Applecross, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland Church Records

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Ross and Cromarty Gotoarrow.png Applecross

Parish # 58

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


APPLECROSS, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 18 miles (W.) from Lochcarron; containing the island of Crolin, and part of Shieldag, quoad sacra. This parish was originally called Comaraich, a Gaelic word signifying safety or protection, on account of the refuge afforded to the oppressed and to criminals, by a religious establishment that existed here in ancient times. The present name, which is of comparatively modern date, was given to the place by the proprietor of the estate, upon its erection into a parish, at which time five apple-trees were planted cross-ways in his garden. The parochial church, which was erected in 1817, is in good repair, and accommodates 600 persons; and at Shieldag, twelve miles distant, is a government church, built in 1827.[1]

This parish includes Shieldaig and Kishorn.The parish of Applecross in Gaelic is called Comaraich, and is divided into three districts. The Applecross district was formerly occupied by a body of Roman Catholic priests, whose residence afforded an asylum, from the motives of piety, or to escape from punishment for criminal actions. Hence the name Comaraich, which means a place of safety.

The modern name Applecross was given to the parish by the gentleman who was proprietor of the Comaraich estate, at the time it was built. In commemoration of this event, five apple trees were planted crossways in the proprietor’s garden.

There is no market-town in the parish, nor within many miles of it.

The landowners, are Thomas Mackenzie, Esq. of Applecross; J.A. Stewart Mackenzie, Esq. of Seaforth; and Sir F. A. Mackenzie of Gairloch, Bart.

In the year 1790, the population was 1734, and according to the census in 1831, the number was 2892.

There are some registers of baptisms and marriages, commencing in 1779, but they have not been regularly kept.
The parish church was built in 1817, and is in good repair. It is large enough to accommodate upwards of 600 sitters, and there is no seat rents.

The parish church is very ill situated, having very few inhabitants near it, and lying on the north side of a river, without a bridge over it, which frequently prevents the people from attending public worship. They often, however, wade the water, and sit in church during service with wet feet and wet clothes, which no doubt makes for some serious complaints among them.

This account was written September 1836.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Applecross, FHL 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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish you are interested in. 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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Applecross as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years      FHL Film Number Surname Indexes
1841 1042625 6037266 (6 fiche)
1851 1042007 none
1861 103905 none
1871 104090 none
1881 203407 6086658 (4 fiche)
1891 208623 none

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

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

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1797-1854 0990577 item 2
Marriages: 1797-1854 0990577 item 2
Deaths: No entries none
Condition of Original Registers—

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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: Not carefully kept. Birth records are intermixed with marriage records.
Marriages: Marriages are intermixed with births. Separate records 1797–1811.
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.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes and Accounts 1779–1862
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/914.

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.

Applecross Free Church

Almost all of the population in this district adhered to the Free Church in 1843. A church was built in 1845, but a minister was not settled until 1859.
Membership: 1861, 400; 1900, 23.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

Shieldaig and Torridon Free Church

The minister of Shieldaig, and almost all of the people adhered to the Free Church in 1843. The Assembly of 1864 recognized Shieldaig as a Disruption charge. A minister was settled in 1872. The church and manse were erected in 1877. Torridon was severed from Shieldaig in 1890 and placed under the minister of Applecross. In 1892 most of the Shieldaig residents became Free Presbyterians. In 1894 Torridon and the congregation at Shieldaig were reunited. A section did not enter the Union in 1900.
Membership: 1866, 600; 1900, 34.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

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

Applecross was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Ross until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Ross & Cromarty.  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 Ross & Cromarty and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Ross.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Ross & Cromarty. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Ross & Cromarty 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 30 July 2014.

Return to Ross & Cromarty parish list.