Rogart, Sutherland, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish # 55

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

History[edit | edit source]

ROGART, a parish, in the county of Sutherland, 10 miles (W. N. W.) from Golspie. This place is generally supposed to have derived its name from a compound Gaelic word, of which Rogart is a corruption, signifying a "lofty inclined plane," and applied on account of the high ground and acclivities in various parts of the parish, and especially on account of the elevated land on which the village stands. The church and manse stand near each other, in a bleak exposure, and command, from their elevated position, a view of the peaks of almost all the high mountains in the county: the church was built in 1777, and is conveniently situated for the bulk of the parishioners.[1]

  Roaird is the name of this parish in the Gaelic language. How it came to be written and pronounced Rogart can only be accounted for by the difficulty in pronouncing the name to those who did not speak that language. It is bounded on the east by parts of the parishes of Dornoch and Golspie; on the south by parts of the parishes of Dornoch and Criech; on the west by the parish of Lairg; and on the north by parts of the parishes of Clyne and Farr.

The Duke and Dutchess of Sutherland are proprietors of nearly the whole parish of Rogart. The other proprietors of land in it are, George Dempster, Esq. of Skibo, and Hugh Rose Ross, Esq. of Glastullich and Cromarty, who have each a small patch in it unconnected with their principal estates.

A continued decrease is found in the population of the parish of Rogart since 1811, as may be seen by comparing the census of that year with the census of 1831. This decrease has been caused by emigration to the provinces subject to Britain in North America, chiefly to Upper Canada.The count of persons in the parish in 1801 was 2022, and by 1831 it decreased down to 1805.

The proportion of land in agriculture and yielding of crops is small, and must always be so, while naked rock forms a considerable part of the surface of the parish. More than half of the parish is laid out for the grazing of the Cheviot breed of sheep. There are some crops raised, grains of all kinds, potatoes, hay, and turnips.

For the parish, the situation of the church is most inconvenient, being in its extreme boundary on the east. Consequently, some of the parishioners travel ten miles in coming to hear a sermon; which, being doubled before they return to their homes, is a severe exertion, though it is cheerfully made, even in the short days of winter. They are all Presbyterians, and firmly attached to the religion and modes of worship of their forefathers. No mention is made of records that have been kept.

This account was written September 1834.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Rogart, Family History Library book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 15.

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 Rogart, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086688 (1fiche)

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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1805-1854 0990575 Item 3
Marriages: 1838-1854 0990575 Item 3
Deaths: No entries none


Condition of Original Registers—
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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: Registers were kept with great care and regularity from 1805. Earlier records were apparently lost.
Marriages: There are no records prior to 1838.
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:
Extent of record is unknown.

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.

Rogart Free Church[edit | edit source]

Neighboring ministers at first took charge of the adherents of the Free Church in this parish. The charge was sanctioned in 1845. A church had been built and the congregation was well organized when a minister was settled in 1846.
Membership: 1855, 650; 1900, 448.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1943–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.
The extent of records is unknown.

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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Rogart was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Caithness until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dornoch. 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 Sutheerland and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Caithness.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Sutherland. Look in the library  catalog for the 'Place-names' of Sutherland 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: 7 August 2014.

Return to Sutherland parish list.