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Civil registration began in Scotland in 1855. ( Read more about 1855s). Prior to that, events such as birth, marriages, and burials, were penned into a parish register, which we now call Old Parish Records, or OPRs. Unlike civil registration records, where certain standards were uniform and consistent throughout all counties, an OPR record can be as individual as the recorder. Within the same register, spanning several generations of records, you may encounter many different cleric's handwriting. The entry reflects the man who registered it. It can be orderly, easy to read, or it may be a spiky illegible mess. A man who likes details may add particulars about the death, while conversely a man who hates writing in the book may forget to record the death all together. You may find a birth with no forename, as perhaps the parent's weren't ready with a name, or the cleric forgot it and thought he'd remember later. Two hundred years later you'll look at that entry with a tantalising space where the forename should be and you'll sigh. The rule of thumb for OPRs is that there are no rules. Years may be missing, handwriting may be a joy to read or not.
Genuki's Wigtownshire-specific pages offer the Detailed List of the Old Parochial Registers of Scotland - Wigtownshire parishes, which includes an extraction from the New Statistical Account (1840's), detailing the state of each particular parish's records.
Alex Bell has compiled a list of nominal dates of coverage for the Wigtownshire oprs. To go to Nominal Dates of Coverage, [click here].
Some of the death records for Wigtownshire have been transcribed by volunteers for the Wigtownshire Pages. The following have been transcribed:
Kirkcolm : Death register, 1796-1854.
Kirkmaiden: Death register, 1779-1854
Leswalt : Death Register, 1815-1843
Penninghame: All the oprs, courtesy of J. McLay, 1695-1820
Portpatrick : Death Register, 1783-1818
Stoneykirk, Death Register, 1778-1797, and 1839-1854
Films can be viewed at The General Register Office of Scotland. Alternatively, you may order a film through the LDS, and view it at a Family History Center. The Scottish Genealogy Society in Edinburgh allows non-members to use the facilities, a view the OPR films, at their Library and Family History Center.
|Sample Extract from Register of Births and Baptisms|
|Below are samples from the Registers of Birth and Baptism for the parish of Stoneykirk and parish of Penninghame. Click on the link below if you want to see a much larger version of the image. Remember, larger images take much longer to load|
|1695 Extract from Register of Births and Baptisms, Penninghame Parish|
|1790 Extract from Register of Births and Baptisms for Stoneykirk Parish|
|Sample of Banns & Marriage Entries|
|Below are samples from Registers of Proclamation and Marriages for the parishes of Stoneykirk and Kirkmaiden. Click on the links below if you want to see a much larger version of the image. Remember, larger images take much longer to load|
|1757 Parish of Stoneykirk, extract from the Register of Proclamation of Banns & Marriages|
|1813 Parish of Stoneykirk, extract from the Register of Proclamation of Banns & Marriages|
|1839 Parish of Kirkmaiden, extract from the Register of Proclamation of Banns & Marriages|
|Kirkmaiden Parish, Death Register Samples|
|Below are four samples taken from the Kirkmaiden death registers, representing entries from 1725, 1742, 1782 and 1803. Here is a prime example of the differences within the same parish registers for clarity, handwriting, & amount of information offered. To see a page with larger samples, [click here].|
|Year 1725||Year 1742|
|Year 1782||Year 1805|
An OPR film is not an index, but a filmed copy of the actual register. Usually the facility in which you are
viewing the film has a copying service. If you are using ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk., you will be able to purchase
the extract online.