Ardclach, Nairnshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #120

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Ardclach. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland Research Strategies.


ARDCLACH, a parish, in the county of Nairn, 12 miles (S. S. W.) from Forres. This place derives its name from its situation in a mountainous and rocky district, of which the Gaelic words are faithfully descriptive. The church, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, and surrounded with a spacious cemetery, was originally built in 1626, and rebuilt in 1762, and again in 1839.[1]

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 Ardclach. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

A census 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 Ardclach as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library Film Number Surname Index
1841    1042643 None
1851 1042100 None
1861 0103887 None
1871 0104066 None
1881 0203429 6086628 (1 fiche)
1891 0208646 None

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

Church Records

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

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1652-1820 0990673
    1820-1854 0990674
Marriages: 1642-1854 0990674
Deaths: None None
Condition of Original Registers—

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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: No entries exist for April 1667–March 1668 or for March 1670–March 1714, except a few entries for December 1681–June 1682, recorded in the marriage register after November 1660. There are also no entries for August 1714–October 1720, except two entries in March 1720. There is only one entry for November 1734–October 1735. Six pages are out of chronological order, 1777–1790 they are recorded after August 1779. Entries several years out of chronological order occur frequently throughout.
Marriages: There are no entries for November 1660–February 1682, but there are entries of proclamations of marriages for 1649–1675 in a separate intermixed volume, vol. 3. There are no entries for 1683. Several entries on the two leaves of the record for 1682–1708 are illegible. There are no entries May 1708–March 1714. Only one entry exists for May 1729–January 1732. There are only a few entries for June 1734–July 1737. There are no entries for June 1768–December 1771, and some illegible entries from December 1771 to 1780. There are no entries for February 1780–November 1792 and February 1807–April 1809.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk session was made up of he 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 are the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1686–1710, 1716, 1729–1735, 1737–1739, 1741–1744, 1762–1779
Minutes with Accounts 1781–1840
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/717.

Nonconformist Church Records

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.

Ardclach Free Church

The congregation of the Free Church received services from the time of the Disruption in 1843 until August 1844 when a minister was provided. Although a church was provided, the congregation decreased due to general emigration from the area.
Membership: 1848, 71; 1900, 68.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1843–1933
Collections 1849–1871
Church Door Collections 1848–1864, 1865–1877
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1080.

Civil Registration Records

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

Ardclach was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Moray until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Nairn. 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' of Nairn (the county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariot of Moray.

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 June 2014.

[Return to the Nairn parish list.]