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Morvern, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #528

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


History[edit | edit source]

MORVERN, a parish, in the district of Mull, county of Argyll, 18 miles (W. S. W.) from Strontian. This place, which anciently formed part of the territory of the celebrated Somerled, Thane of Argyll, takes its name from the Gaelic term Mhor Earrain, signifying "the great division, mainland, or continent." There are two churches, as well as at several other stations. One of the churches was built in 1780, and the other in 1799; both are in good repair, and afford sufficient accommodation. A portion of the parish, at the head of Loch Sunart, has been united quoad sacra to the parliamentary parish of Strontian, in the parish of Ardnamurchan. A Roman Catholic chapel has lately been erected.[1]

     At a remote time this parish was known as Ceann Albin, the promontory or extremity of Albin.  Tobermory, and Oban are the nearest towns.  The parish is on three sides bounded by water.  The major land owners were: John Sinclair, Esq. of Lochalin; Mrs.Beattie, of Glen Morvern; Alexander Stewart, Esq. of Glen Crebisdale; and Sir Charles Gordon of Drimmnin.  The land was primarily used for, lead ore, stone quarry,  sheep,  potato,  oats, barley, turnips,  cattle, and  hay.  The population in 1795 was 1764.  The population in 1841 was 1781.  The parish registers are regularly kept, but do not extend from a very early period.  The number of families with the established church is 370; of Roman Catholic families 8; of professed Episcopalian families 2.
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 Morvern. 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 Morvern as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname                      
1841 1042718 941.38/M1 X22g 1841
1851 1042353 941.39 X2a
1861 103797
1871 103954
1881 203560 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220170

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: 1803-1854 1041074 items 3-4
1804-1854 1041074 items 3-4

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: They appear to have been regularly kept and are indexed.
Marriages: These records appear to have been regularly kept and are indexed.
Earlier records appear to have been lost.
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:

No known pre-1855 records are available.

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.


Morvern Roman Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

A church was built in Drimnin and dedicated to St. Columba in 1838. There were eight Catholic families within the parish in 1843.

Baptisms 1846–1886
Marriages 1846–1882
Deaths 1846–1885
No other known pre-1855 churches or records exist.
Note: Available online for a fee, at,  Edinburgh, record MP/46.

Earlier records from 1829 are found in Moidart, Inverness.

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]

Morvern 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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