Glenisla, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #290

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


GLENISLA, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 10 miles (N. by W.) from Alyth; containing the hamlet of Kirkton. This very extensive parish, which comprehends the north-western portion of the county, derives its name from its situation in a spacious and picturesque valley watered by the river Isla. The church, erected in 1821, and situated nearly in the centre of the parish, is a neat structure containing 700 sittings.[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 your parish of interest. 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 Glenisla, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
941.31 X22a 1851 v. 1-6
6086580 (12 fiche)

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: 1719-1854 0993435 item 1
Marriages: 1719-1854 0993435 item 1
Deaths: 1748-1793 0993435 item 1


Condition of Original Registers—

Indexed: 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: Birth records are blank June 1723–March 1741. Between 1793 and 1807 there are numerous irregular entries applicable to earlier dates. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1788.
Marriages: Marriage records are blank between June 1723 and June 1741, after which a record of proclamations begins. Fact of marriage is recorded after January 1809.
Deaths: Transcribed entries of Mortcloth Dues. Records are blank April 1755–July 1792.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

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 1704–1709, 1741–1804, 1823–1865
Accounts 1850–1939
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/589.

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.

Glenisla Free Church

This congregation was organized in 1849, when the great body of the people in Glensla left the Established Church and joined the Free Church of Scotland. The church was erected and the charge was sanctioned that same year. The manse was erected in 1832. Depopulation, and changes in the parish, account for the decline in membership.
Membership: 1848, 267; 1900, 136.
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 1850–1941
Deacons Court Minutes 1853–1940
Communion Roll 1849–1941
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/512

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

Glenisla was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St.Andrews until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dundee.  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 Angus and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St.Andrews.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Angus. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Angus and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 5 June 2014.

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