What the records contain1
The Scottish Reformation saw the introduction of a new system to run church affairs: the General Assembly, synods, presbyteries, and kirk sessions. Presbyterians who later broke away from the Kirk also adopted a church court system.
The records created by church courts are very useful for family history, local history and academic research. Of most interest for genealogists and local historians are the minutes of the kirk sessions, which typically contain a detailed and often colourful record of the discipline the minister and kirk elders handed out to errant parishioners for offences such as drunkenness, swearing, breaking the Sabbath, quarrelling and sexual misdemeanours. Other records include proclamations of banns, communion rolls, seat rent books and poor relief accounts.
Deposited in the NRS in 1960, church court records are cared for by the NAS and by local archives under charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. They include the records of secession church congregations which rejoined the Church of Scotland.
The repository of the Ardchattan Kirk Sessions are
archival : http://www.nas.gov.uk/about/101101.asp
Local archive access in Scotland
Until now researchers in many parts of Scotland have found it difficult to travel to the archive where the records are physically held. Now for the first time the NRS and many local archives are combining to offer a service that researchers can use to get access to records from across Scotland. The service is being rolled out from November 2010, and it is hoped that more than a dozen local archives will be places where digital copies of the records can be consulted, in addition to the NRS itself.
The following archives currently offer the service in their search rooms:
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives: Aberdeen
Ayrshire Archives: Auchincruive, Ayr
Ayrshire Archives: Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock,
Highland Council Archives: Archive and Registration Service, Inverness
Highland Council Archives: Lochaber Archive Centre, Fort William
Highland Council Archives: Caithness Archive Centre, Wick
Orkney Library and Archive: Kirkwall
Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre: Hawick
Shetland Islands Council Archives: Lerwick
Stirling Council Archives: Stirling
Please contact the relevant archive (using the links on the left side of this page) for details of opening times and access.