Saturday, 7 September 2019

FindmyPast clarifies source info for Scottish Catholic records

Yesterday I blogged that FindmyPast ( had updated its Scottish Catholic collections, but that no source information was present. With Catholic records also available on ScotlandsPeople, I was unclear if this was a further release from some other source, or the same collection, or an extension of material from the same source. Following my blog post I contacted FindmyPast and had an interesting exchange, where I was initially advised that if I looked at the transcripts, it would tell me that the source was the Bishops Conference of Scotland, of which the Scottish Catholic Archives is an agency. I replied that not having a current subscription, such info is not immediately accessible, and suggested that the main search pages should perhaps be updated instead.

I've just noticed that FindmyPast has now seemingly taken note of my suggestion, and has now updated the pages to reflect the source info, as follows:

Discover more about these records

This extensive collection of Roman Catholic marriages in Scotland consists of marriages from all eight Scottish dioceses: Aberdeen, Argyll & The Isles, Dunkeld, Galloway, Glasgow, Motherwell, St Andrews & Edinburgh, and Paisley. However, the collection is not exhaustive and does contain gaps. The following counties are missing from the records: Shetland, Berwickshire, Kincross, and Clackmannan. You can access greater detail about the parishes available in the Scottish Roman Catholic records in the Scotland Roman Catholic parish list available in the Useful links and resources section.

The sacramental records are provided by The Scottish Catholic Archives. Records begin as early as 1736 and continue until 1942. Due to data protection restrictions, we will only publish records which are more than 75 years old. Record keeping was the responsibility of the parish priest; therefore, the amount of detail recorded and the standard of registers can vary between parishes.

In 1538, the Roman Catholic Church was disestablished as the state religion in Scotland. This was the beginning of centuries of persecution and discrimination against Catholics. The practice of the Catholic faith was banned, and Catholics were excluded from public life. However, in spite of these restrictions, many retained their Catholic faith and practices. In 1694, Bishop Thomas Nicolson was appointed the first vicar-apostolic of Scotland by Pope Innocent X. The Bishop laid new foundations for the Catholic Church in Scotland. In 1793, The Relief Act lifted the restrictions on Catholic worship in chapels and granted permission for Catholics to own and inherit land. Full Catholic emancipation culminated in 1829 with the removal of the remaining restrictions against Catholics, such as taking a seat in Westminster. 

That's a bit more like it! Individual parishes are selectable from the relevant drop down menu option.

(With thanks to FindmyPast)

Update: there is a stil an error in there - the Scottish Reformation was in 1560, not 1538! Have emailed them again...


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sorting that out; I'm often frustrated by the lack of full info on some of the databases. Often the title is very misleading.