Ardersier, Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish # 91

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

History[edit | edit source]

ARDERSIER, a parish, in the county of Inverness; containing the village of Campbelton, and the garrison of Fort-George. This place, called, in ancient documents, Ardrosser, is supposed to have derived its name from a bold promontory, towards the western shore, which rises to a height of 200 feet above the level of the sea. The church, situated in the eastern part of the parish, was built in 1802, and is a neat structure. There are places of worship for Old Seceders and members of the Free Church.[1]

It is pronounced in Gaelic “Ardnasaor,” which may signify, “the height of the carpenter;” tradition having preserved a vague story, that several carpenters were drowned in the ferry, during the period that the cathedral of Chanonry was being built. Although this derivation is plausible, it may reasonably be supposed that the parish had a name before this accident befell the craftsman. So far back as the year 1226, in a deed of agreement between the Bishops of Moray and Ross, affecting this parish, and transcribed in the “Registrum Moraviense,” it is written “Ardrosser.” This is probably derived from the Gaelic Ard, high, Ross, a promontory or peninsula, and iar, west; or the adjunct may be an arbitrary termination.

Of the early history of the parish not much is known. Among the documents in Cawdor Castle is a disposition dated 1574, “of the lands and barony of Ardersier, fishing of salmon, and other fishing commonly called Fisher’s croft."

The late Dr. John Mackintosh, Lecturer on the Theory and Practice of Physic in Edinburgh, and the author of two volumes on the “Pathology and Practice of Physic,” and of a monograph on “Puerperal Fever,” received his early education in this parish. Some of the following gentlemen were born in the parish; the others received their early education in the school of Campbelton; the late Admiral Sir Patrick Campbell, K. C. B., and his brother, General Sir Colin Campbell, Governor of Ceylon; the late General Sir Alexander Caldwell, E.I.C.S; Colonel Sir Alexander Anderson, C. B.; Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan Macpherson, and his brother, the late Captain George Macpherson, R. N.

The whole parish belongs to the Earl of Cawdor, with the exception of the precinct of the fort, purchased by Government about 1746.

A century ago Ardersier was so thinly peopled that it was called “the parish of six”. Dr. Webster’s return of the population amounted to 428, by the census of the present year it is 1477. This number includes the garrison. The yearly average of births for the last seven years is 22, marriages is 12, and there is not register of deaths kept. The earliest entry in the parochial registers is June 1719; they are regularly kept.

This account was written September 1841.

 Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Ardesier Family History Library 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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish you are interested in. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records
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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 Ardersier, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6344852  3 fiche)
0103833 (vault)
6086593 (4 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on 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.

Church Records
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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]

Return Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births 1719-1854 0990663
Marriages: 1740-1854 0990663
Deaths: No entries none


Condition of Original Registers—
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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: No birth entries September 1720–May 1722, July 1723–December 1726, one for November 1734–October 1736, May 1737–April 1739, and January 1743–March 1747. Between the record for 1764 and 1765 there are nine pages of entries for 1761–1778. Nearly all of these entries are again entered in their proper places. Entries from 1800–1803 are recorded twice. There is a separate record for Fort George from 1798, with irregular entries on the first two pages from 1791.
Marriages: There are no marriage entries October 1744–April 1746, October 1746–January 1748, January 1748–January 1749; one entry for November 1751–July 1753 and three entries for 1784–1788. There is a separate record for Fort George from 1793. Entries on the first two pages are irregular as to dates.
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 and Accounts 1764–1801, 1822–1840
Minutes 1729–1730, 1841–1883
Collections 1764
Poors' Fund Account 1803–1806
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1345.

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.

Ardersier Free Church[edit | edit source]

The manse was built in 1846, the stones having to be brought ten miles by sea, and then carted to the site. The church was built in 1856.
Membership: 1855, 48; 1900, 105.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols, pub. 1914. Film #918572.
Minutes 1843–1900
Note: Available at Free Church Offices, Edinburgh.

Campbelton United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

Campbelton is a village in the parish of Ardersier and county of Inverness, The congregation of this place originated in the generous offer of a member of the Episcopal Church, resident in the village, who, in addition to liberal pecuniary aid, gave gratuitously the use of the infant school to persons disposed to assemble in it for religious worship. Campbelton received supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Elgin in 1842. The adherents to the cause were organized as a congregation in December 1843. They purchased the school, in which they had met, in 1847, and enlarged it in 1849, rendering it capable of accommodating 160 sitters.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618.

The extent of records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records
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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
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Ardersier was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Inverness until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Inverness. 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 Inverness-shire and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Inverness.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Inverness-shire. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Inverness-shire 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: 3 July 2014.

Return to Inverness-shire parish list.