Sunday, 6 September 2009

From the Kirk Session Minutes

One of my favourite sources for researching Scottish family history are the minutes of the Kirk Sessions of the Church of Scotland. Many deal with discipline of the congregation. Although I do not always find what I am looking for I nearly always find something interesting.

My search this week of the minutes of Cambuslang Old Kirk Session were no exception. Although ‘guilt’, i.e. sex outside of marriage, is a staple of the Kirk Session records I think this is the first time I have come across mention of an abortion.

The original record is held by Glasgow City Archives however a digital copy can be viewed at the National Archives of Scotland under reference CH2/415/7:

Page 240

Session House, Parish Church, Cambuslang, 2nd Dec[embe]r 1878.

The Mod[erato]r reported that he had privately dealt with Marg[are]t McLachlan, now Mrs John Cunningham, residing at 80 Crownpoint Road, London Road, Glasgow, as to her alleged guilt, and, as to her having given birth to an illegitimate child. He stated that he had elicited from her a confession of her having been guilty about five years ago, which guilt had terminated in an abortion. She expressed her penitence and a desire to be taken under discipline, but by the Kirk Session of Calton where she now resides. Considering the circumstances of the case, this Kirk Session agree to transfer her to said Kirk Session for discipline, and to enable them to proceed therewith at same time to issue an extract of this minute.

Note: I was unable to find any mention of the case among the minutes of Old Calton, Glasgow Kirk Session and was not able to examine those for New Calton, Glasgow.

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