Contin, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Ross and Cromarty Gotoarrow.png Contin

Parish # 60

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


CONTIN, a parish, in the county of Ross and Cromarty, 8 miles (S. W. by W.) from Dingwall; including part of the late quoad sacra districts of Carnoch and Kinlochlychart. The origin of the name of this place, which is involved in considerable obscurity, is said to be Gaelic, the word expressing the confluence of two streams of water. The church, the date of which is uncertain, has strong marks of having been built long prior to the Reformation; it underwent considerable repairs, but is still an inconvenient and uncomfortable building.[1]

The name of this parish is not easily determined, and there are various opinions concerning it. It is supposed to be derived from the Gaelic words Con-tuinn meaning the meeting of the waves or waters, with reference to the branches of the river Rasay. It is bounded on the west by Gairloch and Lochcarron; on the south by Kilmorack and Urray; on the east by Urray and Fodderty; and on the north by Lochbroom.

Dingwall, which is seven miles away, is the nearest market town, none of the villages in the parish are large enough to support a market.

A man of importance who has resided in the parish is Enaes (Angus) Morison, the last Episcopal minister of Contin. Many interesting anecdotes are still related about him illustrative of his wit and benevolence. This excellent man suffered very harsh treatment for refusing to conform to presbytery. He was rudely rejected from his own church and forced to flee.

The number of landowners is 11, only one of whom a Sir George Mackenzie now resides in the parish.
Several farms are stocked both with Cheviot and black-faced sheep; and those reared on some grazings fetch the highest prices at the market place.

The population at the time of the 1755 census was 1949. According to the last Statistical Account in 1792, the population stood at 2000, and by the 1831 census it was 2023.

With the exception of an old mutilated fragment, and one very imperfect register, there is no public record of any kind earlier than 1805. Marriages and births were not regularly entered until 1826, but have since been kept regularly.

The church of Contin has always stood where it is now, on the minister’s glebe, within two miles of the eastern extremity of the parish. At what point the church was erected is not known; but the ancient appearance of the fabric, several niches in the wall, and the immense number of human bones found strewed within, afford a strong presumption that it was built in Popish times. There can be not doubt that it was used for divine service while Episcopacy flourished in Scotland.
For nearly thirty years, there has been an itinerating catechist on the establishment of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. The people being warmly attached to the Established Church, there is no chapel, or dissenting meeting-house of any kind in the parish.

This account was written in September 1837.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Contin, 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 Contin as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6037266 (6 fiche)
6086658 (4 fiche)

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
0990578 item 2
0990578 item 2
0990578 item 2

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 also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births:In duplicate up to 1816. The records are very irregular and incomplete prior to 1812.
Marriages: There is only one entry 1805 between January 1798–July 1809. There are no entries November 1811–January 1814.
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 1826–1827, 1874–1955
Minutes and Accounts 1793–1873
List of Poor 1828–1845
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/658.

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.

Contin and Fodderty Free Church

The minister of Fodderty "came out" at the Disruption; the minister of Contin did not, but the bulk of his congregation united with that of Fodderty under Mr. Noble as Contin and Fodderty Free Church congregation. A site was granted on the Seaforth estate, at the point where the parishes of Contin, Fodderty, and Urray meet, convenient for the combined congregation. The church and manse were erected here. In 1861, the church was replaced by a more modern structure. A schoolhouse was attached to the original church. The Fodderty section of the congregation was disjoined in 1889 on the erection of a new charge at Streathpeffer.
Membership: 1855, 700; 1900, 79.
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.

Strathconan and Garve Free Church

The minister of Strathconan Parliamentary Church "came out" in 1843. The charge was maintained as a preaching station until in 1873 it was sanctioned as part of the united charge of Strathconan and Strathgarve. When separated the following year from Strathgarve, it retained its full status. In 1875 Mr. Arthur Balfour, late Prime Minister, who was proprietor of Strathconan, built the manse. There is no record of when the first church was built; the second being erected in 1892. The population of the district decreased greatly.
Membership: 1876, 96; 1900, 8.
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.

Strathgarve or Garve Free Church

The minister of Kinlochluichart Parliamentary Church "came out" in 1843. The charge was maintained as a preaching station until 1873 when it was sanctioned as part of the united charge of Strathconan and Strathgarve. The following year it was separated and resumed its status as a station. The Assembly sanctioned the charge in 1877. The original meeting house was erected about 1843. One end was partitioned off and used as a school. A new church was built in 1899.
Membership: 1881, 240; 900, 18.
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

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each Registration District 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

Contin was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Ross until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff 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' 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' 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.

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