North Bute, Buteshire, Scotland

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Buteshire Gotoarrow.png North Bute

Parish #557

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


BUTE, NORTH, a new civil parish, consisting of part of the old parish of Rothesay, isle and county of Bute, 1½ mile (N. W.) from Rothesay; containing the island of Inch-Marnock. This place, which comprises about half of the island of Bute, owes its origin to the erection and endowment, by the Marquess of Bute, of an elegant church, in 1835, for the accommodation of the inhabitants of the northern portion of the parish of Rothesay. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

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 reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

For a history of North Bute, see Rothesay parish.

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 North Bute.

Here is a list of known available census surname indexes.

Year Surname Index
1841     None
1851 book 941.39 X2a; fiche 6344851 (set of 3)  
1861 None
1871 None
1881 fiche 6086532
1891 None

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed 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

                  Years Covered      Family History Library Film Number
Births:        1844-1854            1041085 item 2
Marriages: 1844-1854            1041085 item 2
Deaths:       No Entries

Condition of Original Registers—

Note: There are no separate birth and marriage records until 1844. Prior to that year North Bute was part of the parish of Rothesay. See Rothesay parish.
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:

There are no known pre-1855 records.

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.

North Bute Free Church

The minister of the parish and the majority of his congregation "came out" in 1843. The church was built in Port-Bannatyne in that year. A manse also was erected. In 1879 a new church, with hall and vestry below, took the place of the old one.
Membership: 1855, 90; 1900, 204.
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.

There are no known pre-1855 records.

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

North Bute was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of The Isles until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Rothesay. 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 Bute and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of The Isles.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Bute. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Bute 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. 151-163. Adapted. Date accessed: 23 May 2014.

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