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Jura, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #539

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


History[edit | edit source]

JURA and COLONSAY, a parish, in the district of Islay, county of Argyll. This parish, which is situated to the west of the main land, comprises the islands of Jura, Colonsay, Oronsay, Scarba, Lunga, Balnahuaigh, and Garvelloch, and several small uninhabited islets. The island of Jura, takes its name from the numerous herds of red-deer with which it abounded, and of which many are still preserved. The church, erected about the year 1776, is a neat plain structure; the interior has been enlarged and greatly improved and contains 250 sittings.[1]

    Gigha and Cara Disjoined from this parish 100 years previous  to 1843.  Miltown, and Craighouse are the nearest towns.  There are seven inhabited islands in this parish.  Many of the inhabitants live to 100.  Colin Campbell Esq. of Jura; and Captain M’Neil, younger of  Colonsay are the major landowners.  The land was primarily used for, pasture for sheep and cattle, bear, oats, and potatoes.  The population in 1801 was 2007 and in 1841 was 2299.  The earliest dated register iis 1810. Those prior to that date were lost. No reason given.  There are two parish churches in the parish.

This history was written in1843.

Source: HistoryNew 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 Jura. 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 Jura as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042719
1851 1042355 941.39 X2a
1861 103798
1871 103955
1881 203561 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220172

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 Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1704-1734, 1810-1854-Jura 1041078 items7-8
1796-1855-Colonsay 1041079 items 1-2
Marriages: 1811-1854-Jura 1041078items 7-8
1796-1854-Colonsay 1041079 items 1-2
Deaths: 1848-1854-Colonsay 1041079 items 1-2

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: Jura: the early pages have suffered from damp and want of care. On the page after May 1726, the record is described as “a register of all the children's names baptized in the Isles of Jura, Scarba and Lunga.” No entries exist August 1724–December 1725. The record is blank May 1726–November 1731 and incomplete to May 1734, after which it is blank until January 1810.
Colonsay: entitled “christening register” the entries contain only the names of the parents, the baptismal name of the child and the date, probably of baptism.
Marriages: Jura: the record was regularly kept.
Colonsay: entitled “marriage register” the entries contain the names of the parties and the dates.
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:

Minutes 1850–1928
Presbytery Minutes 1836–1929 - Islay and Jura
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/494 and 411.

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.


Colonsay Baptist Church[edit | edit source]

Missionaries commenced Baptist work in the area about 1812. Many converts immigrated to Canada.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille, pub. 1926. Family History Library book 941 K2hi. More details may be given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown; though it is doubtful there are any pre-1855 records. For information write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

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]

Jura was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Th Isles 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 The Isles.
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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