Lochranza, Bute, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Buteshire Gotoarrow.png Lochranza

Parish #556

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


The island of Arran was thickly wooded in the past and became a favourite resort of the Scottish kings, for pursuing the diversion of the chase; and the castle of LOCH RANZA, of which the remains denote its former magnificence, was erected as a hunting-seat by one of the Stuarts, prior to the year 1380. A chapel in connexion with the Established Church was erected at Loch Ranza, about the year 1782, by the Duke of Hamilton, for the accommodation of both the parishes of Arran; it contains 400 sittings. The church at Loch Ranza is open to the inhabitants of both the parish of Kilbride and Loch Ranza. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

For a history of Lochranza, see Kilmory parish.

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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. 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.

Ckick here[low quality link] for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the 1851-1891 census records of Lochranza.  The 1841 census of this parish is missing.

Below is information for any known available surname indexes.

Year Surname Index
1841     None
1851 book 941.39 X2a; fiche 6344851 (set of 3)
1861 None
1871 None
1881 fiche 6086532
1891 None

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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      Family History Library Film Number
Births:        1732-1841            1041084 items 1–2
Marriages: 1802-1846            1041084 items 1–2
Deaths:      No Entries

Condition of Original Registers—

Births: No birth entries October 1734–August 1738, except one entry, October 1791–January 1793, and June 1796–April 1799.
Marriages: First page of marriages is partially illegible due to dampness.
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:

There are no known pre-1855 records.

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.

There are no known pre-1855 churches or records.

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 record.

Probate Records

Lochranza 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 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.

See also Kilmory parish.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 1-22. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.

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