Buteshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Guide to Buteshire County ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Buteshire County

History[edit | edit source]

Buteshire is a county on the western coast of Scotland consisting of the isles of Bute and Arran and the small isles of Inch-Marnock, and Great and Little Cumbray [mostly uninhabited], in the Firth of Clyde.  It is separated on the north from Argyllshire by the straits called the Kyles of Bute, and on the west, from the penisula of Cantyre, by the Kilbrannan Sound.  It comprises an area of about 257 square miles or 164,480 acres.

The Isle of Bute was for centuries the property of the Stuarts, descendants of Sir John Stuart, son of King Robert II.  The Isle of Arran was for centuries the property of the Hamiltons.  There are seven parishes.  The civil business of the county is transacted at the royal burgh of Rothesay on the isle of Bute, which is the only town in the county.  There are several villages.

Bute is diversified with hills for pasture and valleys for cultivation.  Arran is rugged and mountainous, interspersed with glens. Both islands have fine bays.[1][2]

ScotlandsPeople: An Important Online Source[edit | edit source]

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on record availability, see Guides. For the content guide to what records are on the site, see Guides A-Z. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a pay per view fee to see the digitized record.

Census[edit | edit source]

Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Buteshire for 1881.  Click here for other census indexes available at the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration or Statutory Registers[edit | edit source]

For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.

Refer to the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article.
Images and Indexes Available at ScotlandsPeople Website ($)
Births 1855-1910 ◊ScotlandsPeople Website has indexes to 2012.
Marriages 1855-1935
Deaths 1855-1960

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Some of the Buteshire parish records are indexed in *Buteshire, Scotland, Extracted Parish Records.

This database is a collection of historical parish registers from the county of Buteshire in the country of Scotland. The records in this collection can range in date from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. Also included are some records from non-conformist churches. You will find interesting phonetic spelling. Some of the records may be in Latin or even a Welsh or Scottish dialect. Due to the nature of the records and because the records were originally compiled by a third party, it is difficult to absolutely verify the completeness and validity of the data.

Here is a list of the historic parishes of Buteshire with their parish numbers. Click on the parish name to see its history and information about records. Click on this link for an outline map of the parishes of Bute.

Parish No.   Parish No.
Cumbraes 552   Lochranza (see also Kilmory) 557
Kilbride 553   North Bute (see also Rothesay) 557
Kilmory 554   Rothesay 558
Kingarth 555 Shisken -- see Kilmory 554

Archives[edit | edit source]

Argyll and Bute were combined into one county in 1974. The county archives is the Argyll & Bute Council Archives, located in Lochgilphead. Located at Manse Brae (for GPS use cross-street Cossack or Lochnell), the archive is small but well-equipped to assist researchers in family history. It is best to book a table before arrival. If you give them some idea of what type of records and the time period you want to research, the staff can be better prepared to assist you. They have a binder which lists family history sources, and the records are filed by the number given in that binder. To help prepare for a visit to the Argyll & Bute Council Archives, prepare a list of source numbers from the family history source binder. The council also accepts enquiries by letter, email, or text, and has a limited research service for those who cannot visit the archive. For details, see the archive website.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are avilable online. The directories available for Bute are:

1889-1912: These are available in either PDF format or viewable online.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse Records[edit | edit source]

NOTE: Workhouses in Scotland were commonly known as poorhouses. For more information on Scottish poorhouses, go to the Scotland Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc page.

There was one workhouse in this county:

A description with drawings and photos of the workhouse today along with databases of those living there from the 1881 Census are provided on the link above located on the site entitled The Workhouse: The story of an institution... which is owned and operated by Peter Higginbotham.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Glasgow & West of Scotland Family History Society
Unit 13, 32 Mansfield Street
Glasgow G11 5QP
Tel. +44 (0) 141 339 8303

Scottish Genealogy Society
15 Victoria Terrace
Phone-0131 220 3677
Email enquiries@scotsgenealogy.com

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Samuel Lewis. Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, England: S. Lewis and Co., 1846), 3 v.: 651, [FHL book 941 E5]. Digitized by FamilySearch International, FamilySearch.org, https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/216925 (accessed June 8, 2016).
  2. Samuel Lewis. "Brechin - Byth (New)," in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846), 151-163. British History Online, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/scotland/pp151-163 (accessed May 24, 2020).