Buteshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Background

Buteshire is a county on the western coast of Scotland consisting of the isles of Bute and Arran and the small isles of Inch-Marnock, and Great and Little Cumbray [mostly uninhabited], in the Firth of Clyde.  It is separated on the north from Argyllshire by the straits called the Kyles of Bute, and on the west, from the penisula of Cantyre, by the Kilbrannan Sound.  It comprises an area of about 257 square miles or 164,480 acres.

The Isle of Bute was for centuries the property of the Stuarts, descendants of Sir John Stuart, son of King Robert II.  The Isle of Arran was for centuries the property of the Hamiltons.  There are seven parishes.  The civil business of the county is transacted at the royal burgh of Rothesay on the isle of Bute, which is the only town in the county.  There are several villages.

Bute is diversified with hills for pasture and valleys for cultivation.  Arran is rugged and mountainous, interspersed with glens.  Both islands have fine bays. 


(Source:  Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 2nd ed., 1851.  Family History Library book 941 E5L, 2 vols.)

Scotlands People: An Important Online Source

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on exact record availability, see Availability. For examples of the records available, see Record Types and Examples. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a small pay per view fee to see the actual digitized record.

Census

Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Buteshire for 1881.  Click here for other census indexes available at the library.

Civil Registration or Statutory Registers

For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.

Refer to the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article.
Images and Indexes Available at ScotlandsPeople Website ($)
Images-Years
Indexes
Births 1855-1910 ◊ScotlandsPeople Website has indexes to 2012.
Marriages 1855-1935
Deaths 1855-1960


Parishes

Some of the Buteshire parish records are indexed in *Buteshire, Scotland, Extracted Parish Records.

This database is a collection of historical parish registers from the county of Buteshire in the country of Scotland. The records in this collection can range in date from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. Also included are some records from non-conformist churches. You will find interesting phonetic spelling. Some of the records may be in Latin or even a Welsh or Scottish dialect. Due to the nature of the records and because the records were originally compiled by a third party, it is difficult to absolutely verify the completeness and validity of the data.

Here is a list of the historic parishes of Buteshire with their parish numbers. Click on the parish name to see its history and information about records. Click on this link for an outline map of the parishes of Bute.

Parish No.   Parish No.
Cumbraes        552   Lochranza (see also Kilmory) 557
Kilbride 553   North Bute (see also Rothesay) 557
Kilmory 554   Rothesay 558
Kingarth 555   Shisken -- see Kilmory 554

Archives

Argyll and Bute were combined into one county in 1974. The county archives is the Argyll & Bute Council Archives, located in Lochgilphead. Located at Manse Brae (for GPS use cross-street Cossack or Lochnell), the archive is small but well-equipped to assist researchers in family history. It is best to book a table before arrival. If you give them some idea of what type of records and the time period you want to research, the staff can be better prepared to assist you. They have a binder which lists family history sources, and the records are filed by the number given in that binder. To help prepare for a visit to the Argyll & Bute Council Archives, prepare a list of source numbers from the family history source binder. The council also accepts enquiries by letter, email, or text, and has a limited research service for those who cannot visit the archive. For details, see the archive website.

Directories

Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are avilable online. The directories available for Bute are:

1889-1912: These are available in either PDF format or viewable online.

Maps

Poorhouse Records


Societies

Glasgow & West of Scotland Family History Society
Unit 13, 32 Mansfield Street
Glasgow G11 5QP
Scotlan
Tel. +44 (0) 141 339 8303

Scottish Genealogy Society
15 Victoria Terrace
Edinburgh
EH1 2JL
Scotland
Phone-0131 220 3677
Email enquiries@scotsgenealogy.com

Websites