Rosskeen, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

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Parish # 81

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


The name of this parish seems to be derived from the Gaelic word Coinneamh, signifying a meeting or junction; and Ross-coinneamh may denote the place where the districts of Easter and Wester Ross join, which is the western boundary of this parish, and where the inhabitants might occasionally assemble. This parish is situated on the northern shore of the Firth of Cromarty. It is bounded on the east by the parish of Kilmuir; on the west by Alness; and on the north by the parish of Kincardine and Edderton; and on the south by the Firth of Cromarty.

William Macintosh, the author of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and other literary works, was born at Newmore, in this parish in 1738. He was the son of Lachlan Macintosh, a descendant of the family of Macintosh of Balnespick, in Badenoch, and of----- Macpherson, of the family as Sir John Macpherson, at one time the governor of India.

The principle heritors are, the Duke of Sutherland; M’Leod of Cadboll; M’Leary of Newmore; Hugh Rose Ross of Glastullich and Cromarty; and M’Kenzie of Kincraig.

The population in 1801 was 2074 persons, and in 1831 it increased to 2916.

Produce that is raised in the parish is wheat, barley, oats, grass, potatoes, peas, and turnips.

The church is situated in the center of the parish, and is most convenient so far as population is concerned. About 2800 of the population are within three or three and one-half miles of the church, which to a hardy Highlander is only a pleasant walk. The church which is perhaps the most comfortable and commodious in the north of Scotland, was built in 1832, and is seated for 1360 persons, and may contain about 1600, if closely occupied. There are no Dissenters of any kind or class.

The registers of births and marriages both commence in 1781, and have been regularly kept.

This account was written October 1838.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Rosskeen, FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 2.

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 Rosskeen as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL 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 Numbers
Birth: 1783-1854 0990658 item 2
Marriage: 1781-1854 0990658 item 2
Death: 1801-1813 0990658 item 2


Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index available on computers at the Family History Library and family history centers.  The records may be indexed in theInternational Genealogical Index.
Births: The first two pages of birth entries are missing. These probably contained the record from 1781 to December 1783. Between August and September 1784 eight or nine families are recorded in groups, covering the years 1767–1813.
Marriages: Marriages were regularly kept.
Deaths: Deaths also were regularly kept. There is one death entry in 1853.
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 1754–1778, 1780–1820, 1875–1942
Poors’ Fund Minutes and Accounts
Minutes of Heritors and Kirk Session 1844–1845
List of Male Heads of Households who are Communicants 1835–1842
Notes Including Dispositions of Lairds in Burying Ground 1796–1842
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1136.

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.

Rosskeen Free Church

The minister of Rosskeen, and his congregation, adhered to the Free Church in 1843. The church and manse were erected, but no information as to dates is available.
Membership: 1855, 1400; 1900, 123
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 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

Rpsskeen was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Ross until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's 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 librar catalog  for the 'Place-names' 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-names' of Ross & Cromarty and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Return to Ross & Cromarty parish list.