Kirkmichael, Banffshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #160

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


History[edit | edit source]

KIRKMICHAEL, a parish, in the county of Banff, 11 miles (E. S. E.) from Grantown; containing the late quoad sacra district of Tomintoul. This parish, named after the saint to whom the church was dedicated, is situated on the Avon, a tributary of the river Spey, and is a bleak Highland district. The church, built in 1807, is a plain structure, about four miles from the northern boundary, and contains accommodation for 350 persons. A church was erected by government in 1826 in the village of Tomintoul. A Roman Catholic chapel, accommodating 464 persons, was built in the village in 1838; and 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.


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


Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index                
 1841  1042648
1851 1042106 941.24 X22s v. 8  
1861 103809
1871 103969
1881 203441 6086520 (set of 3 Fiche)
1891 208656

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 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]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Numbers
Births: 1725-1854 0991064
Marriages: 1726-1854 0991064
Deaths: No entries none

Condition of Original Registers—

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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births:  The greater portion of pages starting November 20th 1781 and the 28th of September 1785 are missing as well as part of the page starting at November 13th 1792. Entries are frequently out of chronological order.
Marriages:  Only eight entries exist February 1770–October 1783. No entries exist except three entries, for December 1803–July 1810.
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:

Tomintoul[edit | edit source]

Minutes: 1833–1843 - with some Accounts and Newspaper Cuttings
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, records CH2/354.

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.


Kirkmichael Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister and many of the congregation left the Established Church in 1843. They built a church and manse the next year. The rural districts in the parish declined in numbers. Tomintoul, the highest village in Scotland, became a famed summer resort. The congregation existed in what was described as “a stronghold of Roman Catholicism.”
Membership: 1848, 106; 1900, 95.
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.

Extent of the records is unknown.

St. Michael, Now Our Lady and St. Michael[edit | edit source]


Beginning about the 1680s, there was a resident priest in the area of Strathavon, and by 1763 there were 500 communicants. The chapel for this congregation was located between Findron and Auchriachan until about 1788 when a church was begun in Tomintoul. Despite its location, it was known as Strathavon to 1830. In 1837 the congregation built the large church of St. Michael, now Our Lady and St. Michael. The Statistical Account for Kirkmichael for 1842 notes that between 1833 and 1839 there were 123 Roman Catholic births and 16 marriages in the parish. Attendance at church averaged 485.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1880, Scotland, by Michael Gandy,
pub. 1993. Family History Library Brit Ref.Book 942K24gm, vol. 6

Registers of Births 1808–1970
Registers of Confirmations 1809–1968
Registers of Deaths 1809–1970
Note: Available online for a fee, at , Edinburgh, record MP/35.

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]

Kirkmichael was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Aberdeen until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Banff. 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 Banff and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Aberdeen.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Banff. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Banff 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: 26 June 2014.

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