Course details

Scotland 1750-1850 - Beyond the Old Parish Registers (302)


Tutor: Chris Paton


This is an intermediate level course in Scottish family history for those who are going back beyond 1850. You should have some experience with research in the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) of the Church of Scotland and in using major websites for Scottish research.

This course discusses sources that fill the gap when the OPRs are uninformative or missing, such as the kirk session and presbytery courts records generated by the Kirk (Church of Scotland), as well as the records of dissenting and seceding Presbyterian congregations. From the forerunners of Scotlands modern towns and cities are the administrative records of the burghs, and the trades incorporations and merchant guilds, as well as other professions, which can enhance our understanding of our ancestors lives. And in the final two lessons the course turns up a notch and tackles two areas where the Scottish records, as generated through the feudal system, are truly unique, namely the various registers of land records known as sasines, and the separate legal processes in Scotland for the inheritance of both moveable and heritable estate.

Whilst some of the records discussed in the course are available online, many are available only in the archives, or in private hands, and a strong focus of this course will be in how to successfully employ the relevant catalogues and finding aids to locate such treasures.

Whilst not compulsory, it is strongly recommended that you complete the Pharos course Scottish Research Online before studying Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers, as it will be assumed that you are already familiar with the more basic resources available online for Scottish ancestral research.

Lesson Headings:
  • * Kirk Sessions records and parish poor
  • * Burgh records and town poor
  • * Occupations, taxation and early lists
  • * Land transfer and the value of sasines
  • * Land, inheritance and estates

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

A short video introduction to the course by tutor Chris Paton is available HERE

STUDENTS SAID: "Great subject-matter and excellent tutor/written materials. It could not have been better."

"Very clear explanations of terminology and legal processes. Really helpful exercises and comprehensive list of useful catalogues and other references. Chat sessions very helpful and engaging"

Relevant Countries: Scotland

Course Length: 5 Weeks
Start Date: 17 Oct 2022
Cost: £58.00


Start Date: 08 May 2023
Cost: £58.00


Start Date: 16 Oct 2023
Cost: £58.00

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