Burial and lair information in Kirk Session records

Trying to locate a burial pre 1855 can be hard, especially if the name you are looking for does not appear in the Old Parish Registers (Click here for more info)

Some information concerning the purchase and transfer of lairs can also be found in Kirk Session minutes. This is, however, a rare occurrence and every set of Kirk Session minutes will hold not this information. Here are a couple of examples for Holy Rude Churchyard in Stirling.

This entry from the Holy Rude minutes in November 1807 shows that the Church have granted a Lair to William Murdoch, in which he can have three graves which will belong to “him, his heirs and successors in all time coming”.

This entry from 1818 concerns a petition for David Turnbull for a lair in the Holy Rude Churchyard. This is a great example of just how much information you can ascertain a relatively short passage in the minutes.

From this entry we know:

  1. David Turnbull, the main petitioning for a lair, is a bell hanger in Stirling
  2. His father in law is a man called John Russell, a weaver in Alloa
  3. John Russell’s father was Alexander Russell, a Maltman and Burgess in Stirling
  4. Alexander Russell is buried in Holy Rude Churchyard
  5. Alexander Russell is buried between, John Steel a hatter, on the East; John Thomson, a merchant, on the West; John Mitchell of Dollar in South; and Partrick Harvey, a merchant and wright in the North.
  6. David Turnbull petitioned for this lair and was granted it.

A wealth of family history information in one short passage and with the specifics of where to find that grave in churchyard.