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Kilninver and Kilmerfort, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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(Parish #524)

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


History[edit | edit source]

KILNINVER and KILMELFORD, a parish, in the district of Lorn, county of Argyll, 8 miles (S. by W.) from Oban. The name of the first of these two ancient parishes is formed from the two Gaelic words, kil, a "cell, chapel, or burying place," and inver, " the foot of the river or water," the latter term being descriptive of the situation of the ancient chapel or place of sepulcure. Kilmelford, corrupted from Kilnamaolphort, or Kilnameallphort, or perhaps Kilnameallard, is also formed from two Gaelic words, signifying, as is generally supposed, "the burial ground of the smooth or round bays," though some think the name means "the promontory's bay." There is a church in each district, kept in excellent order, and sharing alternately the ministry of the incumbent. That at Kilninver, built about 1793, accommodates 450 persons; and the edifice at Kilmelford, distant from the former eight miles, seats 250.[1]

     The name of these parishes signifies the burying ground of the smooth or round bays.  Oban is the nearest town  There is a high and rocky point of  land jutting out into the head of Loch Melfort forming on each side two round bays.  The major land owners were: Marquis of Breadalbane; The Duke of Argyle; and John Campbell, Esq. of Glennore.  The land was primarily used for,  corn, barley, bear, potatoes, turnips, clover, rye grass, distillery, Salomon fishing, and herring fishing.   The population in 1831 was 1072.  The population in 1843 was 970. The earliest date of registers is in 1758, and are now regularly kept.  There are only a few families of diseenters.

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 Kilninver and Kilmerfort. 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 Kilninver and Kilmerfort as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042718 941.38 X22s 1841 v. 1-5
1851 1042352 941.39 X2a
1861 103796
1871 103953
1881 203559 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220169

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: 1758-1854 1041072 item 3-4
Marriages: 1758-1854 1041072 item 3-4
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: Kilninver: the record is irregular and incomplete 1795–1801. Several pages 1774–1778 are slightly imperfect.
Kimelford: there are separate records for this division of the parish after 1808.
Marriages: Kilninver: no entries appear January 1796–January 1802, except one entry for 1797, three entries for May 1804–December 1807, and February 1808–January 1812.
Kilmelford: there are separate records for this division of the parish after 1808.
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 1758–1782
Poor Fund Minutes and Accounts 1808–1870
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/756.

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.

Kilninver and Kimelford Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed at the Disruption and put under the charge of the minister of Kilbrandon. A temporary place of worship was used until 1852, when it was no longer available. The church was erected in 1862. It is not certain when the manse and school were built but the titles bear the date of 1855. Sheep farming was the only industry, the population being very sparse.
Membership: 1848, 57; 1900, 26.
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.

Minutes 1845–1929
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/693

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]

Kilninver and Kilmerfort were 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 Argyll.
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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