Kirkhill, Inverness, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Inverness-shire Gotoarrow.png Kirkhill

Parish #103 

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


KIRKHILL, a parish, in the Mainland district of the county of Inverness, 6 miles (W.) from Inverness. This place, which consists of the two united parishes of Wardlaw and Farnua, derives its name from the situation of its church on a hill; its Gaelic name refers to the dedication of its church to the Virgin Mary. The church, originally erected in 1220, on Wardlaw or St. Mary's Hill, was taken down, and rebuilt near the former site, in 1791, and is in good repair. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

Kirkhill consists of two united parishes, called Wardlaw and Farnua. Wardlaw is the name of the hill on which the church was built, and is a corruption of the Gaelic Bar-tla, that is, “kindly summit.” Farnua or Fearnaie, as it is called in Gaelic, is probably derived from the word fearn, signifying “allar,” because the parish did and still does abound with allar trees. The name of the united parishes in Gaelic is Cnoemhoir, or “Mary’s hill.” In the neighborhood, it is called, by way of eminence, the Hill: hence the English translation of it, Kirkhill.

The mansion-houses in the parish are those of Newton, Lentram, Auchnagairn, Fingask, and Reelick.

A considerable number of vessels land at two places on the Beauly Firth, namely, Fopachy and Wester Lovat; but there is no harbor nor any proper sort of landing-place. These import lime and coals, and export timber and grain. These vessels are schooners, brigs, and sloops.

There are two kinds of parochial registers; one for marriages, the other for births. The marriages commenced in January 1817, and the birth records in the latter part of July 1755.

The whole population belongs to the Established Church, with the exception of six families; and there are five families of Roman Catholics. 

This account was written September 1841.

 Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland, for Kirkhill FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 14.

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 you are interested in. 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 Kirkhill, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6344852 (3 fiche)
6086593 (4 fiche)

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


Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1726-1854 0990712
Marriages: 1784-1854 0990712
Deaths: 1783-1801 0990712


Condition of Original Registers—

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: The first page contains entries for February–May 1726. Following is a fragment of a page with entries dated January–March 1727 and one entry for July 1729, after which, except one entry for 1745 and one for 1749, there is a blank until July 1753.
Marriages: There are no entries, except two entries 1808-1813, 1798–January 1817.
Deaths: There are only two entries recorded after June 1786, dated 1795 and 1801.
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 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 1707–1709, 1748–1790
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/675.

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.

Kirkhill Free Church

Alexander Fraser, who had succeeded his father and grandfather as minister of the parish, "came out" with practically all his people in 1843. In prospect of the Disruption a site had been secured, and on this a wooden church was erected for immediate use. It sufficed for the English service; but the Gaelic service had to be held in the open air so great were the Number attending. A substantial church and manse were built without delay.
Membership: 1848, 130; 1900, 79.
Source:  Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 Vols. pub. 1914 Film #918572 Source contains a list of ministers.

Records—                                                              Family History Library Film Number
Church Records, Including Baptisms, 1843–1854       1068234 item 4
Communion Rolls 1842–1939
New Communicants Lists 1837–1905
Accounts 1843–1910
Other post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1415.

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

Kirkhill] was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Inverness until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Inverness. 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 Inverness-shire and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Inverness.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Inverness-shire. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Inverness-shire 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 30 July 2014.

Return to Inverness-shire parish list.