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Kilcalmonell and Kilberry, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish  #516

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


History[edit | edit source]

KILCALMONELL and KILBERRY, a parish, in the county of Argyll; containing the village of Tarbert. The former of these two ancient parishes, now united, derives its name from the Gaelic term signifying "the burial-place of Malcolm O'Neill." The word Kilberry is by some traced to the compound term Cill-a-Mhairi, "the burial-place of Mary." The church of Kilcalmonell was built about the year 1760; that of Kilberry in 1821: the former contains 600 sittings, and the latter 700. A chapel is supported at Tarbert by Royal Bounty; and the Independents have a place of worship.[1]

      Tarbert is the nearest town.  The major land owners were: John Campbell Esq. of Kilberry; John Campbell Esq. of Stonefield; and Miss MacDonald, Lorgie.  The land was primarily used for, potatoes, and herring fishing.  The population in 1843 was about 1200.  The parish records were not kept until the year 1780.  The Kilcalmonell church built about 1763. It seats about 600. The Kilberry church seats about 700.  There is an independent Meeting House with about 20 members.
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 Kilcalmonell and Kilberry. 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 Kilcalmonell and Kilberry as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index           
1841 1042716
1851 1042351 941.39 X2a
1861 103796
1871 103953
1881 203557 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)



 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: 1777-1854 1041068 item 3-4
Marriages: 1784-1854 1041068 item 3-4
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: Kilcalmonell: the first ten pages of the record, covering July 1777–May 1783, are headed “Tarbert” and were not kept by the same person who kept the registers of the parish of Kilcalmonell, which commenced April 1783. Mothers' names are not recorded, except in the portion for Tarbert, 1777–1783. Kilberry records were kept separate from those of Kilcalmonell after 1824.
Marriages: Kilcalmonell: this contains a record of persons booked in order to marriage.
Kilberry: the records were kept separate from those of Kilcalmonell after 1824.
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:

Minutes 1821–1833, 1844–1899
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1423.

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.


Tarbert Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation dates from the Disruption, and a minister was settled soon after. The congregation worshiped for two years in the churchyard until a church was built about 1845.
Membership: 1848, 180; 1900, 141.
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.

There are no known pre-1855 records.
Note: The Statistical Account of Scotland, for Kilcalmonell and Kilberry for 1843, states that there was an Independent meeting house in the parish, erected some twenty or thirty years earlier, where the minister officiated every alternate Sunday. The number of members was about twenty. No further information is available.

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]

Kilcalmonell and Kilberry  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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