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Dunoon and Kilmun, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #510

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


History[edit | edit source]

DUNOON and KILMUN, a parish, in the district of Cowal, county of Argyll, 7½ miles (W. by S.) from Greenock. The early history of this parish is involved in great obscurity, and rests chiefly on tradition. Dunoon is bounded on the south and east by the Frith of Clyde, and Kilmun by Loch Long on the east, and partly by the Holy loch, an inlet from the Frith, which on the south separates a portion of it from Dunoon. The church at Dunoon was erected in 1816; it is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and since its enlargement in 1834 contains 793 sittings. The present church at Kilmun was erected in 1841; it is also a handsome building, with a tower of loftier elevation than that of the ancient church, which is still remaining. Chapels of ease have been built at Toward and Ardentinny. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and the United Associate Synod.[1]

      Dunoon and Kilmun were united under one parish.   The village of Kilmun on the Holy Loch was begun about 1829 by David Napier Esq.  The Lamonts assumed the superiority of this district at a very early period. The Campbells acquired superiority later.   Alexander S. Finlay Esq. of Castle toward; James Hunter Esq. of Hafton; John Campbell Esq. of Dunon; and Archibald Douglas Esq. of Glenfinart were the major land owners.  The land was primarily used for, sheep, gunpowder mill, oats, potatoes, turnips, and hay.  The population in 1843 was 2853.  The session book of the parish of Dunoon commences  6-Dec-1692. The register of marriages commences in 1742 and kept imperfectly until 1800 and now kept perfectly.   The place of Kilmun is, ecclesiastically of higher repute than Dunoon.  There are 2 chapels in the United Parish, a dissenting chapel in connection with the Associated Synod,  4 or 5 families of Episcopalians and 3 Roman Catholics.

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 Dunoon and Kilmun. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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 Dunoon and Kilmun as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index            
1841 101809
1851 103645 941.39 X2a
1861 103796
1871 103952
1881 203556 6086508 - (set of 4 fiche)
1891 220165

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 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]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1744-1819 1041006 items 3-4
1819-1854 1041007 item 1
Marriages: 1696-1742-1819 1041006 items3-4
1819-1854 1041007 item 1
Deaths: 1755-1772 1041006 items 3-4

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: The first two pages of Dunoon contain irregular entries 1744–1753. There are no entries August 1750–September 1756. The record is defective 1760–1766 and terminates June 1782. There is a record for the united parish of Dunoon and Kilmun after June 1782.
Kilmun contains irregular entries 1711–1755 for one family, on page 8 of the record, and similar entries 1754–1770 after February 1773. The record terminates in 1782.
Marriages:There are no entries for Dunoon, March 1744–December 1746, and the record terminates January 1781. There is a record for the united parishes of Dunoon and Kilmun from 1781. The separate record for Kilmun terminates in 1780.
Deaths: There are no deaths recorded for Dunoon. Only two entries appear after June 1765 for Kilmun.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The 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:

Minutes 1667–1676, 1801–1874
Accounts of the Poor 1801–1853
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/456

Nonconformist Church Records
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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.


Dunoon United Secession Church
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Dunoon was frequently visited by the inhabitants of Glasgow as a summer resort, and the population consequently increased. The place became a preaching station by the Glasgow association for Church Extension, in connection with the Secession Church in 1827. A congregation was organized soon after. A church which could seat 500 was built in 1828.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Congregational Register 1830–1900
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/1025.

Dunoon Free Church
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The minister of the united parishes of Dunoon and Kilmun left the Established Church in 1843. The two charges were separated in 1844. The church was built in 1843 and the manse in 1845. A school was established in 1843. Later a new school and teacher's house were erected in 1851. A new church was built in 1867. The school buildings were sold and the staff and scholars transferred to the School Board in 1889. The congregation profited by the growth of the town as a residential and summer resort.
Membership: 1848, 459; 1900, 388.
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.

Family History Library Film Number
Presbytery Mnutes 1843–1868 - partially indexed 1484195
Presbytery Scroll Minutes 1843–1844 1484196 item 1
This on has a list of inhabitants of the parish of Dunoon and Kilmun

Kilmun Free Church, later St. Andrews
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The united parishes of Dunoon and Kilmun were disjoined in March 1844 and became separate charges. A church and manse at Kilmun were built soon after the Disruption and were renovated several times.
Membership: 1848, 83; 1900, 111.
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.

Minutes 1843–1937
Baptismal Register 1844–1859
Marriages 1844–1858
Communion Rolls 1844–1937
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/505.

Innellan Free Church
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In response to the application of Free Church residents, this congregation began in 1852. The church was erected in 1853 and a manse in 1857. From about the middle of the century Innellan grew in popularity as a summer resort.
Membership: 1859, 58; 900, 115.
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.

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]

Dunoon and Kilmun 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.

Museum[edit | edit source]

The Castle House Museum, established in 1998, currently housed at the former Lord Provost Ewing of Glasgow's home, near the ruined medieval castle. Operated by a Trust and a Registered Charity. Has a wide range of exhibits of importance to the local community and Cowal area from the Stone Age to the American nuclear submarine base.

Return to the Argyllshire Parish List



  1. Lewis, Samuel A., Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 320-349. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.