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Kildalton, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #541

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


History[edit | edit source]

KILDALTON, a parish, in Islay district, county of Argyll, 14 miles (E. by S.) from Bowmore; containing Port-Ellen and the late quoad sacra district of Oa. This parish, which is supposed to have taken its name from one of the step-sons of the Macdonalds, who was buried in the church, is situated in the south-eastern portion of the isle of Islay, and is bounded on the north-east by the sound of Islay, and on the south-west by the Atlantic Ocean. The church, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, is a neat structure, erected in 1816, and enlarged in 1830, and contains 600 sittings. A church has been built at Oa, in the south-west.[1]

     This parish derives its name from a stepson of one of the Macdonalds of the Isles.  Portellen, and Bowmore are the nearest towns.  The Macleans and the Macdonalds fought over this land with the Macdonalds driving the Macleans out. Mr. Campbell of Islay is the largest land owner.  The land was primarily used for,  oats, barley, postatoes,  sheep and black cattle, slate quarry, and limestone quarry.  The population in 1801 was 1990.   The population in 1841 was 3315.   The first registers kept are lost, and kept irregularly until the last 50 years. (1844)   The Government Church is well attended.
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 Kildalton. 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 Kildalton as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

  1860:918682 Item 3

 Years FHL Film Number Surname Index              
1841 1042720
1851 1042355 941.39 X2a
1861 103798
1871 103955
1881 203562 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220173

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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1723-1854 1041079 items 4-5
1833-1854 - Oa 1041080 item 5
Marriages: 1724-1854 1041079 items 4-5
1833-1854 - Oa 1041080 items 4-5
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.
Births: Records prior to 1761 have suffered from dampness and lack of care. The pages are blank January 1744–May 1745, July 1755–July 1758, and 1762–February 1789. Mothers' names are not recorded until April 1805.
Marriages: Records prior to 1766 have suffered some damage, every page being more or less imperfect and many entries incomplete. The pages are blank October 1766–November 1789. Except July 1798–1802 inclusive, the fact of marriage is seldom added to the entries until May 1814.
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 1789, 1802–1883
Accounts 1790–1845
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/611.

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.

Kildalton and OA Free Church[edit | edit source]

Many people in Port Ellen adhered to the Free Church in 1843 and a congregation was immediately formed, although some years elapsed before a minister was settled. The church was built in 1845 outside Port Ellen on a hill overlooking the village. The manse was erected in 1848.
Membership: 1848, 65; 1900, 86.
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.

Minutes 1844–1928
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1847–1933
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/527

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]

Kildalton 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 Dunoon. Probate records for 1513- 1925 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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