National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Catholic Parish Registers – Confessions

Catholic Parish Registers – Confessions

Five volumes of parish registers include information about confessions. These do not include details of the confessions themselves, but record that an individual went to confession before receiving Holy Communion.

The information contained in the original registers can be quite minimal, and varies from parish to parish and indeed over time within each parish. At best, a convert register will record the following:

  • name of the individual
  • date
  • place or parish of residence
  • name of the priest.

Whilst some registers record all of the information above, most in practice record minimal information such as the names of the individual attending confession and a date. There was no standard format for registers, and they can consist of small notebooks or larger unformatted ledgers.

Example from a confession register (click on image to see the full size)

Example from confession register

Newton Stewart, Our Lady and St Ninian: General Register, 1825-1846. MP/59/1/1/1 page 178