Did your Catholic ancestor get married in Scotland? Explore thousands of Roman Catholic sacramental registers, and discover your ancestor’s wedding location and date, as well as the names of those who witnessed the occasion.
The results will comprise both an image of the original matrimonial registers and a transcript of the key facts. The amount of detail in each transcript will vary depending on the age of the document (later records tend to include more details) and the condition of the record (some records may have been damaged over the centuries). You may find a combination of the following facts in the transcript:
Alias – most records recorded the individual’s name in the Latin form. The alias field provides the name the individual commonly used.
Spouse’s name and alias
Section and subsection
We recommend that you look at the original image. The images can reveal additional details about your ancestor’s wedding such as the names of the witnesses, the name of the priest who performed the ceremony, and the couple’s place of residence.
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.
Latin was the official language of the Catholic Church. Many of the marriage registers were recorded in the Latin language. To help you read the sacramental registers, here are a few of the commonly used words you may come across. Also, we have added a guide to Latin words and phrases in the Useful links and resources.
Anno Domino – year of Our Lord
Die mensis – day of month
Filium / Filiam - son or daughter
Matrimonium – the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or marriage
Nomina parentum – the names of parents
Observanda – observations or notes
Praesntibus testibus – their presence as witnesses