Kiltearn, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

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Parish # 70

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

History[edit | edit source]

KILTEARN, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 5¾ miles (N. E. by N.) from Dingwall; containing the villages of Drummond and Evanton. This place derives its name from two Gaelic words, Kiell Tighearn, signifying "the buryingplace of the laird," though the particular circumstance which gave rise to the appellation is unknown. The parish is situated in about the middle of the county, and extends six miles along the north shore of the Frith of Cromarty. The church, situated on the coast, was built in 1791, and is a neat edifice, accommodating nearly 700 persons. There is a place of worship in the village of Evanton connected with the United Secession.[1]

Kiltearn derives its name from two Gaelic words, Kiell Tighearn, the burying ground of the laird, and the principle family in the district, the Munroes of Fowlis, had their burying-ground at Chanonry, until 1588. The parish is situated about in the middle of the county, on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth.

There are no market towns in the parish; and the nearest is Dingwall, six miles away. There is one village, called Evantown, containing about 100 houses, and a population of about 500 people.

Tradition relates, that when Malcolm II., divided out the lands of the country to those families who had assisted him in extirpating the Danes, the country between the burgh of Dingwall and the waters of Alness was assigned to Donald Munro, and from that circumstance received the name of Feridonuil, or Donald’s land. From Donald Munro is lineally descended the present Sir Hugh Munro, Bart., who is the twenty-ninth baron of Fowlis, and proprietor of about two-thirds of the lands of the parish. Besides the Fowlis family, there have been several individuals, of considerable eminence in various departments, connected with the parish. One Donald Munro, minister of Kiltearn, was a contemporary with Buchanan. The ministers of the parish, as far back as is known, were Messrs T. Hogg, J. Gordon, Hugh Campbell, William Stuart, Andrew Robertson, George Watson, Harry Robertson, D. D.

The land-owners of the parish are these five; Sir Hugh Munro of Fowlis; H. A. J. Munro of Novar; Captain E. B. Fraser of Balcony; Simon Mackenzie of Mountgerald; and Duncan Davidson of Tullock; all of them, except Captain Fraser, do not have residence in the parish.

The population of the parish did not vary too much; 1791 shows 1616 people; 1811 there were 1552; and in 1831 there were 1605 people living in the parish.

The number of acres in the parish, which are either cultivated or occasionally in tillage, is estimated to be about 3000. The most common crops raised are, wheat, barley, oats, and some peas. The common breed of sheep in the parish is the black-faced or aboriginal sheep of the country, and sometimes crosses from them.

The church is situated on the coast, near the south-east end of the parish, and is about twenty miles from the north-west boundaries. This situation is particularly inconvenient for the attendance of the people. The present church was built in 1791, and is a neat and very commodious building, quite sufficient for the accommodation of the people. It contains 78 pews, 786 feet in length, which, at the rate of eighteen inches for each sitter, would give room for 524. More than 700, however, can find room with comfort, is necessary. There are no rents for the seats, and there are some exclusively devoted to the use of the poor. There is one chapel connected with the United Secession in the village of Evantown. The chapel can contain 400; but about 10 attend regularly; and of these only two or three families are really Seceders.

This account was written August 1839.

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

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6037266 (6 fiche)
 941.16/K1 X22k, 941.16/K1 X22r
6086658 (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[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]

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1702-1854 0990653
Marriage: 1708-1854 0990653
Death: 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 no entries September 1704–November 1723, June 1727–June 1744, except one in 1729, August 1749–April 1750, February–June 1751, and April–August 1756. Records are incomplete 1770–1783.
Marriages: There are no entries March 1717–June 1721, December 1727–November 1744, May 1751–December 1752, and February 1760–March 1762. There are only two entries for 1780.
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:

FHL Film Number
Extracts from the Session Book 1697–1705 0477621 item 3
Minutes 1697–1713, 1717, 1722–1728, 1770–1797, 1817–1846
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/569.

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.

Kiltearn Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of the parish, with almost his entire congregation "came out" at the Disruption. The church and manse were thereafter erected.
Membership: 1848, 40; 1900, 89.
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 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]

Kiltearn was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Ross until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Ross & Cromarty. 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 Ross & Cromarty and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Ross.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Ross & Cromarty. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Ross & Cromarty 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: 1 August 2014.

Return to Ross & Cromarty parish list.