Urquhart & Glenmoriston, Inverness-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #107 

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

History[edit | edit source]

URQUHART and GLENMORRISTON, a parish, in the district of Mainland, county of Inverness, the former place 18 miles (N. E. by N.) and the latter 7 miles (N.) from Fort-Augustus; containing the villages of Invermorriston, and East and West Lewistown. This parish comprises the ancient parish of Urquhart, signifying in the Gaelic language "an extensive line of sea-coast," from its situation on the shore of the Moray Frith, along which it stretches from the mouth of the river Spey to that of the river Lossie; and the ancient parish of Glenmorriston, the name of which, in the Gaelic language Glen-mor-essan, is derived from the falls of the rivers that flow through its picturesque valleys into Loch Ness. The church, erected in 1837, is situated in the lower part of the vale of Urquhart; it is a neat plain structure containing 1100 sittings.[1]

Urquhart and Glenmoriston are united parishes and have had but one minister since the suppression of Popery. The parish church is situated at Kilmore. Castle Urquhart is the only indicator of ancient times and was one of a chain of fortresses from Inverness to Inverlochy. It is noted that a siege of Urquhart Castle was in 1303. The castle was a royal fort or garrison through the fourteenth century. In 1509 King James IV granted three charters of Lordship of Urquhart and Glenmoriston to John Grant of Freuchie and his two sons.

There are no towns in the district but several hamlets in Glen Urquhart. The principal hamlet being Milntown with about 150 inhabitants, all the other hamlets had in all about 115 inhabitants.

The parish is described as exquisitely beautiful, more varied in mountain, hill, dale, lake and stream than any other in the highlands.

The heritors of the lands of the parish are, Sir Lewis Alexander Grant of Grant; James Murray Grant, of Glenmoriston; Patrick Grant, of Lakefield; and Thomas Ogilvie of Corrymony; All of whom have residences on their estates.

The parish is more varied in terrain than any other in the highlands, being about 30 miles long and in general from eight to twelve miles broad along the northern bank of Loch Ness. The farming effort in the parish produced crops of wheat, grasses, barley, oats, potatoes, and turnips. Also, meadow hay in natural wet pastures. Cattle are maintained in the low grounds and 20,000 to 21,000 sheep are supported in the hills of the parish.

The population in the parish of Urquhart in 1811 was 1, 944 and Glenmoriston 689. The population of Urquhart in 1831 was 2,383 and Glenmoriston 559.

There is no reference as to registers for the parish.

 The parish church was built in 1630 and by 1835 was in a state of dilapidation, there is a second meeting house six miles up the  glen and other missionary stations in the parish. There are no Dissenting or Seceding chapels in the parish. There were 55 individuals of the Roman Catholic persuasion in Glenmoriston.
It was noted that the people are regular in their attendance on divine ordinances with 108 individuals on the roll.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland,  for Urquhart & Glenmoriston 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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  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 Urquhart & Glenmoriston, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library Film Number Surname Indexes
1841 1042640 Item 2 none
1851 1042067 Item 1 6344852 (3 fiche)
1861 0103835 none
1871 0103999 none
1881 0203425 6086593 (4 fiche)
1891 0208640 none

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Number
Births: 1739-1819 0990716

1820-1854 0990717
Marriages: 1743-1819 0990716

1820-1854 0990717
Deaths: 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. The records may be indexed on FamilySearch Records.
Births: Urquhart: there are no entries September 1757–August 1771; one entry for May 1774–October 1777; one for December 1780–October 1783; two 1823 and 1841, recorded at September 1817. Nine entries, 1831–1849, recorded on flyleaf of register of marriages. Record prior to 1771 is a copy. At January 1791 in the original record are irregular entries 1795–1834, one of them being a marriage for 1823.
Glenmoriston is a separate record and there are only three entries prior to January 1788.
Marriages: Urquhart: there are no entries September 1758–September 1771; June 1774–October 1783 and August 1791–December 1799. Record is a copy however the original is extant September 1771–June 1774, October 1784–August 1791, and from December 1799 downwards. Pages 53-58 of the original are mutilated.
Glenmoriston has no notations.
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 1812–1925
Accounts 1827–1841
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/434.

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 Lists.

Glenurquhart Free Church[edit | edit source]

The congregation here came out in 1843. The Church and manse were built in 1844–1846. The first minister was settled in December 1844. The resident population steadily decreased but in later years the number of summer visitors greatly increased.
Membership: 1855, 1000; 1900, 83.
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 list of ministers.

Minutes 1845–1900
Deacons Court Minutes and Accounts 1845–1900
Note: Available at Free Church Offices, Edinburgh.

Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Free Church[edit | edit source]

To Mr. Lauder of Glengarry the only missionary in the extensive district of Glenmoriston who adhered to the Free Church in 1843, was entrusted the work of organising the Free Church congregation. A site was granted at Fort Augustus by the proprietor of Albertarn where church and manse were erected. The charge was sanctioned in 1844. Services were held alternately at Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston.
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.

No known pre-1855 records.

Glenmoriston Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

In 1783 this area was being served jointly with Kintail, Dornie and Abertarff, but there are no early records. A congregation was formed here in 1841 but the priest moved to Stratherrick in 1861. See also Laggan parish.

Baptisms 1854–1930
Marriages 1856–1931
Confirmations 1855–1966
Note: Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, record RH21/32.

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]

[Urquhart & Glenmoriston 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 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 catalogfor 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: 30 July 2014.

Return to Inverness-shire parish list.