Glenelg, Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Glenelg #97 

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

History[edit | edit source]

GLENELG, a parish, in the county of Inverness, 188½ miles (N. W.) from Edinburgh; containing the island of Rassay. The name of this place, according to some, signifies "the valley of hunting," and according to others, "the valley of the roe," each of which descriptions is appropriate to the character of the district. The church contains about 400 sittings, and is in good condition, having been repaired and re-seated about 1827. In the districts of Knodyart and Morir, the population of which is almost entirely Roman Catholic, a missionary labours under the patronage of the General Assembly, also preaching every third Sunday at Arnisdale, on account of its distance from the parish church. Two Roman Catholic priests officiate in Knodyart and Morir.[1]

Glenelg is the ancient and modern name derived or compounded of Gleann and seilg, signifying the valley of hunting or glean and elid signifying the valley of the roe.

The parish is about 20 miles in length, and the same in breadth, bounded on the N.E. and E. by the parish of Glensheal, county of Ross; on the S. E. and S. by Glengarry and Lochaber; on the S.W. by lake Morar, separating it from Ardnamurchan; and on the W. and N.W. by the sound of Sleat, separating it from the Isle of Skye.

The landowners of the parish were The Right Honourable Baron Glenelg of Glenelg, Eneas Ranaldson Macdonell, Esq. of Clanranald and Glengarry, T.A. Fraser, Esq. of Lovat, proprietor of North Morar.

The climate of the north-west coast of Scotland generally was unfit for agriculture. The land was used primarily for pasture for sheep and cattle.

The population of Glenelg district comprises nearly two-thirds of the whole parish and is exclusively Protestant except for a few families. 

This account was written in January 1836.

Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Glenelg, 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 Glenelg, 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]


Record Type
Years Covered
Family History Library Film Number
0990665 item 3
0990665 item 3
No entries


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: There are only eleven entries prior to 1805. After November 1818, there are several entries for 1816–1818. There are no entries 1831–1837 and one page contains entries for Knoydart for April 1827–July 1828. Entries are slightly irregular in regard to dates and the record prior to 1831 has been injured by dampness.
Marriages:  There are no entries for 1820 and 1823.
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 1831–1853
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/966.

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.

North Morar Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

In 1737 the parish of Glenelg, which included Knoydart and North Morar, had 1200 Catholics. In 1763 the whole Lochaber mission had 3000 communicants. I was known as Bracara from 1866.

Baptisms 1832–1874
Marriages 1832–1854
Note: Available online for a fee, at, Edinburgh, record MP/93.

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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Glenelg was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Argyle 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 Argyle.

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.