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Campbeltown, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

Parish #507

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



This parish  consists of the ancient parishes of Kilkerran, Kilmichael, Kilkerran and Kilchousland. Soon after the Reformation, they were united and called the parish of Lochhead. Changed to Campbelton about 1687.  The villages of Dalintober, and Campbelton are the nearest towns.  The Dalrhudinian monarchs reigned in this country.  The major land owners were: The Duke of Argyle, M’Neil of Ugadale, Golbreath of Machirchanich, Campbell of Askomil, and Kilpatrick of Chescan.  The land was primarily used for farming.  The population in 1795 was 8706, and in 1841 was 9539.  The date of the earliest entry of parochial registers is 1682, and has been regularly kept since then.  There are two parish churches, one in Gaelic and the other English. There are within the parish a Relief Church, an independent meeting house, and a Roman Catholic chapel.

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 [parish]. 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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Campbeltown as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available: 

Years FHL Film Number Surname Index           
1841        1042715 none
1851 1042349 941.39 X2a
1861 103795 none
1871 103951 none
1881 203555 6086508 (set of 4 fiche)
1891 208803 none

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

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 RegistersEdit

 Years Covered  FHL Film Number
Births: 1659-1773 1041003 item 8
1682-1822 1041004
1728-1732 1747-1776 1041004
1776-1855 1041005
Marriages: 1681-1771 1041033 item 8
1682-1798 1041004
1728-1731 1749-1776 1041004
1776-1854 1041005'
Deaths: 1773-1819 1041004
1817-1854 1041005


Condition of Original Records—Edit

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 be indexed in FamilySearch Records.
Births: Births are recorded in parallel columns with marriages until 1718 and on alternate or occasional pages 1718–1771. The record is blank except a few entries for 1794 and 1798, August 1792–1808, but the entries for that period appear to have been inserted in volume 4 of FHL #1041004. The above applies to the Lowland (English speaking) congregation of Campbeltown. The pages at the beginning and in different parts of the record prior to 1774 are in many cases illegible. There are also records for the Highlands (Gaelic speaking) congregation of Campbeltown from June 1728. There are no entries December 1732–December 1747, except one entry for 1737. Separate records of births and marriages start from 1776.
Marriages: Recorded in parallel columns with births until 1718, and on alternate or occasional pages 1718–1771. A separate record of marriages appears after November 1771, and only one entry, 1798, after April 1792. The above apply to the Lowland congregation of Campbeltown. The pages at the beginning and at different parts of the record prior to 1774 have suffered much from want of care, and many entries are illegible. There are also records of marriages for the Highland congregation of Campbeltown from June 1728. The marriages prior to 1776 were recorded on occasional pages of the register of baptisms. There are no records July 1731–January 1749.
Deaths:The record is irregular and defective prior to 1808. Only about 20 entries exist previous to that date. Only 32 entries exist 1817–1854.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session RecordsEdit

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:

Minutes 1821–1890
Account book 1744–1810
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/50.

Nonconformist Church RecordsEdit

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.


Campbeltown Relief, later United Presbyterian ChurchEdit

When an unfavorable minister was appointed in 1766, some members left the Established church, built their own building, and applied to have it designated as a Chapel of Ease to the parish church. When this was denied them, they applied to the Presbytery of Relief and were accepted as a congregation.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Various minutes 1767–1847
Communion Rolls 1838–1867
Young communicants Rolls 1843–1877
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1421.

Campbeltown United Secession Church, extinct in 1847

Campbeltown was selected in 1831 as a preaching station by the Glasgow association for the Spread of the Gospel in connection with the Secession Church. In 1832 forty residents of the area petitioned the United Associate Presbytery of Glasgow to be organized as a congregation, which was granted. This congregation ceased to exist when it incorporated with the Relief congregation at the time that the United Secession Church and the Presbytery of Relief united in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Extent of the pre-1855 records is unknown.

Lochend Free Church

The two ministers of the English and Gaelic Collegiate charges and a large proportion of the congregation left the Established Church in 1843. Two churches were soon erected, but the congregation was still regarded as one. In 1867 the two portions were disjoined and made separate charges, the English called Lochend, and the Gaelic called Lorne Street.
Membership: 1869, 325; 1900, 442.
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.

Various Committee Minutes 1843–1868, 1874–1917
Accounts 1841–1842, 1843–1886
Cash Book 1846–1879
Non-intrusion and other Committee Minutes 1841–1844
Members of Non-intrusion Association 1841
Communion Roll 1843–1862
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/1047.

Campbeltown Independent Church

A congregation was formed in 1805 and ceased to meet about 1864.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. FHL book 941 K2es. More details are given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

Campbeltown Roman Catholic Church

A church was formed in 1816 and dedicated in 1850.

No records are known to survive before 1879. Presumably earlier records were kept but lost.

Civil Registration RecordsEdit

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 RecordsEdit

Campbeltown 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.

Return to the Argyllshire Parish List