To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

North Knapdale, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Parish #530

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


History[edit | edit source]

KNAPDALE, NORTH, a parish, in the district of Islay, county of Argyll, 8 miles (W. S. W.) from Lochgilphead. This place, of which the name, in the Celtic language, is accurately descriptive of the surface of the land, diversified with hill and dale, was in 1734 created a separate parish, as was also South Knapdale. The two districts previously formed one parish, called Kilvic-O-Charmaig after Mac-O-Charmaig, an Irish saint who, from his solitary retirement on a small island off the coast, founded several chapels in the neighbourhood. There are two churches, in which the minister officiates alternately. The church of Kilmichael-Inverlussay is a neat structure, erected in 1819, and contains 432 sittings; the church of Tayvallich, on the opposite shore of Loch Swein, distant from Kilmichael three miles by sea and ten by land, was erected in 1827, and contains 700 sittings.[1]

     The whole district of Knapdale formed originally one parish, called Cil mhic O charmaig, the burying ground of the son of O’Carmaig. In 1734 the district was divided into North and South.  Lochgilphead is the nearest town.   O’Carmaig was an Irish saint, who founded the first church in Knapdale.   The major land owners were: Neil Malcolm, Esq. of Poltalloch; James A. Campbell, Esq. of Inverneill and Ross; and Colonel J.D.B. Elphinstone of Carsaig.  The land was primarily used for, sheep, cattle, oats, horses, corn, and barley.  The population in 1801 was 2401.  The population in 1841 was 2170.   The earliest date of the parish register is 1775, but was not kept regularly until 1816.  There are 2 churches in the parish.

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 North Knapdale. 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 North Knapdale as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index               
1841 1042718 941.38/N1 X22g 1841
1851 1042354 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: 1779-1819 1041074 items 7-8
1819-1854 1041075
Marriages: 1779-1781, 1800-1819 1041074 items 7-8
1820-1854 1041075
Deaths; 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: Irregular entries for 1781–1799 are recorded at December 1799. The record is incomplete May 1807–October 1808.
Marriages: There are no entries except two for 1791–1798, June 1781–June 1800 and April 1802–January 1810. An erasure occurs at the end of the entry dated May 26, 1810.
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 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.


North Knapdale Free Church
[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed at the Disruption, but there were many difficulties to contend with in this broken and scattered district, and suitable sites for a building were refused. North and South Knapdale were sanctioned as one charge in 1845. Later it was found better to unite South Knapdale with Kilberry. The church was built in 1844 and the manse about 1854. A church was also erected at Bellanoch in 1874. A new church was built at Knapdale in 1899–1900.
Membership: 1855, 13; 1900, 42.
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.

No known pre-1855 records exist.

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]

North Knapdale 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.

Return to the Argyllshire Parish List