
For more information on church history or the history of a particular denomination, see the [[Scotland Church Records|Scotland Church Records]] page or look in the [http://webview/supermainframeset.asp?display=start Family History Library Catalog] under:
=== Parish Histories ===
Histories written about individual parishes can provide information on the:
* Parish* The churches within the parish* Schools* The population of the parish.
Histories of parishes are found in the wiki. Go to the [[Scotland Old Counties pre 1974 and New Counties post 1974|Scotland Old Counties]] pages, click on the link for your county of interest, then click on the link for your parish of interest.
The following book contains brief parish histories:
* ''Statistical Accounts of Scotland.'' Wakerfield, England: EP Publishing Limited, [197?]. (FHL book 941 B4sa.) This work has three series covering different time periods.
For other parish histories, look in the Family History Library Catalog under:
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