Clyne, Sutherland, Scotland Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Parish # 45

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

History[edit | edit source]

CLYNE, a parish, in the county of Sutherland, 6 miles (N. E.) from Golspie; containing the village of Brora. This parish is about twenty-four miles in length, from north-west to south-east, and from six to eight in breadth, and contains 65,000 acres; it is bounded on the south-east by the German Ocean. The church, a plain structure, was built about the year 1770; it was repaired and enlarged about 1827, and will accommodate nearly 1000 persons with sittings. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church.[1]

The origin of the name of this parish comes from the Gaelic word Cluain, meaning a meadow. It is bounded on the south-west by the parish of Golspie; on the west by Rogart; on the north by Kildonan; on the north-east by Loth, and on the south-east by the German ocean.

Dornoch is the nearest market-town, being about thirteen miles from the parish, but half-yearly markets are held in Golspie, only four miles away. Brora in the only village, and contains 280 inhabitants. A market is held at Brora in October, which is attended by the people of this parish and neighboring parishes. Shopkeepers come from a distance, erect tents to display their goods, and a great many cattle and horses change owners.

The chief historical event of importance which took place in this parish, was the change in the occupation of the parish by removal of the small tenants from the interior to the coast side, and, with it, consequences to the inhabitants in their comforts and habits.

When the small tenants were removed from the interior, lots were marked off for each of them, containing in every instance from a quarter to an acre of old land, and to this was added about two acres of moor-ground, which they were to improve. There is no district of country in Scotland where such an entire change has taken place in the habits, character, and pursuits of the inhabitants, as in this and the other parts of the county forming the estate of Sutherland. They were quite a rural, a moral, and a happy population, inhabiting beautifully romantic and sequestered glens in the interior, far removed from the bustle of the world.

The population of the parish has varied little since the year 1792, owing to the change which has taken place in the system of farming, the glens and interior being converted into sheep-walks; the inhabitants being removed to the sea coast, and some of them having emigrated to North America. The coal-works commenced in 1812, and caused a considerable increase of the population from 1600, to 1874 persons.

The inhabitants of the parish have acquired a taste for evangelical preaching, and cherish a warm attachment towards the Established Church. No dissenting preacher has attempted to gain a footing in the parish, and there is neither a professed Dissenter nor Roman Catholic in the parish. No mention is made of any registers of birth, or marriages.

The parish church, which is the only place of public worship, is conveniently situated in the centre of the population, the whole inhabitants, with the exception of the dwellings of shepherds, being within less than three miles away. It contains from 800 to 1000 sittings which are free, as is the case all over the Duke of Sutherland’s property, in this county and in Ross-shire.

This account was written October 1840.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland  for Clyne, FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 15.

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
[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household.  The Scottish government began taking censuses in 1801 but the first one that lists all persons in a household by name is the 1841.  Census records are not available to the public until one hundred years have passed.  Read more about census records.

Click here[low quality link] to go to the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Clyne.  The Family History Library has a surname index to the 1881 census of the whole of Sutherland county.

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
[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]

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1782-1854 FHL 0990560 Item 2
Marriages: 1817-1854 FHL 0990560 Item 2
Death: No entries None

 Condition of Original Registers—
[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: records prior to 1782 are apparently lost.  There are no entries February-September 1812.  There is a regular record for 1813-1814, but three entries for 1814-1815 are found on the page before the record for 1782.
Marriages: There is one entry for 1787 found on the page of baptisms for 1812-1813.  There is one entry for 1805 and two for 1844 on one page and one incomplete entry for 1815 on a fragment of a page prefixed to page beginning May 1817.  The earlier records of the parish appear to have been lost.
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 he 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.

There are no known surviving Kirk session records for this parish.

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.

Clyne Free Church[edit | edit source]

George Mackay, minister of the parish, "came out" in 1843, and brought a large congregation with him.  For a time they worshiped in a wooden structure.  A church and manse were built in 1849, and a hall in 1880.
Membership: 1855, 700; 1900, 90.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Civil Registration
[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]

Clyne was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Caithness until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dornoch. 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 Sutherland and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Caithness.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Sutherland. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Sutherland 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: 7 August 2014.

Return to Sutherland parish list.