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Glassary, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

Parish #511

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



KILMICHAEL-GLASSARY, a parish, in the district and county of Argyll, 18 miles (S. W.) from Inverary; containing part of the late quoad sacra parish of Lochgilphead. This place, of which the early history is almost unknown, is supposed to have derived its name of Glassary from the general appearance of its surface, as being more adapted for pasture than for tillage. The church, erected in 1827, is a spacious structure containing 1500 sittings. A government church was erected at the village of Lochgilphead in 1828; and in 1841, a church was built by the committee of the General Assembly at Camlodden, for the benefit of that portion of the parish and the adjacent district of Inverary. There are preaching stations at Lochfineside and Lochaweside, also places of worship in the parish for Independents and members of the Free Church.[1]

A great portion of the parish was in possession of  the MacDonalds. The Campbells of Kiran wre also supporters of the Reformation and elders in the Church.   Lochgilphead is the nearest town.  Mac Mhic Jain is a well known person from this parish.  The land was primarily used for cattle, black-faced sheep, some farming, and a distillery.
The population in 1792 was 2568, and in 1841 was 5369.  In 1828 a Government Church was erected.  There is an Independent meeting-house in Lochgilphead.   The vast majority of the communicants belong to the Established Church.

This account was written in 1844.
Source:New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family History Library 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 Glassary. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

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.

Go to the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Glassary.

The library also has an 1881 and a 1851 census surname index for the county of Argyle.

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 the census and indexes through the library.

Church Records

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

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1750-1854   1041007 items 1-5
Marriages: 1768-1818, 1820-1854   1041007 items 1-5
Death: No entries

Condition of Original Records—

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:The flyleaf contains about twelve irregular entries 1750–1767. The record proper starts June 1768 and appears to have been well kept. The first few pages have suffered from dampness.
Marriages: These are proclamations of marriages only. No entries appear June 1818–November 1820.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

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.

There are no valuable collections of surviving Kirk session records for Glassary parish.

See also Lochgilphead quoad sacra parish.

Nonconformist Church Records

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.

See Lochgilphead quoad sacra parish.

Civil Registration Records

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

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


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 42-61. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.

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