Selkirkshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Guide to Selkirkshire, Scotland Genealogy ancestry, family history and genealogy parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.


History[edit | edit source]

Selkirkshire is an inland county in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by the counties of Peebles and Edinburgh, on the south by Dumfriesshire, on the east by Roxburghshire, and on the west by Peeblesshire.  It is 27 miles in length from south-west to north-east and 16 miles in breadth, comprising an area of 263 square miles or 168,320 acres. 

This county, along with Roxburgh, anciently formed part of the forest of Ettrick, which was a favorite resort of the Scottish sovereigns for the purpose of hunting. About two-thirds of the county is now the property of the Duke of Buccleuch. The county includes nine parishes. Selkirk is the county town and a royal burgh.  It also contains part of the market town of Galashiels and numerous small hamlets.

The surface of the county is mountainous.  About 10,000 acres are arable, 2300 are woodland and plantations, 1250 acres are garden and pleasure gournds, and the remainder is mountain pasture, principally for sheep.  There are no minerals to speak of.  The chief manufactures are of woollen cloth and stockings.  There are two tanneries and several establishments for making agricultural implements. 

The population of the county in 1851 was 7990.

(Source:  Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland.  2nd ed., 1851.  Family History Library book 941 E5L, 2 vols.) 

Scotlands People: An Important Online Source[edit | edit source]

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on exact record availability, see Availability. For examples of the records available, see Record Types and Examples. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a small pay per view fee to see the actual digitized record.

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Some of the Selkirkshire parish records are indexed in Selkirk, Scotland, Extracted Parish Records.

This database is a collection of historical parish registers from the county of Selkirk in the country of Scotland. The records in this collection can range in date from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. Also included are some records from non-conformist churches. You will find interesting phonetic spelling. Some of the records may be in Latin or even a Welsh or Scottish dialect. Due to the nature of the records and because the records were originally compiled by a third party, it is difficult to absolutely verify the completeness and validity of the data.

Here is a list of the historic parishes for the county of Selkirk.  Click on the parish name to see information about records.

Parish No.
Ettrick 774
Galashiels 775
Kirkhope 776
Roberton 777
Selkirk 778
Yarrow 779

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Census[edit | edit source]

The library also has a collection of census surname indexes for different places within Selkirk-shire. Click here to see a table listing these other census surname indexes that are available at the library.
Most available census records have been indexed by surname. Indexes are online at these Web sites:

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. Annual indexes are available for the whole country. See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The county of Selkirk is in the Sheriff's court of Selkirk (SC63). The Registers of Deeds for Sheriffs' courts contain much valuable information for family history research such as marriage contracts and deeds of 'disposal and settlement' (or assignment) of property, which both give names and relationships. The records are deposited at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are not indexed.

Poorhouse Records[edit | edit source]

Galashiels Combination Galashiels/

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records are those which deal with the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. In Scotland, until 1868, a person could only pass movable property such as household furniture, farm equipment, livestock, money and clothes through a document known as a 'testament.' Immovable property such as land was passed to the eldest son or heir through a document known as a 'Service of Heir,' which is not a record of probate. Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Until 1823, the parishes of Selkirkshire were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissariot Court of Peebles (CC18). Since 1823, the county has been under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Court of Selkirk (SC63).

Probate records for 1513-1901 (including inventories of goods) 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' of Selkirk (then select the county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the 'Testaments registers.'

Maps[edit | edit source]

Click here to see an outline map of the parishes of Selkirkshire.

Websites[edit | edit source]

[Return to county list.]