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Roman Catholic Churches in 19th Century Glasgow, Scotland

Updated on September 8, 2012

Resources for Roman Catholic Church Records

Archdiocese of Glasgow
196 Clyde Street
Glasgow G1 4JY

Scottish Catholic Archives
Columba House
16 Drummond Place
Edinburgh EH3 6PL

ScotlandsPeople Centre
HM General Register House
2 Princes Street
Edinburgh EH1 3YY

Scotlands People
Official Government website for ScotlandsPeople Centre. Search and view records online.

The National Archives

A Guide to the Catholic records held by the National Archives.

History of Roman Catholics in Glasgow.

If your search to discover your family ancestry has led you to Glasgow, Scotland and more specifically Roman Catholics in 19th century Glasgow, then this article will provide you with the information you need to begin your search.

Civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on January 1, 1855. Prior to civil registration you have to rely on any church records that survived.

In 1800 the primary religion in Scotland was Presbyterian under the Church of Scotland, also known as the Kirk in Scots language.

In 1822 there were approximately 15,000 Roman Catholics in Glasgow who had emigrated from Ireland hoping to find better paying jobs in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. At that time there was only one Roman Catholic Church in Glasgow, St. Andrew's. St. Andrew's was built on Clyde Street in 1816 and still stands today. It is the oldest church in Glasgow. St. Andrew's serviced the Irish Roman Catholics who arrived in Glasgow in the 1820's, 1830,'s and early 1840s, before the Irish Potato Famine of Ireland in 1846.

While many of the early Irish immigrants to Glasgow settled in the city center in the slum area known as District 14, others settled in older slum districts such as Anderston, Calton, Cowcaddens, Garscube and Townhead. The majority of these early Irish immigrants were Roman Catholic.

In 1846 The Irish Potato Famine caused a huge influx of Irish immigrants in Glasgow. Some settled in District 14 but most settled in slums slightly outside the city center where tenements were quickly thrown up to accommodate them. From the 1850s onwards, Irish immigrants were increasingly settling in areas such as Bridgeton, Garngad, Gorbals, Govan and Maryhill. By the late 1850s there were at least 10 Roman Catholic Churches within the districts of Glasgow.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow | Source

All Churches of Scotland

Learn more about Scotland Churches of all denominations at Sacred Scotland, Scotland's Churches Schemes.

Roman Catholic Church Registers available for Glasgow

The Archdiocese of Glasgow holds original registers with a starting-date prior to the introduction of civil registration in 1855. Unless otherwise noted, these originals are held in the Curial Offices, 196 Clyde Street, Glasgow, G1 4JY,. Photocopies of these registers are held in the parish to which they originate as well as the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh

Types of Roman Catholic Church Registers available for Glasgow include:

Baptismal: Normally provide the child’s name, names of parents and sponsors (referred to today as godparents), date of birth, date of baptism, and the name of the priest administering the Sacrament. They do not provide the address of the family at the time of baptism. Nor do they provide information on place of origin.

Marriage: Normally provide the names of the bride and groom, the names of the witness(es), and the name of the officiating priest. They will not provide the address at the time of marriage, nor do they normally provide information on place of birth. There is one exception, from 1808 till the mid-1830s the marriage registers for St. Andrew’s provide information regarding the place of origin of the bride and groom.

Confirmation: The survival of these registers is inconsistent. Confirmation Registers usually comprise a list of names of those confirmed, and the names of the sponsors. Previous practice had one female sponsor for all the girls, and one male sponsor for all the boys.

Death: It was uncommon for parishes to keep registers of deaths although some may have noted mortcloth fees. A mortcloth is the black cloth spread over a coffin. If a family could afford a coffin and church burial then you may find note of the mortcloth fee.

Post 1855 Parish Registers: Registers starting after January 1, 1855 are normally kept in the individual parishes.

Roman Catholic Churches of Glasgow, Scotland

St. Andrew's Cathedral built 1816.  Glasgow's oldest church.
St. Andrew's Cathedral built 1816. Glasgow's oldest church.
St. Mary's Church Calton built 1842. Glasgow's second oldest church.
St. Mary's Church Calton built 1842. Glasgow's second oldest church. | Source

Roman Catholic Churches in Glasgow, Scotland.

St. Andrew’s (Cathedral)
This parish had a resident priest from 1792. In 1814 when communicants were recorded at 3000 it was decided a church would be built. The first foundation stone was laid on Great Clyde Street in June 1814. The first Holy Mass was held on December 22, 1816. In 1822 there were an estimated 15,000 Catholics in Glasgow. St. Andrew’s became the Cathedral Church when the Diocese of Glasgow was created in 1878. It is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Glasgow.

  • Baptismal Registers, 1795 - 1856
  • Marriage Registers, 1795 - 1869
  • Deaths 1807–1818
  • Confirmation Registers 1810-1812; 1851-1853
  • Sick Call Book, 1827-1832
  • Register of Easter and Devotional Communicants, 1826-27
  • Register of Easter Communicants, 1831-1833; 1834-1837

St. Mary’s, Calton, Glasgow
Built in 1842 on Abercromby Street. The church is almost unchanged from the day it opened on Monday, August 15, 1842. It is the second oldest Roman Catholic Church in Glasgow.

  • Baptismal Records, 1842–1857

St. John’s, Gorbals, Glasgow
Built on Portugal Street in 1846. The church closed in 1982.

  • Baptismal Register, 1846-1861
  • Confirmation Register, 1856-
  • Marriage Register, 1846-1885
  • Death Register, N/A

Note: The original records are in the hands of the parish priest of St. Luke’s church, Ballater Street, Glasgow.

St. Alphonsus, Glasgow
The parish was established in 1846 it is the third oldest Parish in Glasgow. The present Church opened in 1905 and stands in the same place although the street name was changed to Stevenson Street. It is the third oldest church in Glasgow.

  • Baptismal Register, 1847-1856
  • Marriage Register, 1847-1884

Immaculate Conception, Maryhill, Glasgow

  • Baptismal Register, 1849-1921
  • Confirmation Register, 1920
  • Marriage Register, 1850-1865

St. Mary Immaculate, Pollokshaws, Glasgow
In 1849 the Parish of St. Mary Immaculate was formed and its congregation was drawn from Pollokshaws, Thornliebank, Crossmyloof, Shawlands, Cathcart, Newton Mearns, Eaglesham and Busby. In 1850 they moved into a converted blacksmith's building on Riverbank Street. In 1859 a three-story building was erected at Shawhill. This temporary arrangement served until the new Chapel of St Mary Immaculate was officially opened on September 9, 1865.

  • Baptismal Register, 1849–1927
  • Marriage Register, 1849-1927

St. Patrick's Church built 1850
St. Patrick's Church built 1850 | Source

Books on the Catholic Church in Scotland

St. Patrick’s, Anderston, Glasgow
Originally built on Hill Street in Anderston in 1850. It was dedicated to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It wasn't long before the size of the church proved inadequate for the growing Irish Roman Catholics overwhelming the city. In 1896, on the site of the old Blythswood Foundry, the formation of the stone foundation of the present church began.

  • Baptismal Register, 1850-1869
  • Marriage Register, 1850-1886

St. Joseph’s, Woodside, Glasgow
Built in 1850 on North Woodside Road in Cowcaddens to serve what, at that time, was an outlying area of Glasgow. The church closed in 1984

  • Baptismal Register, 1850-1877
  • Marriage Register, 1851-1920

St. Mungo’s, Townhead
Built in 1850 on Parson Street in Townhead

  • Baptismal Register, 1851-1866
  • Marriage Register, 1851-1878

St. Paul’s, Shettleston (Eastmuir), Glasgow
Founded in 1850 to serve the growing Catholic population of Shettleston, Tollcross, Carmyle, Lighburn, Baillieston, Stepps and Cardowan. The first church was a converted railway hut near present day Gartocher Road. The second church was built on Shettleston Road in 1857. The foundation year and cross can be seen near the present hall. In 1959 the present church was built.

  • Baptismal Registers, 1852-1885; 1889-1890 (six entries)
  • Marriage Register, 1852-1886

St Peter's Church built 1858.
St Peter's Church built 1858. | Source
Original St. Aloysius Church built in 1854.
Original St. Aloysius Church built in 1854. | Source

St. Peter’s 1858 (Now St. Simon's) St. Peter's 1903
Irish priest Daniel Gallagher first held Roman Catholic services in 1855 in the West End of Glasgow. In 1858 he opened a little church on Partick Bridge Street and called it St. Peter's. By 1900 the church could no longer accommodate the parishioners and a new St. Peter's Church was built on Hyndland St in 1903. The original St. Peter's was used as an extension and became known as the Bridge St. Chapel. During WWII the chapel became a Polish Church. Often referred to as the old St. Petes, it reopened as a parish in 1946 as St. Simons.

  • Baptismal Registers, 1855-
  • Marriage Registers, 1855-
  • Confirmation Register, 1855-

Note: All records are in the hands of the parish priest.

St. Aloysius, Springburn, Glasgow
On Sunday, June 22, 1856 the first St. Aloysius opened. It was able to accommodate 500 people. Until 1873 it was known as the Springburn Catholic Church. The growth of the Catholic community in Springburn was caused by Catholic people moving down to Glasgow from the Highlands of Scotland and immigration from Ireland. On September 7, 1882, within sight of the original St. Aloysius, the new St. Aloysius church opened.

  • Baptismal Register, 1854-1875
  • Marriage Register, 1854-1910

Things to remember.

It is important to remember that not every life event was recorded with the church and when it was the information may be inconsistent, illegible, misspelled or just plain left out. The list above will give you a good idea of what records are available so you don't spend valuable time looking for records that don't exist.


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    • profile image

      Kevin Merchant 

      2 years ago

      Trying to trace a Daniel Gallagher Vicar or Priest, and which church he was based at 1846-onwards. Some noise suggests Catholic (He baptised my Ggfather-most likely) but in which church. 10 year brick wall finally broken?

      Am Contactable via FB.

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 

      5 years ago

      A fantastic hub, great pictures, really well written, a pleasure to read, lots of great detail and very interesting, voted up, thanks, Lee

    • Christine Miranda profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine Miranda 

      7 years ago from My office.

      I agree, there is nothing like old buildings. The detail, how they were built to last. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

    • mecheshier profile image


      7 years ago

      I love churches and architecture. A beautiful Hub with great pics and info. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for interesting.

    • Christine Miranda profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine Miranda 

      7 years ago from My office.

      Thank you. Genealogy hubs are very research intensive so they take a while to do. Plus I get side tracked reading all the interesting stuff about where my ancestors lived. ; )

    • TeachableMoments profile image


      7 years ago from California

      Another great hub. Voted up, interesting. Great job researching and I like how you organized the hub.


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