Kilbride, Buteshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #553

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


KILBRIDE, a parish, in the island of Arran, county of Bute, 20 miles (S. W. by W.) from Saltcoats; containing the villages of Brodick and Corrie. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its ancient church to St. Bridget or St. Bride. The parish, which occupies nearly one-half of the Isle of Arran, is bounded on the east by the Frith of Clyde. A church was erected at Brodick in 1839. The service is now performed by a Free Church minister.[1]

This parish is situated in the mouth of the River Clyde and forms the smaller of two very extensive parishes, which divide between them the magnificent and strikingly picturesque Island of Arran.  The small Island of Lamlash, or the Holy Isle as it is sometimes called, also belongs to it.  St. Columba once resided on the Holy Isle, thus its name.  The name of the parish is a compound formed by Kill, the Gaelic name for a burying-place, and Bride or Bridget, a once popular female saint whose name still lives in the names of so many parishes and other places.  The etymology of the name of the island itself is disputed.  Some derive it from the two Gaelic words Arr and Inn, the High Island; and others from Arr Fhinn, the slaughter or field of Fingal, conceiving it to have received its name from a battle said to have been fought at the north end of the island by Fingal against a son of the King of Norway, whose forces he totally exterminated.  Kilbride occupies the whole of the east side of the Isle except a couple of miles at its south end.  It varies in length from 20 to 22 miles and in breadth from 2 to 4 miles, and it contains about 42,000 imperial acres.  The most prominent feature in the general aspect of the parish is its alpine character.  This parish is pre-eminently "a land of fountains and rivers of waters."  There are limestone and rock-crystal quarries in the parish.  Peat is the main fuel burned.

The population of the parish in 1755 was 1369, in 1793 was 2545, and in 1835 was 2397.  The increase in population was due in part to subdividing the land.  The later drop in the population is due in part to the young people leaving the island and in part to an extensive emigration to Canada and Chaleur Bay which took place in 1830.  Gaelic is the prevailing language but English is spoken and well understood.  Sheep and cattle are raised.  Oats and potatoes are the chief crops grown.  The main villages are Lamlash, Brodick, and Lochranza.  Others are Corrie and Sannox.

The parish church is situated at the south end of Lamlash and was buil in 1773 without vestry, steeple, or belfry.  There is a chapel at Lochranza near the northern extremity of the parish.  The whole of the parishioners belong to the Established Church with the exception of about forty individuals connected with the Congregational Union of Scotland, with a chapel at Sannox.  There are six schools in the parish with a total winter and spring attendance of about 450.  The parish has had a library since 1824.

The above extract is from the account written in April 1840.

Source:  The (New) Statistical Account of Buteshire, Family History Library book 941 B4sa, 2nd series, vol. 5, pt. 2.

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 Kilbride. 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 Kilbride, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

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

                  Years Covered      FHL Film Number
Births:        1723–1854           1041083 items 3-4
Marriages: 1723–1854            1041083 items 3-4
Deaths:      No entries

Condition of Original Registers—

Births: There are no birth entries for October 1728–January 1732. Mothers' names are not recorded until January 1797.
Marriages: There are no marriage entries for February 1732–August 1734. The record is imperfect for 1790–1794, inclusive. There are no entries, except two, for December 1803–February 1807.                                                                                        Deaths:  No register of deaths appears to have ever been kept in the parish.
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 Kirk session was made up of he 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.

According to the New Statistical Account of Buteshire and its account for Kilbride, the records of the proceedings of the kirk session went back to 1704, but the volumes commencing with 1750 were lost about 1810 by a gentlman to whom there were very improperly lent, to gratify an idle curiosity by their perusal.  It is not known what happened to the volumes before 1750.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Accounts 1830–1861
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1043.

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.

Kilbride Free Church

The Kilbride Free Church was formed in 1843 at Brodick; Lamlash, Whiting Bay, and Corrie being included in its district. Church and manse were built. After the first minister's death, eight years elapsed before a successor could be found to accept a call. A new church was built in 1852. In 1874 and again in 1885, some members were disjoined to form other churches.
Membership: 1848, 191; 1900, 119.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Congregational Union Church of Arran (Sannox)


This church was formed in 1806 after a visit by the Haldanes from Campbeltown.  For sixteen years the congregation met in the homes of the people of North Sannox.  A church was built in 1822 which was repaired and renovated in 1937.  The church suffered much in the early years by the emigration of many of its members.  The pastor for some time had to support himself by teaching, until financial aid was given by the Congregational Union.  The great-grandparents of [former] Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Macmillan, were among the early members of the Sannox Church.

Source:  A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960.  Family History Library book 941 K2es.  More details are given in the source.


No information is known. 

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

Kilbride was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of The Isles until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Rothesay. 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 Bute 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 Bute. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Bute 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. 1-22. Adapted. Date accessed: 16 May 2014.

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