Coverage - Sheriff Court Paternity Case Index

We would like to begin this section by telling you about our wonderful volunteer Margaret Hamilton! Margaret has been working tirelessly to index these valuable records. We have a large number of clients who tell us that these records have helped them break down a brick wall that they have had for years. Not only do these records help you trace your Scottish genealogy they also help you understand your ancestors and can lead to the discovery of precious items such as long lost love letters! (See our Learning Zone to find out more about that!) We would also like to thank Scottish genealogist Kirsty Wilkinson who has kindly supplied details of a number of court processes from several Scottish sheriff courts.

This record set contains paternity cases (known as "actions of affiliation and aliment") heard before the Sheriff Courts. We have also included a few other cases of genealogical interest, such as aliment cases where no children were involved (for example when a wife was deserted by her husband), and also 'breach of promise to marry' cases. The main bulk of the data has been indexed from the 'Registers of Extracted Decrees', which for most Sheriff Courts are complete from about the 1830s-1840s onwards. Not all cases resulted in an extracted decree, so we have also gradually begun indexing cases found in the processes, or original case papers, for some Sheriff Courts. For privacy reasons, our index does not go beyond the year 1917. Entries for the years that follow will be added on an annual basis. The database currently contains 25,621 entries.

Registers of Extract Decrees

Completely indexed registers:

Aberdeen 1834-1837, 1875 (2 cases only), 1903-1917
Airdrie 1846-1917
Ayr 1837-1917
Dumfries 1793-1801, 1830-1917
Duns 1830-1917
Greenock 1874-1877, 1881-1917
Haddington 1829-1917
Hamilton 1845-1917
Hawick 1894-1917
Leith 1831-1850, 1887-1917
Jedburgh 1748-1753, 1831-1892
Kirkcudbright 1748-1765, 1830-1917 (excluding the years 1877-78, 1890-91 and 1907-09 which are missing from the original register)
Lanark 1842-1917
Linlithgow 1860-1917
Paisley 1830-1917
Peebles 1837-1917
Selkirk 1751-1757, 1782-1793 and 1830-1917
Stonehaven 1832-1869
Stranraer 1887-1917
Wigtown 1830-1917

Indexing in progress (showing years indexed so far):

Edinburgh 1830-1900
Falkirk 1853-1862 Inverness 1842-1850
Kilmarnock 1850-1883

Click here to begin searching the Sheriff Court Paternity Case Index.


Completely indexed series:

Stranraer 1849-1916.

Indexing in progress (showing approximate years covered so far):

Aberdeen 1752, 1761-1762, 1802, 1811, 1817, 1820-1822, 1830, 1836-1837, 1856-1859, 1900-1916
Airdrie 1857-1861, 1913-1916
Ayr 1912-1916
Dumfries 1796-1815, 1834-1835, 1844-1846, 1850-1853, 1857, 1911-1916
Duns 1914-1916
Edinburgh 1788, 1808-1809, 1819, 1829-1860
Greenock 1912-1916
Haddington 1825-1916
Hamilton 1912-1916
Jedburgh 1822-1916
Kirkcudbright 1817-1830, 1836, 1850-1854, 1915-1916
Lanark 1847-1849, 1915-1916
Leith 1916
Linlithgow 1860-1916
Paisley 1914-1916
Peebles 1915-1916
Selkirk 1844, 1860-1916
Stonehaven 1861-1916
Wigtown 1825-1830, 1837-1847, 1915-1916

Click here to begin searching the Sheriff Court Paternity Case Index.