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Ross and Cromarty

" ... a northern county of Scotland. The mainland portion is bounded N. by Sutherland and Dornoch Firth, E. by the North Sea and Moray Firth, S. by Beauly Firth and Inverness-shire and W. by the strait of the Minch. The island portion, consisting of as much of the island of Lewis as lies north of a line drawn from Loch Resort to Loch Seaforth, is bounded on the W., N. and E. by the Atlantic, and S. by Harris, the southern part of Lewis. Many islands, all but eleven uninhabited, are scattered principally off the west coasts of Lewis and the mainland. The area of the mainland is 1,572,294 acres and of the islands 404,413 acres, giving a total for the county of 1,976,707 acres or 3088.6 sq. m. ... On the North Sea front the chief indentations are Beauly Firth and Inner Moray Firth, marking off the Black Isle from Inverness-shire; Cromarty Firth, bounding the districts of Easter Ross and the Black Isle; Moray Firth, separating Easter Ross from Nairnshire; and Dornoch Firth, dividing north-east Ross from Sutherlandshire."

Extract from Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th ed. Vol. 23. Cambridge, 1911

Archives and Libraries

The Highland Archive Service is responsible for locating, preserving and making accessible archives relating to all aspects of the history of the geographical area of the Highlands.

Information on national archives and links to lists of local archives and libraries can be found on our Scotland Archives and Libraries page.

  • Only a few tombstone inscriptions within the county have been published. See, for instance, the volume covering Wester Ross published by the Scottish Genealogy Society, which covers the parishes of Glenshiel, Lochbroom, and Kincardine. It might also be profitable to contact the Highland Family History Society. Otherwise see under the individual parishes.
  • The Graveyards Project has recorded the names of 6837 individuals from Memorial Inscriptions in Balintore (New), Chapelhill (Nigg), Fearn Abbey, Kilmuir Easter, Logie Easter, Marybank, Nigg and Tarbat in Easter Ross These records are now available through our online Database.

Census

General advice on census records and indexes can be found on our Scotland Census page.

Church History

  • The days of the fathers in Ross-shire by John Kennedy. 4th ed. ¬†Edinburgh : Maclaren, 1867. This includes a biography of the Rev. John Kennedy (1819-1884), Free Church Minister at Dingwall. The book was originally published both in Edinburgh and in Canada.

Church Records

General advice on parish registers throughout Scotland can be found on our Scotland Church Records page.

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For details of these records and indexes to them, see our GRO tutorial and our Scotland Civil Registration page.

Court Records

  • Ross was originally the land bounded by the Moray Firth and Dornoch Firth. Cromarty was formed from the lands in the north of the peninsula known as the Black Isle, to which were added various estates from Ross-shire. Ross was constituted as a county in 1661 and Cromarty in 1685 and again in 1698. They were amalgamated in 1889.

Land and Property

  • Index to Secretary's and Particular Register of Sasines for Sheriffdoms of Inverness, Ross, Cromarty and Sutherland preserved in H.M. General Register House. Edinburgh : HMSO, 1966 The first volume covers the years 1606 to 1608 and 1617 to 1660.

Military Records

  • Rolls of Honour and War Memorials (monuments) are one good resource for family historians, but need to be addressed with some caution - it should not be assumed that they are either complete or accurate. Memorials (and Rolls of Honour) were created at the local parish level after asking the local inhabitants whose names should appear. Thus:

    - Some names may have been omitted, for a variety of reasons.
    - Some names may appear on more than one memorial.
    - Some names may be misspelled, or given names transposed.
    - Some people may be listed as killed in action, but were not.
    - Some people may be listed who were not in the service at all.
    - Some people may have been confused with others of a similar name.

    - A Roll of Honour may sometimes list the names of all who served, not just those who died.
    - Some of the original records may have been incorrect, for a variety of reasons.
    - Some (more recent) research may be incorrect.

Names, Geographical

  • Place-names of Ross & Cromarty by W. J. Watson. Inverness: Northern Counties Printing and Publishing, 1904. This standard work was reprinted, first in 1976 by the Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society, and again in 1996 (ISBN 0-950988-2-6-X) by Highland Heritage Educational Trust. The Trust has also published a map and gazetteer of Gaelic placenames of Easter Ross, Mid Ross and the Black Isle.
  • The place-names of Ross and Cromarty by Ian A. Fraser, IN: The Ross and Cromarty book edited by Donald Omand (Golspie : Northern Times, 1984), 219-229.
  • Names and places in Easter Ross by Rev. William Taylor, IN: Scottish Geographical Magazine, v. 2, no. 1(1886), 1-20.

Social life and Customs

  • Cromartie : Highland life 1650-1914 Eric Richards and Monica Clough. Aberdeen : Aberdeen University Press, 1989 ISBN 0-08-037732-7 This is a superb history of the Cromartie Estate which gives an idea of the social life and social conditions in that part of the world over the two and a half centuries from 1650.

Statistics

  • The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799 edited by Sir John Sinclair. Vol. 17. Inverness-shire, Ross and Cromarty, with a new introduction by Malcolm Gray. EP Publishing 1983, ISBN 0 7158 1017 0.
  • The New Statistical Account of Scotland by the ministers of the respective parishes under the superintendence of a committee of the Society for the Benefit of the Daughters of the Clergy. Vol. 14. Inverness - Ross and Cromarty. Edinburgh : William Blackwood 1845.
  • Both the first and the second (New) Statistical Accounts have been digitised and made available online by Edinburgh Data and Information Access,
  • The County of Ross and Cromarty edited by Alexander S. Mather. Edinburgh : Scottish Academic Press, 1987. (The Third Statistical Account of Scotland; v. 13) ISBN 0-7073-0506-3.
  • The description of the Isle of Lewis which appeared in the first Statistical Account is presented separately, along with the accounts covering the other islands off the west of Scotland, in a compilation volume: The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799 / edited by Sir John Sinclair. Vol. 20. The Western Isles (of Ross, Inverness-shire and Argyll, with Bute). EP Publishing, 1983. ISBN 0-7158-1020-0.
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