Eddrachillis, Sutherland, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish # 49

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

History[edit | edit source]

EDDRACHILLIS, a parish, in the county of Sutherland, 15 miles (N. N. W.) from Assynt; including the islands of Handa and Scourie, and the late quoad sacra district of Keanlochbervie. The Celtic name of this place, Eadarda-chaolas, signifies "between two kyles or arms of the sea," and is descriptive of the situation of the main part of the parish between the kyle of Scow, which separates Eddrachillis from Assynt on the south, and the kyle of Laxford. The church is a plain edifice, built upwards of a century ago, and thoroughly repaired in the nineteenth century; it is a commodious edifice in very excellent condition, and contains 275 sittings. There is also a good church at Keanlochbervie, to which a quoad sacra district was annexed by act of parliament in the 5th of George IV. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

The name is Celtic, being Eadar-da-chaolus, literally signifying between two friths or inlets of the sea. The parish of Edderachillis is situated on the north-west coast of the county of Sutherland, along the shores of the Atlantic, being a portion of the Reay country, commonly called “Duthaich-mhio-Aoidh”. It is bounded on the south, by Kylesku, Loch Glencoul, parish of Assynt, and some of Creich; on the west by the Atlantic ocean; on the south, by the parish of Durness; and on the east, partly by Durness, and partly by the parish of Lairg.

Edderachillis was part of the barony of Skelbo. It was disposed by Hugo Freskyn de Moravia, ancestor of the Duke of Sutherland, 1186-1203, to his brother, Bishop Gilbert Moray, who in 1235 disposed it to his brother Richard Moray of Culbyn, the property changed hands two or three times more and finally in 1829 it was restored to the Sutherland family.

Nothing is known of Edderachillis as a parish, earlier than 1726, the date of its erection, except that, before that time, it formed part of the parish of Durness, and was disjoined on an application to the General Assembly by the heritor, Lord Reay, and Mr. John Mackay, minister of Durness, and endowed by a fund arising from the tithes, and a general subscription over Scotland.

A native of this parish that is noteworthy is Lieutenant-General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, the famous Commander-in-Chief of the time of King William and Mary. He was born in 1640, fought against Dundee at the battle of Killicrankie, and fought in Ireland in the battle of Shannon.

The Duke of Sutherland is sole proprietor of the parish since 1829.

The population in 1792 was 1024, and the last census of 1831, showed 1965.

Crops raised in the parish consist of potatoes, bear or big, and oats. The breed of sheep on the large farms is a pure Cheviot, to which great attention is paid. The sheep in the hands of small tenants is a cross between the native breed of small black-faced sheep and the Cheviot.

There are no traces of a parochial record having been kept prior to 1819. From that period, births and marriages have been carefully recorded.

The whole of the population is of the Church of Scotland, and there are no Dissenting or Seceding families in the parish. There are two churches; one at Badcall, and another at Keanlochbervie, both commodious, and in excellent repair.

This account was written August 1840.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Eddrachillis, Family History Library 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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  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.

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

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Histoy Library Film Number
Births: 1808-1854 0990562 Item 2
Marriages: 1808-1854 0990562Item 2
Deaths: 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: There are only seven entries from June 1816–1820. From 1820–1854 the record is kept with reference to the various localities where the parents resided.
Marriages: There are only eleven entries prior to 1820.
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.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

The extent of records is unknown.

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.

Eddrachillis Free Church[edit | edit source]

George Tulloch, minister of the parish, and all the people save four families, adhered to the Free Church in 1843. For several years they worshiped in a hollow near the seashore. Church and manse were completed at Scourie in 1846. A number seceded to the Free Presbyterians in 1893, and in 1900 a few remained outside the Union.
Membership: 1855, 272; 1900, 17.
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.

Kinlochbervie Free Church[edit | edit source]

A large majority of the population adhered to the Free Church in 1843, although the minister of the Parliamentary Church stayed in the Establishment. Regular supply was given. Church and manse were built in 1846. Both were renovated in 1882. A minister was settled in 1848. A small section seceded in 1892 because of the Declaratory Act. Fishermen and crofters formed the bulk of the congregation. The population tended to decrease.
Membership: 1855, 350; 1900, 22.
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.

No known pre–1855 records.

Civil Registration
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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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Eddrachillis 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 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.