Petty, Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #106 

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

History[edit | edit source]

PETTIE, or PETTY, a parish, partly in the county of Nairn, but chiefly in the mainland district of the county of Inverness, 6½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Inverness; containing the villages of Connage and Stuartown. This place includes the parishes of Petyn and Bracholy, which were united previously to the Reformation under the vicar of Petyn, who held a prebendal stall in the cathedral church of Elgin. The church, rebuilt in 1839, is a handsome and substantial structure with a campanile turret; the interior is well arranged, and contains 600 sittings. From its situation, however, near the western boundary of the parish, the inhabitants of the district of Bracholy are at an inconvenient distance. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

What is now called the parish of Pettie comprehends the united parishes of Bracholy and Petyn, situate within the ancient providence or diocese and the modern synod of Moray, and in the county and presbytery of Inverness; with the exception of a pendicle of Lord Cawdor’s property, called Calder’s Braichlich, which is in the county of Narin.

The history north of Scotland, previous to the twelfth century, with the exception of some few particulars, may be classed with that of the ages of fable and romance. By the time the name of Petyn noticed in history; and mention made of castle, which seems to have been erected either as defense in case of invasions by the Danes from the sea, or as a stronghold, in order to retain possession of the country upon the subjugation of the Moraymen in the reign of Malcolm IV.

The ancient territory of Petty and Brachly, comprehending at least the whole modern parish, first occurs in record as part of the possessions of a branch of the great family of De Moravia, who seem to have held these lands as tenants of the Crown, from the end of the twelfth century; and early in the thirteenth century.

The only individual of eminence connected with this parish by birth was Dr. James Fraser, the liberal benefactor of King’s College, Aberdeen. He was the son of Mr. Alexander Fraser, minister of this parish from 1633 till 1683.

 Pettie may be described as an entirely agricultural parish, since the whole population, with the exception of the fishers, are  employed directly in agriculture, or the subservient arts. Produce grown includes turnips, potatoes, hay, pasture grass, oats, wheat and barley.

From 1633 to 1683, Alexander Fraser, was incumbent, and there is a register of births only during this time, no marriages were recorded. The session-records begin in 1644; but the first few leaves of the volume were destroyed from its not having been bound until recently.

This account was written in the autumn of 1839 and revised February 1841.

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

Year Family History Library Film Number Surname Indexes
1841 1042640 Item 1 none
1851 1042066 6344852 (3 fiche)
1861 0103835 none
1871 0103999 none
1881 0203424 6086593 (4 fiche)
1891 0208640 none

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 Family History Library Film Numbers
Births: 1635-1819 0990714

1819-1854 0990715
Marriages: 1657-1739, 1758-1819 0990714

1820-1854 0990715
Deaths: 1800-1853 0990715


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 October 1659–January 1704; May 1739–June 1749, except five irregular entries 1742–1748. There is one entry April 1753–November 1755 and no entries May 1757–November 1758. Preceding the original register, which begins 1758, there is inserted at the beginning of volume 2 a copy for the period 1758–1769. There is also a record of births, marriages and deaths extending 1800–1819, in which the different classes of events are entered promiscuously in the order of their dates with session minutes occasionally interjected.
Marriages: Records1657–1660 are recorded on the first page of volume one, then no entries until 1704, from which date to 1739 the marriages are intermixed with the births. There are no entries March 1739–November 1758; December 1762–January 1770 and December 1777–November 1783; and February 1792–January 1802.
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 1644–1935
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/458.

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.

Petty Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of Petty adhered to the Free Church in 1843, but left shortly after the Disruption. Church and manse were built in 1848. A minister was settled in 1851. A church hall was added in 1897; and in 1898 a mission hall was erected at Loch and Flemington.
Membership: 1855, 30; 1900, 107.
Source:  Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 Vols. Pub. 1914. Film #918572. Source contains a list of ministers.

No known pre-1855 records.

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]

Petty was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Moray 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 Moray.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Inverness-shire.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Invernesss-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: 30 July 2014.

Return to Inverness-shire parish list.