Tarbat, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
Parish # 83
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Tarbat. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
TARBAT, a parish, in the district of Mainland, county of Ross and Cromarty, 10 miles (E. by N.) from Tain; containing the villages of Balnabruach, Portmahomack, and Rockfield. This parish, which occupies the eastern peninsula of the county, terminating in the narrow point of Tarbat Ness, is bounded on the east and south-east by the Moray Frith, and on the north by the Frith of Dornoch. The church was repaired in the nineteenth century. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.
The parish of Tarbat occupies the eastern promontory of the shire of Ross, being bounded on the south and east by the Murray Firth, and on the north by the Dornoch Firth.
The only parochial registers in existence is a book in which minutes of the kirk-session are kept, and another in which births and marriages are recorded. The earliest entry in the first is in 1750, and in the second, 1801.
The land-owners are: Geanies, Mackay of Rockfield, Mackenzie Ross of Aldie, and Macleod of Cadboll.
The population in 1801 was numbered as 1343, and in 1831 increased to 1809 persons.
The whole population of the parish belong to the Established Church, with the exception of three families of Seceders, who are new to the parish.
This account was written December 1840.
Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Tarbat, 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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish you are interested in. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Tarbat, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| FHL Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 6037266 (6 fiche)|
|| 6086658 (4 fiche)|
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.
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||FHL Film Numbers|
|Birth:||1801-1854||0990659 item 2|
|Marriage:||1809-1854||0990659 item 2|
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.
Note: These records appear to have been regularly kept.
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:
Baptisms 1823–1851 - with gaps
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/350.
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.
Tarbat Free Church
The minister and nearly all the congregation adhered to the Free Church in 1843. The church and manse were completed in 1845. A new church was later built in 1893. This was a very large congregation but it suffered heavily through rural depopulation and failure of the fishing industry.
Membership:1855, 900; 1900, 142.
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.
The extent of the records is unknown.
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.
Tarbat was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Ross until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Ross & Cromarty. 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 Ross & Cromarty and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Ross.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Ross & Cromarty. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Ross & Cromarty and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 1 August 2014.
Return to Ross & Cromarty parish list.