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Kilmodan, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #522

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


History[edit | edit source]

KILMODAN, a parish, in the district of Cowal, county of Argyll, 16 miles (N. W. by N.) from Rothesay. This place derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Modan, soon after the introduction of Christianity into Britain. The church, which is conveniently situated, was built in 1783. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church.[1]

    After the introduction of Christianity nto the country, the place of worship was consecrated to St. Modan and called Kilmadan.  This parish gave birth, in 1698 to a very able mathematician, Colin Maclaurin.  The major land owners were: Angus Fletcher, Esq. of Dunans; Archiball Campbell, Esq. of Glendaruell; Donald M’Chananich Esq. of Auchadachiranbeg; and Mungo N. Campbell, Esq. of  Ballimore.  The land was primarily used for,  Moorland pasture, sheep, salmon and trout fishing, and potatoes.  The population in 1801 was 502.  The population in 1841 was 578.  The registers of births and baptisms commences in 1737; marriages in 1737; church collections in 1745.  In the parish 48 families belong to the Established Church, and 41 are Dissenters.
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 Kilmodan. 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 Kilmodan as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index           
1841 1042717
1851 1042352 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: 1737-1854 1041071 item 3-4
Marriages: 1737-1854 1041071 item 3-4
Deaths: 1786-1799 1041071 item 3-4

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: There are no entries December 1738–May 1744, July 1744–July 1745, August 1749–June 1760, and January 1767–July 1768. The page at 1775 is imperfect. No entries appear February 1781–June 1782. After December 1786, irregular entries on three pages are dated 1777–1819. One family, 1767–1783, is recorded after July 1789 and four families, 1786–1821, are recorded on two pages after August 1810. The record is incomplete 1811–1813.
Marriages: There is only one entry (1742) July 1742–February 1744 and one entry March 1745–January 1747. Except one entry for 1768, the record is blank February 1750–January 1770. After June 1790, except one entry of marriage for 1792, the record is one of "Consignations," the name of the bride being generally omitted until January 1793. Only two entries appear April 1805–February 1807.
Deaths: The record consists of mortcloth dues, and dates are often omitted.
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 1745–1749, 1752–1755, 1767–1904
Communion Roll 1835–1875
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/949.

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.


Kilmodan and Southall Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of the parish and a great body of the people, including all the elders, left the Established Church in 1843. They were refused the use of all facilities for the erection of a place of worship. Finally, one of the elders donated a small property in Glendaruel, where a church was built in the autumn of 1843. Mr. Campbell of Southhall, at the southern extremity of the parish, provided a temporary house for the minister, and placed at the latter's disposal a small church which had been built for the convenience of his tenant. There he gathered a second congregation. The minister was formally inducted in 1844 and the congregations of Kilmodan and Southhall were united under his charge. The Established Church authorities attempted to deprive the congregation of the use of the Southhall church but the attempt was frustrated. A manse was erected at a point between the two churches, which are 10 miles apart.
Membership: 1848, 54; 1900, 75.
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 1844–1854
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1409.

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]

Kilmodan 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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