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Killean and Kilchenzie, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish  #519

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


History[edit | edit source]

KILLEAN and KILCHENZIE, a parish, in the district of Cantyre, county of Argyll, 18 miles (N.N. W.) from Campbelltown. The name of the first of these two ancient parishes, now united, is of doubtful origin, but is supposed to be derived either from Killian, a saint of the seventh century, or from a Gaelic term signifying a "river churchyard," in allusion to a rivulet forming the northern boundary, and, in union with a tributary stream, surrounding the site, of the church and burial-ground. There are two churches, the one erected in 1787, and the other in 1826, containing respectively 650 and 750 sittings.[1]

      Killean probably derives its name from St. Killian.  Tarbet, Campbelton are the nearest towns.  The peninsula of Kintyre and adjacent isles were at one period the property of the McDonalds, Lords of the Isle.  The major land owners were: Duke of Argyle; Keith Macalister of Glenbarr; Macalister of Loup and Glentangy; Miss Macdonald of Largie; and  George M’Niel of Ugadale.  The land was primarily used for, sheep, hogs, potatoes, oats, peas, beans, bear, and cattle.  The population in 1801 was 2520.  The population 1841 was 2401.  The decrease of population can only be attributed to the suppression of Smuggling. There are 2 churches in the parish.  There are no known  disenters.
This account was written in 1843.

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 Killean and Kilchenzie. 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 Killean and Kilchenzie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index               
1841 1042717
1851 1042351 941.39 X2a
1861 103796
1871 103953
1881 203558 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220168

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: 1762-1854 1041070 items 1-2
Marriages: 1783-1854 1041070 items 1-2
Deaths: No entries

Condition of Original Records—[edit | edit source]

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: The record is incomplete May 1779–March 1784. During that time there were irregular entries of eight families on six pages dated 1762–1830; also irregular entries of four families 1756–1800 and on two pages after 1791; irregular entries of two families, 1789–1811 at July 1795; irregular entries of three families 1798–1840 and on two pages at February 1802; and irregular entries of one family, 1805–1812, at March 1809. Mothers' names were not recorded until 1784.
Marriages: The first page is a copy. The second and third pages are slightly imperfect.
Deaths: There are three entries for ministers of Killean in 1790, 1798, and 1851 on the flyleaf of the register of births. Two entries of deaths and burials, 1816 and 1832, occur on page 131 of the register of births.
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:

There are no known records.

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.


Killean Free church[edit | edit source]

Adherents of the Free Church in the parish formed this congregation at the Disruption. At first they worshiped either under a canvas tent or in the open air on the seashore. Mainly through the exertions of the minister, a church, manse and school were erected in 1846.
Membership: 1848, 188; 1900, 71.
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.

Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

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]

Killean and Kilchenzie 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 Argyoll. 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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