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Glenarcy and Inishail, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #512  

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

History[edit | edit source]

GLENORCHY and INISHAIL, a parish, in the districts of Lorn and Argyll, county of Argyll, 14 miles (N. by E.) from Inverary; containing that portion of the parish which was annexed, quoad sacra, to Strathfillan church. These two ancient parishes, which were united in the year 1618, derive their names from the situation of their respective churches, the former in a picturesque glen watered by the river Orchy, and the latter on the beautiful island of Inishail, in Loch Awe. On the island of Inishail are the ruins of a convent for nuns of the Cistercian order, of which the chapel was, after the Reformation, used as the parish church of Inishail, till the erection of the present structure in 1736.[1]

Tradition alleges that Druidism of old, occupied the spot on which the church now stands.  Cladich is the nearest town.  Rev. Dr. John Smith of Campbelton, translated the Scriptures into Galic.  Donald Smith M.D. is another well known person from this parish.  The Maarquis of Breadalban; Campbell of Monzie; and The Duke of Argyle were the major land owners.
The land was primarily used for, sheep and Cattle.  The earliest parish records were dated 1753. They have been kept on and off since.  Most people go to the Presbyterian church.

This account was written in 1844.
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 glenarcy and Inishail. 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 Glenarcy and Inishail as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Film Number Surname Index           
1841 1042716
941.38/G1 X22s 1841
1851 1042350 941.39 X2a
1861 103796
1871 103952
1881 203557
6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220166

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]

Years Covered Film Number
Births: 1753-1854 1041008 item 1-3
Marriages: 1765-1854 1041008item 1-3
Deaths: 1765-1820 1041008 item 1-3

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: Glenorchy: there is a duplicate of entries October 1765–April 1767. Mothers' names are not recorded until December 1765 and usually omitted 1781–1791 inclusive, and sometimes after that.
Inishail: the flyleaf contains irregular entries 1786–1805, with two dated 1749 and 1756. The record is defective 1778–1787 inclusive and 1812–1813.
Marriages: Glenorchy: only one entry appears for 1767 and one for 1814. There are only four entries March 1796–June 1801. There are occasional references to irregular marriages and entries of sums collected at marriages among the Mortcloth Dues.
Inishail: only six entries exist prior to April 1777, and the record is generally defective throughout. However, there are references made to the registers of Glenorchy and Kilchrenan for entries of marriages applicable to Inishail on various dates after 1771.
Deaths: Glenorchy: Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with other matters.
Inishail: there are no entries.
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 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:

Glenorchy[edit | edit source]

Minutes and Accounts 1765–1798, 1837–1859
Accounts 1767–1771

Innishail[edit | edit source]

Minutes and Accounts 1765–1860
Collections 1824–1860
Accounts 1767–1771
Poors’ Funds 1821–1863
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/968

See also Muchairn parish.

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. 

Glenorchy Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of Glenorchy and most of his congregation left the Established Church in 1843. By the kindness of Lord Breadalbane, a temporary wooden church was erected in which they worshiped until their church and manse were ready for occupation.
Membership: 1848, 100; 1900, 70.
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.

Minutes 1843–1891
Note: Records located at the Free Church offices in Edinburgh. See their website and contact information at

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]

Glenarcy and Inishail 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.

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