Arrochar, Dunbartonshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish  #492

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

History[edit | edit source]

ARROCHAR, a parish, in the county of Dumbarton, 22 miles (N. N. W.) from Dumbarton, and 22 (E. S. E.) from Inverary. The name of this place, which, at different times, has been variously spelt, is derived from a Gaelic term signifying "high," or "hilly," in reference to the nature of the ground. The parish is remarkable for the magnificence of its scenery, and is much resorted to by tourists. The church, situated in a corner of the parish, was built in 1733, and is in indifferent repair, and of insufficient size, containing only 300 sittings. A place of worship has been erected in connexion with the Free Church.[1]

Arrochar was disjoined from the parish of Luss in 1658.

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 Arrochar. Also available at the Family History Library. &nbsp

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Arrochar as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Number Surname Index
1841      1042712 none
1851 1042282 FHL CD-ROM no. 3816
1861 0103917 none
1871 0103977 none
1881 0203547 6086556 (4 fiche)
1891 0208789 none

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1759-1854 1041981
Marriages: 1768-1854 1041981
Deaths: 1783-1784 1041981
1835-1840 0559522 item 5

Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

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: There are only about 20 irregular entries prior to March 1767, then the regular record commences. Irregular entries are frequent before 1785.
Marriages: There are no entries for 1769 or 1772. The record is blank January 1774–November 1780, and there are only two entries for July 1802–February 1805. There are no entries for 1815.
Deaths: Burials are all on one page. See also the Kirk Session records below.
Source:Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk session was made up of he 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.

Arrochar Records--

Session Minutes 1764–1784 (with a note of members, 1767), 1785–1844
Treasurer's Cash Book 1844–1864
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/445.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Arrochar Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed at the Disruption in 1843. No other history is available.
Membership: 1848, 65; 1900, 61.
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 a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Arrochar was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunbarton until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dumbarton. 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 Dunbarton and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dunbarton.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Dunbarton. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Dunbarton and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 59-72. Adapted. Date accessed: 13 February 2014.

[Return to Dunbartonshire parish list.]