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Iverary, Argyll, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #513

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

History[edit | edit source]

INVERARY, a royal burgh, the county town, and a parish, in the district and county of Argyll, 60 miles (N. W. by W.) from Glasgow, and 114 (W. N. W.) from Edinburgh. This place takes its name from its situation at the mouth of the river Aray, which here falls into Loch Fyne. The church, erected in 1798, and repaired, after being greatly damaged by a storm, in 1838, is a spacious and handsome structure, with a central tower and spire 115 feet in height, dividing it into two distinct portions, one for the first or Gaelic church, containing 450, and the other for the English congregation, containing 410 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and for the United Associate Synod.[1]

This parish was at one period called Kilmiliew and also Glenaray. The parish takes its name from the river Aray.  Furnace and Kenmore are the nearest towns.  At this time the family of Argyle posses most of the parish and are the major land owners.  The land was primarily used for, sheep, cattle, hay crops, and oats.  The population in 1792 was 1832, and in 1841 was 2277.  The parish registers were first kept in 1651 to July 1688, then from Dec 1699 to December 1763, from January 1764 to January 1790, from July 1790 to December 1817, and from January 1818 to the present (1843).  The Earl of Argyle succeeded his father in 1542 and embraced Protestantism at an early period of the Reformation.  There now is a Gaelic congregation and an English congregation, a few Baptists, Papists and seceders.

This account was written in 1844.
source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (FHL 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 Inveraray. 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 Inveraray and Glenaray as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Film Number Surname Index              
1841 1042716
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 FHLFilm Number
Births: 1651-1653 1041067 item 1-2
1653-188 1041008 item 4
1699-1820 1041009
1820-1854 1041067 item 1-2
Marriages: 1651-1666 1041008 item 4
1699-1819 1041008
1819-1854 1041067 item 1-2
Deaths: No entries

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.


The record is blank April 1659–February 1661 and December 1662–May 1666, except three entries for 1664. The page on November 1667 is mutilated and 17 entries are partially destroyed. No entries occur June 1683–November 1684, December 1688–September 1699, December 1707–February 1709, and October 1713–January 1719. The page for March 1784 is imperfect. There is a separate record for Glenarary, August 1702–April 1745 which is blank November 1709–October 1711 and March 1714–January 1720. There is only one record for the united parish after 1745.
Marriages: There are no records May 1654–February 1660, except for three entries. Only two entries appear January 1661–December 1665. There are no entries December 1666–December 1699 and March 1715–June 1725 except three entries. Only one entry appears May 1726–November 1734, and the records are defective 1734–1741. There is a separate record for Glenaray June 1702–April 1745 which is blank November 1709–January 1720. After 1745 one record is kept for the united parish.
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:

Inveraray[edit | edit source]

Minutes 1650–1663 (English), 1677–1683, 1699–1724 (Lowland)
Collections 1677–1687, 1784–1839
Cash Book 1843–1919

Inveraray and Glenaray[edit | edit source]

Minutes 1745–1754, 1777–1952
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/663.

Glenaray[edit | edit source]

Minutes 1701–1729
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/664.

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.

Inverary Secession Church[edit | edit source]


The Secession Church had sent occasional preachers to Inverary and decided there was a need to form a congregation. In June 1835 a hall was built and opened as a preaching station. The church was opened the end of 1836. The people were formed as a congregation in 1837.
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 including ministers.


FHL Film Number
Baptisms 1837–1842 1484621 items 6–7
Session Minutes 1837–1878 1484621 items 6–7
Other: Managers’ Minutes 1839–1844
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/176.

Inverary Free Church[edit | edit source]


This congregation was formed at the Disruption. The church was erected in 1844, the school in 1848, and the manse in 1851. A new church was built in 1896. The congregation was unable to obtain a minister for several years. The population steadily declined.
Membership: 1848, 200; 1900, 140.
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.


FHL Film Number
Presbytery Minutes 1843–1868 - partially indexed 1484195
Presbytery Scroll Minutes 1843–1844 1484196 item 1
Minutes 1843–1928
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/584

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]

Inveraray and Glenaray 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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