Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Guide to Inverness-shire ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.



Guide to Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy ancestry, family history and genealogy parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records. Inverness is an extensive county in the north of Scotland, bounded on the north by Ross-shire and the Moray Firth, on the east by the counties of Nairn, Elgin, Banff, and Aberdeen, on the south by Perthshire and the county of Argyll, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean.  It is about 90 miles in length and nearly 80 in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 7200 square miles or 4,608,000 acres, exclusive of the several islands attached to it.

The county was orginally the western portion of the ancient province of Moray and was inhabited by the Picts.  The city of Inverness (the county town) may have been the residence of the Pictish kings. 

The county contains 45 parishes and four districts/sub-sheriff courts of Inverness, Fort William, Skye, and Long Island.  It also contains several villages.

The surface of the county is strikingly diversified by wild and lofty moutains interspersed with deep and narrow glens, and by numerous ridges of hills inclosing valleys of various width and aspect. The coast is indented with a variety of inlets from the sea, forming salt-water lochs.  The county includes the Isle of Skye, part of Lewis, North and South Uist, Benbecula, Barra, Eigg, Eriskay, Bernera, and others of the Hebrides.

Lochs or lakes are a very important feature of the county, chief among them being Loch Ness, Loch Oich, and Loch Lochy, situated in the valley of Glenmore.  Not more than one-twelfth of the land is under cultivation, the remainder being either covered with heath or in mountain pasture.  The arable lands produce excellent crops of wheat, barley, oats, etc., and great quantities of potatoes are raised.  Vast numbers of cattle and more so of sheep are raised.  Swine and horses are also raised. 

The whole county appears to have been at a remote period covered with woods, and there are still thousands of acres in woods.  Slate is quarried and shipped, as is also granite.  There are lead-ore works.  The principal manufactures are hemp, thread, kelp, and bricks and tiles; there are bleaching and print fields, tanneries, breweries and distilleries.  The rivers abound with salmon and there are valuable salmon-fisheries. There are also herring-fisheries.  The great Caledonian canal intersects the county from north-east to south-west and connects the German and Atlantic Oceans.  It provides navigation for ships and conveyance of produce. 

(Source:  Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 2nd ed., 1851.  Family History Library book 941 E5L.)

Scotlands People: An Important Online Source

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on exact record availability, see Availability. For examples of the records available, see Record Types and Examples. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a small pay per view fee to see the actual digitized record.


Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Inverness-shires- for 1881.  Click here for other census indexes available at the library.

Church Records

Civil Registration or Statutory Registers

For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.

Refer to the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article.
Images and Indexes Available at ScotlandsPeople Website ($)
Births 1855-1910 ◊ScotlandsPeople Website has indexes to 2012.
Marriages 1855-1935
Deaths 1855-1960


Some of the Inverness-shire parish records are indexed in Inverness, Scotland, Extracted Parish Records.

This database is a collection of historical parish registers from the county of Inverness in the country of Scotland. The records in this collection can range in date from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. Also included are some records from non-conformist churches. You will find interesting phonetic spelling. Some of the records may be in Latin or even a Welsh or Scottish dialect. Due to the nature of the records and because the records were originally compiled by a third party, it is difficult to absolutely verify the completeness and validity of the data.

Here is a list of the historic parishes for the county of Inverness.  Click on the parish name to see information about records.

Parish No.   Parish No.
Abernethy & Kincardine (formerly in Morayshire) 90a Kilmonivaig 99
Abertarff -- see Boleskine 92 Kilmorack 100
Alvie 90b Kilmuir (Insular) 112
Ardersier 91 Kiltarlity 101
Barra (Insular) 108 Kingussie & Insh 102
Boleskine (including Abertarff and Ft. Augustus) 92 Kirkhill 103
Bracadale (Insular) 109 Laggan 104
Canna -- see Small Isles 116 Moy & Dalarossie 105
Cromdale, Inverallan & Advie -- see Morayshire 128b Muck -- see Small Isles 116
Croy & Dalcross 94 North Uist (Insular) 113
Dalarossie -- see Moy 105 Petty 106
Daviot and Dunlichty 95 Portree (Insular) 114
Dores 96a Rothiemurchus -- see Duthil 96b
Duirinish (Insular) 110 Rum -- see Small Isles 116
Duthil & Rothiemurcas (formerly in Morayshire) 96b St. Kilda -- see Harris 111
Eigg -- see Small Isles 116 Sleat (Insular) 115
Fort Augustus -- see Boleskine 92 Small Isles (Insular) 116
Glenelg 97 Snizort (Insular) 117
Glenmoriston -- see Urquhart 107 South Uist (Insular) 118
Harris (Insular) 111 Strath (Insular) 119
Insh -- see Kingussie 102 Urquhart & Glenmoriston 107
Inverallan -- see Cromdale 128b
Inverness 98
Kilmallie -- see Argyllshire 520


Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are avilable online. The directories available for Inverness are:

1873-1912: These are available in either PDF format or viewable online. (Some years are missing)


Click here to see an outline map of the parishes of Inverness-shire.

Poorhouse Records

There were two Poorhouses

 InvernessLong Island Combination

Skye Combination


The Highland Archive Centre]
Bught Road
Tel: +44 (0)1463 256444

Lochaber Archive Centre
West Highland College
Carmichael Way, Fort William PH33 6FF
Tel: 01397 701942

Scottish Genealogy Society
15 Victoria Terrace
Phone-0131 220 3677

Lochaber & North Argyll Family History Group
c/o Alisdair Campbell
9 Victoria Road
PH33 6BP


[Return to county list.]