Blair-Athole, Perthshire, Scotland Genealogy
Parish #334 (including Strowan)
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Blair-Athole. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Probate Records
- 6 References
BLAIR-ATHOLL, a parish, in the county of Perth, 20 miles (N. by W.) from Dunkeld; containing part of Tenandry quoad sacra parish. This place, of which the name, in the Gaelic language, signifies "the plain of Atholl," comprises the four ancient parishes of Blair, Lude, Kilmaveonaig, and Strowan, united into one parish in the early part of the 17th century. The parish is bounded on the north by the Grampian hills. The parochial church is a handsome and substantial edifice, of modern erection, adapted for 650 persons, and the churchyard is spacious; a church was erected in the Strowan district, in 1829, for a congregation of 450 persons, and divine service is performed on two consecutive Sundays at Blair-Atholl, and every third Sunday at Strowan. The old church of Kilmaveonaig was rebuilt in 1791, and appropriated as a place of worship by the Episcopalians; and there is also a meetinghouse for Baptists.
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 reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Blair-Athole, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| FHL Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 941.32 X22p 1851 no. 334|
|| 6086646 (6 fiche)|
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.
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|
Condition of Original Registers—
Indexed: 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: There is only one birth entry April 1729–April 1731, one for August 1731–October 1733, and none for December 1800–January 1802 and November 1740–November 1741. Five pages of irregular entries, dated 1805–1827, are recorded before the record for 1816.
Marriages: Only proclamations are recorded prior to January 1735. There are no entries January 1735–August 1743, after which marriages 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
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 1718–1723, 1741–1780, 1843–1957
Collections and Disbursements 1763–1933
Marriage Registers 1855–1861
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/430.
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 Lists.
Blair–Atholl and Struan Free Church
The parish of Blair Atholl was vacant at the Disruption. The son of the late minister, who was acting as preacher, "came out". His services were continued to the Free Church congregation, who asked that he should be settled as their minister. Opposition to the Free Church was bitter in this district and in 1844 a wooden structure was erected on an island in the river belonging to another parish. A building site was finally obtained in 1855.
Membership: 1848, 240; 1900, 126.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols, pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/358.
A small congregation was formed at Blair-Atholl in 1809. The Baptist Highland Mission was formed in 1816. Scottish Baptist Association was formed at Tullymet in 1835 and one of the founding churches was Blair-Atholl. A simple chapel, seating 200, was built about 1819. Another chapel was built at Balentoul in 1836. In 1838, the attendance at the Blair-Atholl church was about 20. The church ceased in 1886.
Sources: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille, pub. 1926. FHL book 941 K2hi.
Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown. For information write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Statistical Account of Scotland for Perth, dated 1838, states that there were Episcopalians in the area of Blair-Atholl as early as 1791 when they rebuilt the old church at Kilmaveonaig. In 1838 there were about 20 Episcopalians in the parish who attended services at Kilmaveonaig. Members from Blair-Atholl still attend services at Kilmaveonaig today.
For more information, write to the minister at:
Pitlochry PH16 5BA
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.
Blair-Athole was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dunblane. 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 catalog for the 'Place' of Perthshire and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dunblane.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Perthshire. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Perthshire and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 08 May 2014.
Return to Perthshire parish list.