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Kilfinan, Argyllshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #518

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


History[edit | edit source]

     The name of this parish signifies the church burying place of St. Finan.  Kilfinan is the nearest town.  There are ruines in this parish thought to have been Druidial Temples or places of worship.  The major land owners were: Archibald James Lamont of Lamont; Mungo Nutter Campbell of Ballimore; Mrs. Ann Campbell of Otter; John M’Iver of Ardmarnock; and Alexander M’Alestes of Loup.  The land was primarily used for  Manufacturing of gun powder, sheep, cattle, potatoes, herring fishing.  The population in 1793 was 1417.  The population in 1841 was 1816.  The parish registers  have been pretty regularly kept since June 1742.  There are 2 church buildings in the parish. No Dissenters in the parish.
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 Kilfinan. 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 Kilfinan as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042717
1851 1042351 941.39 X2a
1861 103796
1871 103953
1881 203557 6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)
1891 220167


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: 1728-1854 1041069 items 3-4
Marriages: 1779-1854 1041069 items 3-4
Deaths: No entries

Condition of Original Records—[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers.  Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.  
Births: No record exists until June 1742 except five irregular entries of one family 1728–1736. Only two entries appear October 1756–January 1760. No entries exist June 1770–April 1772. There are several defective entries 1803–1804; during the dates 1804–1810 interpolated entries occur regularly. The session clerk copied the portion prior to October 1778 from an old register in 1821. Mothers' names were seldom recorded until January 1745.
Marriages: The page at November 1783 is imperfect, and the record is blank July 1784–January 1786. No entries appear July 1805–November 1806 or February 1807–January 1809. The fact of marriage is not added to the entries in 1806–1807.
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 1721–1722, 1742–1774, 1836–1880
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/880.

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.


Kilfinnan Free Church
[edit | edit source]

Joseph Stark, minister of the parish and many of his people left the Established Church in 1843. At first they worshiped in the open air. During stormy weather they worshiped in a barn or in the public rooms of the Inn. In 1850 a church was erected at Millhouse and another in 1861 at Kifinnan. A church was built at Tighnabruaich which had become popular as a summer resort in 1863. In 1877 Tighnabruaich was separated into a separate charge. The new congregation acquired the church and contributed money for the purchase of the manse at Auchenlochan. Because of the Declaratory Act, a number of members seceded and formed the Free Presbyterian congregation.
Membership: 1848, 53; 1900, 62.
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 ministers.

Minutes 1843–1916
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/919.

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]

Kilfinan 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' 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' of Argyll and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Return to the Argyllshire Parish List