- source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
- source: Family History Library Catalog
NOTE: Inverness-shire needs three 's's following each other--two on ness and one on shire. Therefore, it is spelled with a hyphen.
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
The County of Inverness or Inverness-shire (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) was a general purpose county of Scotland, with the burgh of Inverness as the county town.
- end of Wikipedia contribution
"Inverness was the largest and in some respects the most varied county in Scotland. Extending across Scotland from the east coast along the upper shores of the Moray Firth to the Atlantic Ocean on the west, it included actually the whole of the Outer Hebrides with the exception of the Island of Lewis. In addition, the Small Isles - Canna, Rum, Eigg, and Muck - and the Isle of Skye are included in this county.
"Only a small portion of the vast area of over four thousand miles is cultivated, or indeed inhabitable. The rest is occupied largely by mountains, rough hill grazing, heath, natural woodlands, plantations, deep valleys, and stony wildernesses."
(From British Towns and Villages Network)
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
The county of Inverness covered a large mainland area and various island areas off the west coast. The mainland area had a short coastline on the east and as well as a long west coastline and included, as well as the burgh of Inverness, the towns of Kingussie, Fort William, and Mallaig.
The island areas included North Uist, South Uist and Harris in the Outer Hebrides and Skye and the Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides.
The neighbouring counties were: Ross and Cromarty to the north, Nairnshire, Moray, Banffshire and Aberdeenshire to the east and Perthshire and Argyll to the south.
- The burgh of Inverness was the county town of Inverness-shire. It was established as a royal burgh in the mid 12th century.
- Fort William, was originally a fort of that name built by the British government to keep the Highlanders in their place. Around it grew up a village which became in turn Gordonsburgh, Maryburgh, Duncansburgh and latterly the town/burgh of Fort William (established as a burgh of barony in 1618.
- Kingussie was established as a burgh of barony in 1464.
In the 1890s two pieces of legislation defined Inverness-shire as a county and set up how it was to be governed on a local basis. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 established county councils in Scotland, and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1894 established parish councils for every parish.
Thus Invernessshire acquired a county council in 1890 and boundaries were altered to make the county a single contiguous area (except, of course, for island areas). These obliged some transfers with the neigbouring counties of Nairnshire, Argyll and Ross and Cromarty.
The burghs of Inverness, Fort William, and Kingussie, which had previously had their own town councils, retained autonomous status and were generally beyond the writ of the new county council.
In 1930 the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 abolished the Scottish poor law system with institutions passing to the local authorities; and reorganised local government in Scotland, introducing joint county councils (for some counties), large burghs, small burghs and landward districts. The landward districts in Inverness-shire were Aird, Badenoch, Inverness, Lochaber, Skye, North Uist, South Uist, Barra and Harris (only the first four were on the mainland; the last five being islands).
The landward districts introduced by this act were the predecessors of the lower tier of local government employed when "regions" were introduced in 1975. With the further introduction of unitary authority areas made in 1996, these districts have been replaced by wards, but not on a one-for-one basis.
Civil parishes as established 1891-1975 are as follows:
Isle of Skye Parishes
Western Isles Parishes
Notes for the Highland Council Area and the Western Isles Council Area
The local archives are held by The Highland Archive Service which is based in Inverness with branches in Stornoway, Fort William and Caithness. It is "responsible for locating, preserving and making accessible archives relating to all aspects of the history of the geographical area of the Highlands."
Family history societies and historical associations covering the Highland Council Area and the Western Isles Council Area are:
These associations publish their aims on their websites as well as a list of publications. In many cases the publications are also available through the Scottish Genealogy Society (see below).
Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses
- Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.
- See the publications lists of the above Family History Societies.
- The FreeCen Project--Scotland has a searchable (not browsable) transcription for each of the counties in the area. Nairnshire and Caithness have the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 complete. Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty have 1841 complete with some work on 1851 and Sutherland has not completed 1841.
Transcriptions of Gravestone Inscriptions
- The Scottish Genealogy Society provides a series of monumental inscriptions either in print in booklet form or on CD for each of the counties in the area (Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty, and Sutherland). Some of the booklets cover only one graveyard, others cover a group. Prices vary. In many cases the coverage is of pre-1855 stones only--this is because gravestone inscriptions are often used by family historians as death registration equivalents in the era of the Old Parish Registers (when deaths were not universally recorded).
- Sutherland cemeteries are covered in Pre-1855 tombstone inscriptions in Sutherland burial grounds by A S Cowper & I Ross, published at Edinburgh in 1989 by the Scottish Genealogy Society.
- There are no specific notes for gravestone transcriptions for either Inverness-shire or Nairnshire in GENUKI. However, the Scottish Genealogy Society lists booklets for both counties.
Sources for Emigration Records
- Hebrides People have a database containing lists of people who emigrated to North America from a number of parishes in the Western Isles.
Further Sources of Reference
Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.
- GENUKI has articles on each of the counties. These may not appear up-to-date but a query to the organizer made in August 2014 was answered within a few hours and followed up by an amendment to the article.
- The Gazetteer for Scotland provides an article on each of the old counties of Scotland. The tabs on the right provide more information, plus a map of the county within its surrounding area, with parishes highlighted and linked to more information. Each parish within the county also has a set of webpages which follow the same design.
- The FamilySearch Wiki article on Scotland provides information on research in Scotland in general and links to pages for the individual counties and from there to some individual parishes.
- The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
- The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
- Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.
Overviews of the county