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Torosay, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #550

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


History[edit | edit source]

TOROSAY, a parish, in the district of Mull, county of Argyll, 18 miles (W. by N.) from Oban; containing the late quoad sacra parish of Kinlochspelve, and part of that of Salen. This place derives its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "the country of hills and water," from the mountainous character of its surface, and the numerous indentations of its shores by arms of the sea. The church, erected in 1783, and repaired in 1832, is conveniently situated, and contains 280 sittings; there are also parliamentary churches at Kinlochspelve and Salen.[1]

     Torosay may signify a district diversified with hills of conical form, and lakes, either of fresh or salt water.  Oban is the nearest town.  A chain of mountains runs along its whole length.  The major land owners were: Colonel Campbell of Possil and Torosay; Lachlan Macquarie, Esq. of Glenforsa; His Grace George William Campbell, Duke of Argyle and Duncan M’Intyre, Esq. of Burg.  The land was primarily used for, oats, potatoes, turnips, bear, hay, sheep, amd cattle.  The population in 1790 was 1733.  The population in 1843 was 1889.  All the families in the parish with the exception of five attend the Establishment Church.  Of these two are Roman Catholic and three are Anabaptist. Two families of Dissenters reside in the parish.

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


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index                
1841 1042721
1851 1042356 941.39 X2a
1861 103798
1871 103955
1881 203563 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220174

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: 1772-1854 1041080 item 9
1842-1854 - Kinlochsplvie 1041080 item 10
Marriages: 1807-1854 1041080 item 9
1842-1854 - Kinlochsplvie 1041080 item 10
Deaths: See below


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: The regular record begins in December 1793 with only 15 entries prior to that date, 13 of one family 1771–1788 and two forming the beginning of a family of sixteen 1792–1816, on the first page of the register. Four irregular entries, 1832–1841 are also on page one. Separate records for the parish of Kinlochspelvie are kept after 1842.
Marriages: The record was regularly kept. One entry is dated 1791. Separate records were kept for the parish of Kinlochspelvie after 1842.
Deaths: Eleven dates of deaths, 1780–1838, have been added to the relative entries of births on the first page.
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:

There are no known records.

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.


There are no known records.

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]

Torosay 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: 30 May 2014.

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