Bracadale, Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #109 

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

History[edit | edit source]

BRACADALE, a parish, in the Isle of Skye, county of Inverness, 12 miles (S. E.) from Dunvegan. This parish is washed on the south and south-west by the sea. The church, built in 1831, is conveniently situated near the public road, and contains between 500 and 600 sittings.[1]

The name of the parish, which appears to be compounded of the Celtic adjective breac (spotted), and the Norse word, dale (field), has been the same from time immemorial.

It is bounded on the south and south-west by the sea; on the north, by the parish of Duirinish; on the east by the parishes of Snizort and Portree; and on the south-east by the parish of Strath.

The staple produce of the parish is sheep and cattle, on which considerable attention is bestowed.

At the time of the last Statistical Account, the population was 2250 souls. By the last census it was 1769, and since that period there has been a farther decrease. This decrease is solely to be ascribed to the system of farming which has for some time been adopted, namely, throwing a number of farms into one large tack for sheep-grazing, and dispossessing and setting adrift the small tenants.

The parochial register is but of a recent date, and is regularly kept as the present state of the law will admit; for, without a legislative enactment rendering it imperative on parties to register births and deaths, no regularity can ever be expected in the matter.

 The parish church is situated in a hollow spot of ground on the north side of a small arm of Loch Bracadale, called Lochbeg.      It was built in 1831 and affords accommodation to between 500 and 600 sitters, of which is free. The manse was built about forty years ago, and received some additions and repairs in 1828.

This account was written December 1840.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Bracadale,  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 Bracadale, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
1042640 Item 4
1042067 E.D. 1-12.
6344852 (3 fiche)
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]


Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1802-1854 0990718 item 2
Marriages: 1802-1854 0990718 item 2
Deaths: 1834-1839 0990718 item 2


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.
Birth: The record proper begins August 1803, but there is a separate register for Minginish commencing August 1802. There is a draft of the former 1813–1819. Marriage record proper begins January 1803. There is one entry for both 1809 and 1810; two entries for 1812; none for 1813; two for 1815, 1816, and 1818 respectively. There is a separate record for Minginish January 1802–1818. A large portion of the entries dated between January and March of each year.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[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:

Bracadale Kirk session records, 1800-1919
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/783.

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.

Bracadale Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of Bracadale, with his congregation, adhered to the Free Church in 1843. He was immediately translated to Musselburgh, but another minister was settled in December 1843. Steps were taken for the building of a new church in the end of 1854.
Membership:1855, 400.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1943-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 Vols. pub. 1914 Film #918572 More details may be given in the source, including a list of ministers.

No known pre-1855 records.

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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Bracadale was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of The Isles 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 The Isles.

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.