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Ardchattan, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #504

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Ardchattan.

To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.

History[edit | edit source]

ARDCHATTAN, a parish, in the district of Lorn, county of Argyll, 8 miles (E. N. E.) from Oban; containing the quoad sacra parish of Muckairn. This place is supposed to have derived its name from Catan, who accompanied St. Columba to Scotland, about the year 563; and from its mountainous aspect, of which the term Ardchattan is also descriptive, signifying "the hill" or "promontory of Catan." The church, erected in 1836, is a neat structure, situated on the north shore óf Loch Etive, and containing 430 sittings. There is a preaching station at Inverghiusachaw, in Glen-Etive, about 16 miles distant from the church. A place of worship in connexion with the Free Church has been built.[1]

In 1829 Muckairn became its own parish and broke off from Ardchattan. New parish church opened in 1836.  It is 8 miles from Oban.  This parish was named for named for Caatan who was a companion of Catan in the year 563. It was once the residence of “Maodan” a popish saint.  The major land owner was Sir Duncan Campbell, the Marquis of Breadalbane.  The land was primarily used for, Iron Smelting, farming,  wood, cattle, and  sheep.

The population in 1831 was 1650 and in 1841 it was 1452.  The registers of births and marriage do not commence at an earlier date than 1758 “owing to the negligence of parents and parties concerned."  The number of communicants is above 300, and not above 10 dissenters from the established church.

A place of worship in connection with the Free Church of Scotland is now being built about six miles distant.

This account was written in 1843.
Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family History Library book 941 B4sa, series 2 vol. 7)

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Ardchattan. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

A census record is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Ardchattan as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available: 

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index           
1841       1042714 941.38 X22s vol. 1
1851 1042348 941.39 X2a 
1861 0103795 None
1871 0103951 None
1881 0203554 6086508 (set of 4 fiche)
1891 0208801 None

The 1901 and 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on  To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Record Type
Years Covered Family History Library Film Mumber
Births: 1758-1854 1041003 item 1-2
Marriages: 1758-1854 1041003 item 1-2
Deaths: No entries
Condition of Original Records—[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are four irregular entries for 1755–1761 recorded in February of 1820. On the whole, only a few irregular entries exist October 1762–1783, but there are about twenty entries for 1765–1767. Two families’ entries, covering the period 1770–1794, are recorded on one page at December 1790. Entries are frequently out of chronological order.
Marriages: The record is blank between November 1762–January 1766 and January 1768–November 1783, except for one entry in1780. No entries were made between April 1789 and January 1790.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

There are no known records.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Ardchattan Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of the united parishes of Ardchattan and Muckairn left the Established Church at the Disruption in 1843. The charges were at once disjoined and the minister continued in the parish of Ardchattan. The church was erected in 1844. For a further history of the congregation, see Appin in Lismore parish.
Membership: 1848, 100; 1900, 37.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

The extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called Statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Ardchattan was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Argyll until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dunoon. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Argyll and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Argyll.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Argyll. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Argyll and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 59-72. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.

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