Lismore, Argyll, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Lismore. 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
LISMORE and APPIN, a parish, in the district of Lorn, county of Argyll; containing the late quoad sacra parish of Duror, the former 7 miles (N. N. W.), and the latter 10 (N. by E.), from Oban. The name of the first of these two place, in Gaelic Lios-Mor, "a great garden," is generally considered as having been applied to the locality on account of the unusual richness of the soil, it being situated in the midst of a tract of country of comparative sterility. There are two parochial churches. The one at Lismore, situated on the Appin side of the island, is the chancel of the cathedral formerly maintained there; it was newly roofed in 1749, and accommodates 540 persons with sittings. The Appin church, containing 350 sittings, was built in 1749, and enlarged in 1814, and is conveniently situated in the district of Strath. There is also a church at Duror, about nine miles from the parish church of Appin, and to which are attached the districts of Duror and Glencoe. An episcopal chapel is maintained in Glencoe, and another at Portnacroish, in Strath of Appin. A Roman Catholic chapel is situated near the slate-quarry at Ballichulish.
The United parish of Lismoe and Appin was formerly called the parish of Kilmaluag. Oban, Clachan, and Portramsy are the nearest towns. The Stewarts of Appin were for a long period the proprietors of the parish. The major land owners were: John Campbell of Ardnamurchan, Bart.; Robert Downie, Esq. of Appin; Messrs Stuart of Bailechelish; and Stewart of Ardsheal; Stewart of Fasnacloich. The land was primarily used for, cattle, sheep, horses pig, eggs, poultry, fish, potatoes, slate. The population in 1831 was 4365. The population in 1841 was 4381. The parish registers have not been well kept, and begin Nov. 23, 1757. There are 2 Episcopalian chapels in the parish. The majority of residents belong to these 2 churches. There are 15 Roman Catholic families and 3 or 4 Anabaptists.
This account was written in 1841.
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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Lismore. 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 Lismore as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|Years||FHL Film Number||Surname Index|
|1841||1042718||941.38/L1 X22s pt. 3 1841|
|1881||203559||6086508 (set of 4 Fiche)|
The 1901 and 1911 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, 1841-1911, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access 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
|Years Covered||FHL Film Number|
|Births:||1751-1855 - Lismore and Appin||1041073 items 1-2|
|1819-1855 - Appin||1041073 item 2|
|1833-1854 - Duror||1041072 item 5|
|Marriages:||1777-1801, 1821-1854 - Lismore||1041073 items 1-2|
|1767-1819, 1821-1854 - Appin||1041073 item 2|
|1833-1854 - Duror||1041072 item 5|
Condition of Original Records
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: Lismore: there are two entries 1755–1757 on the page before August 1766. No entries exist August 1760–August 1766. Mothers' names are recorded after January 1759.
Appin: the first page contains irregular entries 1751–1767, but the regular record commences in June 1767. No entries appear December 1789–January 1793 except one entry for 1790, but three entries 1849–1852 are inserted there. There are irregular entries 1787–1797 on the flyleaf at 1790 and two imperfect pages containing entries with the year torn off, 1790–1792. There are six irregular entries for 1843–1852 after the marriages for February 1815.
Marriages: Lismore: no entries appear until October 1783, except two entries for January 1777. There are also no entries June 1784–September 1790. There is only one entry March 1793–January 1799. The record terminates April 1801.
Appin: there are no entries December 1769–November 1783 except two entries 1772–1776 and three entries October 1789–January 1795, March 1809–December 1810, June 1819–May 1821, and only four entries between April 1811–March 1816.
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 1757–1848
Poor Fund Minutes and Accounts 1803–1840
List of Communicants, Male Heads of Families 1834–1836
Communion Rolls 1834–1837
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/814
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.
Lismore Secession Church
Lismore is a Gaelic station and originated in the labors of the Rev. Mr. MacRae. The island of Lismore is about 12 miles long by 3 miles wide. It is united ecclesiastically with the parish of Appin, which is on the mainland. There the Established place of worship common to both parishes was situated and there the minister resided. As a result of these circumstances, the island was one-half of the year without sermon, except when visited by a dissenting minister. In August 1840, Mr. Brown, one of the ministers of the Secession Church who could speak Gaelic, was sent to Lismore to preach and the people flocked in great Number to hear him. In compliance with their urgent request he was sent back the following December and lived among them. An old Roman Catholic chapel, in need of repair, was leased for five years and fitted up at considerable expense as a place of worship. The minister lived in the house once occupied by the Roman Catholic Bishop. Mr. Brown continued in Lismore until 1843 when he was transferred and succeeded by Mr. William Wood. In consequence of a new proprietor purchasing the property on part of which the old chapel stood, the congregation was obliged to leave it. The proprietor provided them with property in a more central locality where they built a new church which accommodated 250 sitters.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including ministers.
Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.
Appin, with Lismore Free Church
After the Disruption, the district of Lismore and Appin was put in charge of the ministers of Ardchattan and Oban. In 1851, upon the resignation of Mr. Fraser, Appin was joined to Ardchattan. Difficulty in managing two sites led the Appin congregation to ask for separation. The request was not granted but, in accordance with the decision of the Commission of assembly in November 1853, a minister was settled in 1855 who resided at Appin, as being more accessible to both parts of the district. The arrangement did not work well and in 1859 Lismore and Appin were made a separate charge. Mr. Macfie of Airds offered them a site and the church was built in 1846. Robert Macfie later erected the manse. Some years before the Union of 1900, the Lismore part of the Appin congregation joined with the United Presbyterian congregation of Lismore, and the Duror part of Appin was attached to the newly formed congregation of South Ballachulish.
Membership: 1858, 96; 1900, 55.
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.
Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown. See Ardchattan
It was stated in 1841 that there were two chapels in this parish: one near the slate quarry in Glencoe and the other at Portnacroish, in Strath of Appin. The majority of the heritors of Appin were Episcopalian.
Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.
Roman Catholic Church
There was a Catholic seminary in Lismore from 1801 to 1831. There was a chapel and priest’s house near the slate quarry of Bailechelish in 1841. There were fifteen Catholic families in that locality at that time who worked in the quarries.
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.
Lismore 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 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-names' 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-name' of Argyll 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.
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