Explore thousands of congregational records from all eight Scottish Catholic dioceses. Congregational records include registers of confirmations and communion recipients, as well as parish lists, seat rentals, and lists of people who converted to Catholicism.
Each result provides an image of the original record from The Scottish Catholic Archives and a transcript. The details in each transcript can vary but most will include the following:
Section and subsection
The image will usually provide additional facts about your ancestor such as the names of your ancestor’s sponsors for Confirmation or the location of your ancestors seat rental.
Congregational registers incorporate sacramental records other than those pertaining to baptisms, marriages, and burials, such as communicants (those who received Holy Communion), confirmations (those who received Holy Confirmation), sick calls (those who received the Anointing of the Sick), and first confessions (those who received Holy Reconciliation). You will also find records of people who converted to Catholicism. In many parishes, you could rent seats in the chapel for your family. The seat rental records will list the individual names, the cost of the rental, and the location of the seat. Another register type you will discover is status animarum, Latin for ‘status of the souls’. These records noted the names of all the Catholics in the area. Many include the names of head of households and the individual’s residence.
In every parish, the parish priest was responsible for record keeping. This has resulted in parishes using different formats and styles, but in most cases, the vital details are the same. From 1590, Scotland was officially a Protestant country and restrictions were placed on Catholics. The Catholic hierarchy was disestablished; however, many Catholics continued to practice their faith underground, and often the home was the centre of religious life. Laws against Catholics steadily relaxed after the 1790s and full Catholic emancipation occurred in 1829.
The official language of the Catholic Church was Latin. Therefore, many registers are recorded in the official language. We have provided a guide to common Latin words in the Useful links and resources. Findmypast has applied a Latin dictionary to the name search, which will search for both the English and Latin version of a name. For example, a search for the name Patrick will return results for the Latin form Patricius.
Begin your search broadly with just a name.
If needed, you can narrow your results by including additional search criteria such as a year or place.