Coldingham One-Place Study

This one-place study is for Coldingham parish in Berwickshire. In the early 1990s I indexed Coldingham's mortcloth records between 1694 and 1759: about 4000 burials in total. This is useful because there is no conventional burial register for Coldingham from this period, and very few gravestones survive from back then. Fortunately the parish recorded people renting (or being given free use of) the parish mortcloths, and that's what I indexed. In the late 1990s for a university project I transcribed and studied Coldingham's baptisms between 1800 and 1819, examining the relationship between witnesses (similar to godparents) and factors such as relationship to parents, occupation, and geographical location. And I've indexed testimonials or testificates from the kirk session records, essentially certificates of good conduct needed by people moving from one parish to another. I've noted down the names of most of the people mentioned in this way in Coldingham's records between 1710 and 1744. My testificate notes are available online.

I have the full pre-1855 parish registers plus indexes of baptisms and marriages in them. However these records have generally not been transcribed, and my copy of the parish registers is in microfilm format, and therefore laborious to search. So I cannot do substantial lookups for people. You may also find what you are looking for more quickly via the indexes and digitised original images at

I can, however, quickly check my indexes for references to named couples. And I am always happy to check my 1694-1759 mortcloth index (which is also still for sale in PDF format) and my 1800-1819 baptisms database (which records witnesses as well as parents and children, and an index of these witnesses is available online). My notes for testificates or testimonials for 1710-1744 are already online. Please note the dates for each of these records. Also I cannot do blanket searches for particular surnames, except in the mortcloth index.

My list of online Coldingham resources will grow over time. For now it includes the dog tax list for 1797, the clock and watch tax list for 1797, a list of Coldingham parish masters and apprentices between 1779 and 1804, a list of prisoners from Coldingham between 1842 and 1877, and surnames per place in various decades derived from baptism registers. The one-place study also has an associated WW1 project, trying to trace more about servicemen and women from the parish. For a description of this see here. The list of servicemen and women traced so far, which will be updated over time, is here.

Looking further ahead I would like to transcribe more of the Coldingham parish registers and start to reconstruct the family population, family by family, particularly for the 18th century residents. But this is very much a long-term goal. I have not done this yet. In addition I plan to work through the kirk session minutes, as much as I am able to, recording all references of potential interest. That will be an enormous task. My interests in Coldingham parish are strongest pre 1800, so well before the census era, and it would be on the 18th century and earlier that I would be focusing.

The Coldingham one-place study now has a dedicated blog where I plan to post details of interesting new findings, new online records etc. This will be a long ongoing process.

To contact me about the Coldingham one-place study please email me at

For more information about Coldingham records from the past see the parish's GENUKI page.

For more information about one-place studies in general see the One Place Studies website.

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Vivienne S Dunstan
Last updated 2nd October 2014