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Southend, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #532

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


History[edit | edit source]

SOUTHEND, a parish, in the district of Cantyre, county of Argyll, 7½ miles (S. by W.) from Campbelltown; containing the island of Sanda. This place takes its present name, which it has had only since the Reformation, from its position at the southern extremity of the peninsula of Cantyre. It consists of the ancient parishes of Kilcolmkill and Kilblaan, the former name signifying "the cell or church of St. Columba, the founder of churches," and the latter "the church of St. Blaan." The church, accommodating 500 persons, was built in 1774, and is in good repair; it is pleasantly situated on a rising ground, skirted by the stream of Coniglen on the southeast. There is also a place of worship for the Relief persuasion.[1]

    The parishes of Kilcolmkill and Kilblaan are now united under the modern name of Southend.  Dunaverty, Newton, and Argyle are the nearest towns.  The Mull of Kintyre light-house was begun to be built in 1786 and was finished in the year 1788.  The major land owners were: Duke of Argyle; William M’Donald, Esq. of Ballyshear; Johnm M’Millan M’Neill, Esq. of Carskey; and Donald M;Millan, Esq. of Lephenstrath.  The land was primarily used for, sheep, cattle, turnips, bear, and beans.  The population in 1793 was 1300.  The population in 1841 was 1598.   The registers extends no farther back than the year 1765. The old registers were unfortunately destroyed by a fire which accidentally took place in the study of the clergyman of the parish, Rev. David Campbell. Since that time they have been regularly kept.  There is one government church and one Relief meeting-house.
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 Southend. 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 Southend as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index             
1841 1042719
1851 1042354 941.39 X2a
1861 103797
1871 103954
1881 203560 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220171

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: 1768-1854 1041076 items 4-5
Marriages: 1769-1854 1041076 items 4-5
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: Only two entries appear February 1782–April 1784. Mothers' names are not recorded until 1817.
Marriages: Proclamations are recorded.
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 1799–1946
Accounts 1800–1850
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/957.

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.


Southend Relief Church[edit | edit source]

The members of this congregation applied to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow in 1797 for regular supply of sermon, which was granted. Thereafter, 90 heads of families presented a petition to the Duke of Argyle for ground on which to build a church, which was granted along with ground for a manse and glebe and a plan of a village. The church was built in 1798.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Minutes 1843–1944
Baptisms 1843–1877
Accounts (with some seat rents and mangers’ minutes) 1797–1847
Receipts for Stipend 1802–1872
Treasurer’s Accounts 1815–1837
Seat Rental Book 1844–1890
Missionary Society Minutes 1846–1913
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/887.

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]

Southend was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunoon until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Argyll.  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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