Kiltarlity, Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #101 

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

History[edit | edit source]

KILTARLITY, a parish, in the county of Inverness, 4 miles (S. W. by W.) from Beauly. This place, the origin of the name of which is altogether uncertain, and which comprehends the old parish of Convinth, is situated in one of the most beautiful and romantic districts in the Highlands. The church, built in 1829, is finely situated in the midst of a cluster of lofty trees, and contains about 800 sittings. A church, also, was erected by the late Chisholm, at Erchless, in connexion with the Establishment, and has 400 sittings. There is a mission at Strath-Glass, comprehending the upper part of this parish and that of Kilmorack. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. A chapel was erected a few years since, on an eminence near the small rural hamlet of Wester Eskadale, about four miles from Erchless, for the accommodation of the Roman Catholic population, which is of considerable extent.[1]

It is supposed that the name Kiltarlity is derived from Gaelic words signifying the place of sepulture of Tarrail.

Kiltarlity is bounded by the united parishes of Urquhart and Glenmorriston on the south and south-west; by Glanshiel on the west; by Kintail on the north-west; by Kilmorack on the north; Kirkhill on the east; and by the parish of Inverness on the south-east. The whole northern part is bounded by Kilmorack.

There are many Druidical remains in the parish, and also some vitrified forts supposed by most people to be where beacon fires used to be lighted in ancient times. A prominent and remarkable site is a lofty turreted building called Erchless Castle. It is said to have been built in the fifteenth century, but is still in a state of excellent repair, and is kept up as the family mansion of “The Chisholm,” chief of that ilk. It overlooks a noble park, studded with venerable aged-looking trees, among which are some of the remains of the old Caledonian forest.

In Strathglass, sheep farming is carried on to a considerable extent, and that with less risk than in most other Highland district, owing to the excellent shelter which is afforded to the flocks in winter, by the natural wood, with which the sheep-walks abound.

The population in 1801 was 2588, in 1811 it was 2601, in1821 2429, 1831 it was 2715, and in 1841 it was 2881. By a census taken under the direction of the minister, in 1837 the population was estimated at 2669.

The only public records of any kind kept in the parish, are those of births and marriages. The former begins in 1714, and the latter in 1812; but though the former was kept for the whole of the period since 1714, it is to be regretted that the entries were not by any means regularly made, and this circumstance is probably owing to a strong prejudice which obtained against it in the minds of the people, as from any remissness or neglect on the part of the clerk.

This account was written December 1841.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland, for Kiltarlity 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 Kiltarlity, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6344852 (3 fiche)
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
Births: 1714-1854 0990710 item 1
Marriages: 1812-1854 0990710 item 1
Deaths: No entries none

Condition of Original Registers—
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No entries prior to 1823.

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 no entries, except one in 1726, December 1722–October 1728 and September 1731–January 1734. There are two pages of irregular entries 1765–1780, after April 1777.
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 1814–1829
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/963.

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.

Kiltarlity Free Church[edit | edit source]

The people in this parish, with few exceptions adhered to the Free Church in 1843. A minister was settled in September 1843. A site having been obtained, the church and manse were completed in 1846. In 1900, more than half the adherents, two elders, and twenty-four communicants refused to enter the Union.
Membership: 1848, 102; 1900, 69.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. This source may contain additional information, including a list of ministers.

Records—                                                   Family History Library Film Number
Blotter Registers, 1843–1854                         1068241 item 11
Index of Extracted Births and Christenings       6902017 (fiche)
Index of Extracted Marriages                           6902018 (fiche)

Fasnakyle, Marydale, Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

This is in an area known as Strathglass. Early in 1670, a large proportion of the inhabitants were converted to the Catholic Church. In 1707, 125 were confirmed at Knockfin, and in 1709, 50 were confirmed at Brahan Castle, seat of the Earl of Seaforth. In 1764, there were 1321 Catholics in Strathglass. A congregation was formed at Fasnakyle in 1723, which succeeded other congregations at Knockfin and Clachan. It was renamed Marydale in 1868.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1880 In Scotland, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. Family History Library book 942 K24gm, vol. 6.

Baptisms 1793–1828
Marriages 1827–1844
Seat Rents 1824–1844
Later records were lost in a fire in 1929.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record RH21/28.

Eskadale Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

This is also in the area known as Strathglass. This congregation was formed about 1827, succeeding one at Aigas formed in 1801, for which there are no early records (see Fasnakyle). There is a cemetery at Eskadale church.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1880 - Scotland, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. Family History library book 942 K24gm, vol. 6.

Baptisms 1828–1959
Marriages 1845–1954
Communicants Lists 1838–1857
Deaths 1845–1867
Note:  Available online for a fee, at,  Edinburgh, record MP/21.

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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Kiltarlity was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Inverness 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 Inverness.

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.