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 1918. Entries for the years that follow will be added on an annual basis. The database currently contains 27,041 entries.

Registers of Extract Decrees

Completely indexed registers:

Aberdeen 1834-1837, 1875 (2 cases only), 1903-1918
Airdrie 1846-1918
Ayr 1837-1918
Dornoch 1855-1869 Dumfries 1793-1801, 1830-1918
Duns 1830-1918
Falkirk 1841-1918
Greenock 1874-1877, 1881-1918
Haddington 1829-1918
Hamilton 1845-1918
Hawick 1894-1918
Jedburgh 1748-1753, 1831-1892
Leith 1831-1850, 1887-1918
Lochmaddy 1890-1918
Kirkcudbright 1748-1765, 1830-1918 (excluding the years 1877-78, 1890-91 and 1907-09 which are missing from the original register)
Lanark 1842-1918
Linlithgow 1860-1918
Paisley 1830-1918
Peebles 1837-1918
Portree 1887-1918
Selkirk 1751-1757, 1782-1793 and 1830-1918
Stonehaven 1832-1869
Stranraer 1887-1918
Wigtown 1830-1918

Indexing in progress (showing years indexed so far):

Edinburgh 1830-1901
Inverness 1837-1850
Kilmarnock 1850-1889

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


Completely indexed series:

Falkirk 1850-1917 Lochmaddy 1895-1917 Stranraer 1849-1917

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

Aberdeen 1752, 1761-1762, 1802, 1811, 1817, 1820-1822, 1830, 1836-1837, 1856-1859, 1900-1917
Airdrie 1857-1861, 1913-1917
Ayr 1912-1917
Dornoch 1915-1917
Dumfries 1796-1815, 1834-1835, 1844-1846, 1850-1853, 1857, 1911-1917
Duns 1798-1800, 1914-1917
Edinburgh 1788, 1808-1809, 1819, 1829-1860
Greenock 1912-1917
Haddington 1825-1917
Hamilton 1857, 1912-1917
Jedburgh 1822-1917
Kirkcudbright 1817-1830, 1835-1836, 1850-1857, 1915-1917
Lanark 1847-1849, 1915-1917
Leith 1916-1917
Linlithgow 1860-1917
Paisley 1914-1917
Peebles 1915-1917
Selkirk 1844, 1860-1917
Stonehaven 1861-1917
Wigtown 1825-1830, 1837-1847, 1915-1917

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