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Kilninian and Kilmore, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #544

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

History[edit | edit source]

KILNINIAN and KILMORE, a parish, in the district of Mull, county of Argyll; comprising the late quoad sacra districts of Tobermory and Ulva, and part of Salen. These two ancient parishes, now united, and the names of which respectively express to what saints the churches were dedicated, chiefly occupy the northern part of the island of Mull. There are two churches, about seven miles distant from each other, the one situated at Kilninian, and containing 300 sittings, and the other at Kilmore, having 350; they were both erected in 1754, and thoroughly repaired in 1842. In the year 1827, two quoad sacra parishes were formed by the parliamentary commissioners, with a church and manse to each; and a part of the parish was added to the new quoad sacra parish of Salen.[1]

   The United Parishes of Ulva, Tobermory, and Part of Salen, are in the District of Mull.  Tobermary, Ulva are the nearest towns.  There is a great want of proper roads in the parish.  The major land owners were: Hugh Maclean, Esq. of Coll; Mrs. Clephane Maclean of Torloisk; Francis William Clark Esq. of Ulva; and Hugh MacAskill, Esq. of Calgarry.  The land was primarily used for, sheep, black .  The population in 1792  was 3281.  The population in 1837 was 4740.  In 1827 the Parliamentary Commissioners erected two parishes and planted a church in each. The united parish is now divided into 3 distinct parishes, viz. Kilninian, Ulv, and Tobermory.  There are 4 Dissenters and 1 Roman Catholic
This account was written in 1843. 
Source:New Statistical Account of Scotland (FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2 vol. 7) 

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 reports for Kilninian and Kilmore. 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. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Kilninian and Kilmore as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Film Number Surname Index
1841 1042720
1851 1042356 941.39 X2a
1861 103798
1871 103955
1881 203563 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220173

The 1901 and 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access 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]

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1766-1854 1041080 items 3-4
1828-1854 - Salen 1041080 item 7
1830-1854 - Tobermory 1041080 item 8
Marriages: 1766-1854 1041080 items3-4
1832-1854 - Salen 1041080 item 7
1830-1854 - Tobermory 1041080 item 8
Deaths: No entries

Condition of Original Records[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 and marriages: These two records are intermixed. Both records of birth and marriage appear to have been kept with care. After 1809 there are lists of children baptized by the various missionary ministers of Kilninian and Kilmore, Ulva and Salen. Tobermory appears to have been included in the Mission of Salen after 1817.
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:

Kilninian and Kilmore Minutes and accounts 1766–1828
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/493.

Tobermory Minutes 1844–1862
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/583.

Salen Minutes 1838–1857
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/1003.

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.

Kilninian and Kilmore Free Church (Ardow and Torloisk)[edit | edit source]

History—Immediately after the Disruption a congregation was formed in this district and a church was built at Ardow. The parish schoolmaster, Mr. MacDonald, was turned out of house and school because he adhered to the Free Church. No other house was available, so for a time he and his family were accommodated in the new church which was still without flooring. During service a part was curtained off for Mrs. MacDonald and the children. In 1864 a second church was built at Fanmore, Torloisk, about 6 miles from the first. The manse was erected at Kilmore in 1875. Both churches were repaired, and a vestry added to that at Ardow. Among other places, services were also held at Sorne, 5 miles from Ardow; at Mornish, 5 miles distant; and on the Island of Gometra, 22 miles distant by road and ferry.
Membership: 1875, 88; 1900, 41.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Records—Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Torosay and Salen Free Church[edit | edit source]

History—After the Disruption the adherents of the Free Church met for worship in a gravel pit, exposed to the weather and also to the inroads of the spring tides. The Salen Church was built in 1846 on a site leased for thirty years at Achdashenag, a mile from the village. The Torosay Church was erected at Lochdonhead in 1852. The manse was built at Craignure in 1872–1873. A new church was built at Salen in 1883. The Torosay Church was renovated in 1898. In later years the farming industry declined and most of the land was turned into deer forest.
Membership: 1866, 100; 1900, 38.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.
The extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Tobermory Free Church[edit | edit source]

History—The congregation was formed at the Disruption. A church was built and a manse purchased within a few months. The first minister was the only Free Church minister on the island of Mull. A new church was erected in 1878.
The Statistical Account of Scotland, for Kilninian and Kilmore parish for 1843, states that there were also in the quoad sacra parish of Ulva four Dissenters and one Roman Catholic. In the quoad sacra parish of Tobermory were thirteen Anabaptists with a preacher since about 1823, twelve Roman Catholics, and one Independent.
Membership: 1848, 60; 1900, 77.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records[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]

Kilninian and Kilmore was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Argyll until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dunoon. 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 Argyll and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Arglyll.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Argyll. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Argyll 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: 23 May 2014.

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