Glasgow High Kirk Baptisms 1609-1777

We have a new dataset of Glasgow High Kirk baptisms 1609-1777. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Dr Arthur Jamieson, founding Chairman of GWSFHS, transcribed the Glasgow High Church Baptism registers (OPR 644/1).   His work contains a full transcription, including Godparents/Witnesses and their occupations where they occur. Until now, these transcripts were available only typescript on paper.

The Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) independently indexed the original volumes; their index is the origin of the indexes on ScotlandsPeople, Ancestry and FindMyPast.  Dr Jamieson’s transcription and these indexes differ – the transcription has more attributes, and Dr Jamieson might have interpreted the handwriting differently. Consequently, having another and earlier interpretation is very valuable.

Images of the original registers are available to purchase online at ScotlandsPeople. We hold microfilms of these registers in our Library which you may view for free (we charge non-members a small fee for access to our Library). We are able to print pages from these microfilms.

David Hart recompiled and uploaded this data for our society. To date (6 September 2022) the years 1609-1635 have been loaded; we will load more years when they are ready. The dataset is available in the member only area of our website.

Image of a page of OPR 644/1 used with kind permission of the National Records of Scotland. Crown copyright.

Notes for users

Handwriting from the 17th and early 18th centuries is based on secretary hand with many strange letter forms and contractions, by the mid 1700’s more familiar italic handwriting has taken over.   The long ‘s’ which looks like an ‘f with no through stroke, a dropped ‘h’ which goes below the line, and ‘y’ or thorn as in ye=the and yt=that, are seen, with many other letter form differences, along with abbreviations which can make reading difficult.   The format of entries is similar, once you have cracked one, others are more easily deciphered.   Some problems with indexing also arise because spelling was not standardised and you will often see the same word spelt differently in the same sentence.   Numerals for dates may be entered using roman numerals.

Care should be taken with dates at the beginning/end of the year.   In 1582 much of Catholic Europe changed the beginning of the year from 25 March to 1 January, and from Julian to Gregorian Calendar (dropping 10 days, and 3 leap centuries), but not in Scotland or England.   Scotland decided to start the year from 1 January from 1600 but not change calendar.   For many years following, dates in January, February and March were written with double year 1606/5 for new/old style, particularly for any communication with England.   It was only in 1752 that the whole of Britain changed to Gregorian calendar (dropping 11 days), and England moved the start of year to 1 Jan (this left behind 5th April as the end of our financial year!).

Where the mother is recorded she will retain her maiden surname even after marriage, as in other Scottish records until recent times; the child of a married couple will be described as ‘lawful’, ‘lau’, ‘laul’, otherwise the child will be ‘natural’.

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