Edderton, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

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Parish # 63

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

History[edit | edit source]

EDDERTON, a parish, in the Mainland district, county of Ross and Cromarty, 5 miles (S. W.) from Tain. This place, which derives its name from its situation among hills that surround it on all sides except the north, was noted in the reign of William the Lion for its castle near the shore of the Frith of Dornoch, erected by that monarch to command the ferry between the counties of Ross and Sutherland. The former church, erected in 1743, and efficiently repaired in 1794, a neat plain structure, containing 350 sittings, being inconveniently situated, a new church was built in 1841 in a more centrical part of the parish. The members of the Free Church use the old edifice.[1]

This parish derives its name from its situation, being surrounded on all sides except the north hills, and those round towers called Dunes or Burghs. The Celtic name is Eadar Duin, which signifies between hills or dunes. It is bounded on the east and south by the parishes of Tain, Logie-Easter, Kilmuir-Easter, and Rosskeen; on the west, by the parish of Kincardine; and the Dornock Firth washes the coast on the north.

There is no market-town or village in the parish. There is a good harbor at Ardmore, capable of accommodating vessels of 150 tons, considerable number of schooners and smacks, and sometimes a brig, arrive with cargoes of coal and lime.

The first historical notice of Edderton occurs in the twelfth century; when King William the Lion (who reigned over Scotland from 1165 to 1214,) built a castle at Etherdover, Edirdona, or Edirton, as a curb upon the turbulent inhabitants of Easter Ross. The next of importance in the history of this parish is the founding of the Monastery or Abbey of Fearn, which took place in the thirteenth century.

Amongst the eminent characters of this parish, is Mr. John Sutherland, a son of Arthur Sutherland, Episcopal incumbent or curate of Edderton, from 1679 to 1708; and at the period of his father’s death (8 April 1708) was very young.

Another person of interest is Alexander Ross Oag, (or Young, a very common patronymic when the father and son were of the same name;) an aged Christian and a man of indigent circumstances, without the advantage of education, but of such uncommon natural talents, combined with fervent piety and Christian simplicity, that numerous anecdotes well authenticated, are still related throughout the northern counties.

Sir Charles William Augustus Ross of Balnagown, Bart; His Grace George Granville Sutherland, Duke of Sutherland, K.G; and Robert Bruce Eneas Macleod, Esq. of Cadboll, are the land-owners in this parish.

The register of births, baptisms, and marriages, commences 25th July 1799, and has been regularly kept since that period. Previous to this time, nothing was kept. The session records only began to be kept by the late incumbent; for first entry being dated 26th September 1821. They consist of minutes of the proceedings of the kirk-session, and poor’s fund. There is no register of deaths that have been kept.

The parish church is situated about a mile and a half from the eastern extremity of the parish, and eight from the western extremity towards Kincardine. It is exactly a mile from the manse, and is very inconveniently situated for the inhabitants on account of the distance the greater part of them have to come. The church seats are all free, and have never been divided by the heritors of the parish. They accommodate from 400 to 500 persons.

This account was written November 1840.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland for Edderton, FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 14.

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 you are interested in. Also available at the Family History Library. 

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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Edderton as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family Histopry Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6037266 (6 fiche)
6086658 (4 fiche)

The 1901 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, 1841-1901, 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]

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1799-1844 0990580
Marriages: 1812-1852 0990580
Deaths: No entries none
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 5 entries, 1799 and 1802, prior to 1809, from which date the register is regularly kept.
Marriages: Marriages are recorded among the baptisms for the same period.
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 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 1821–1851
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1411.

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

Edderton Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of the parish, and his congregation "came out" at the Disruption. A new church had been built by the heritors in 1842, and they handed over the old building to the Free Church, which was repaired in 1851. It is one of the oldest churches in the north of Scotland having been built in 1743. The population seriously decreased over time.
Membership: 1855, 400; 1900, 34.
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.

Records— Minutes 1850-1859, 1864-1892 and 1900-1939; Baptisms 1847-1865

Records held in Highland Council Archives, Inverness, Scotland (Reference CH3/1395.

The Highland Family History Society has publications for sale and they have

The Family History Library has this publication available

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]

Edderton 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 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 Ross & Cormarty 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.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 30 July 2014.

Return to Ross & Cromarty parish list.