" ... a county on the west coast of Scotland, the second largest in the country, embracing a large tract of country on the mainland and a number of the Hebrides or Western Isles. The mainland portion is bounded N. by Inverness-shire; E. by Perth and Dumbarton, Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde; S. by the North Channel (Irish Sea); and W. by the Atlantic. Its area is 1,990,471 acres or 3110 sq.m. The principal districts are Ardnamurchan on the Atlantic, Ardnamurchan Point being the most westerly headland of Scotland; Morven or Morvern, bounded by Loch Sunart, the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe; Appin, on Loch Linnhe, with piers at Ballachulish and Port Appin; Benderloch, lying between Loch Creran and Loch Etive; Lorne, surrounding Loch Etive and giving the title of marquess to the Campbells; Argyll, in the middle of the shire, containing Inveraray Castle and furnishing the titles of earl and duke to the Campbells; Cowall, between Loch Fyne and the Firth of Clyde, in which lie Dunoon and other favorite holiday resorts; Knapdale between the Sound of Jura and Loch Fyne; and Kintyre or Cantyre, a long narrow peninsula (which, at the isthmus of Tarbert, is little more than 1m. wide), the southernmost point of which is known as The Mull, the nearest part of Scotland to the coast of Ireland, only 13m. distant. ... "

Extract from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. 2, Cambridge, 1910


Information below courtesy of Wikipedia.

Argyll (/ɑːrˈɡaɪl/archaically ArgyleEarra-Ghàidheal in modern Gaelicpronounced [ˈaːrˠəɣɛː.əl̪ˠ]), sometimes called Argyllshire, is a historic county and registration county of western Scotland.

Argyll is of ancient origin, and corresponds to most of the part of the ancient kingdom of Dál Riata on Great Britain. Argyll was also a medieval bishopric with its cathedral at Lismore, as well as an early modern earldom and dukedom, the Dukedom of Argyll.

It borders Inverness-shire to the north, Perthshire and Dunbartonshire to the east, and—separated by the Firth of Clyde - neighbours Renfrewshire and Ayrshire to the south-east, and Buteshire to the south.

Between 1890 and 1975, Argyll was an administrative county with a county council. Its area corresponds with most of the modern council area of Argyll and Bute, excluding the Isle of Bute and the Helensburgh area, but including the Morvern and Ardnamurchan areas of the Highland council area.

There was an Argyllshire constituency of the Parliament of Great Britain then Parliament of the United Kingdom, from 1708 until 1983.

Please visit the Names, Personal section for information about the Clan territories in Argyllshire.


Archives & Libraries

  • The Argyll and Bute District Libraries (Highland Avenue, Sandbank, Dunoon PA23 8PB, Argyll. Tel. +44 1369 703214) hold local history material and the IGI (all of Scotland) and sasines. The former Online Catalogue is no longer available.


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

Church Records


Civil Registration

  • Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. These and other records are held at New Register House, National Records of Scotland. Researchers unable to visit New Register House can search the birth and marriage (100-year rule applies) and death indexes (75-year rule applies) online through ScotlandsPeople. This service will also allow searches of the indexes to the Old Parish Records.

Court Records

  • Records of testaments, inventories, etc., are held at the National Records of Scotland.
  • Cases from Argyll heard by the High Court of Justiciary, the supreme criminal court in Scotland, have been published in: The Justiciary records of Argyll and the Isles. Edinburgh : The Stair Society, 1949-1969. Vol. 1. 1664-1705, edited by John Cameron - v. 2. 1705-1742, edited by John Imrie. (Stair Society [series]; 25)

Emigration & Immigration



  • Scotlands Places
  • The Gazetteer for Scotland deserves study - take some time to fully explore its features in depth.
  • A transcription of the section for Argyll District from Groomes's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1896.
  • A transcription of the section for Argyllshire from Groomes's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1896.


  • Wikipedia has a list of Clans of Argyll with links to more information about each clan.
  • The Mull Genealogy website (notable resources there include a burial index and a list of subscribers to the rootsweb mailing lists and their family interests).
  • Mull family names for ancestor hunters, by Jo Currie. Tobermory: Brown & Whittaker Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-9528428-8-2.

Historical Geography


Land & Property

  • Abstracts of the General Register of Sasines for Argyll, Bute and Dunbarton, otherwise known as the Argyll Sasines, collected by Herbert Campbell. Edinburgh : W. Brown, 1934
  • Abstracts of the Particular Register of Sasines for Argyll, Bute and Dunbarton, otherwise known as the Argyll Sasines, collected by Herbert Campbell. Edinburgh : W. Brown, 1934
  • Index to Particular Register of Sasines for Argyle, Dumbarton, Bute, Arran and Tarbert, 1617-1780 Edinburgh : HMSO, 1926


  • Ordnance Survey maps of the County of Argyll in the mid 19th century are available via old-maps.co.uk.
  • The location of Argyllshire.

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, Personal

  • The place-names of Argyll : an historical perspective, I.A. Fraser. IN: Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 54 (1984-86), 174-207
  • Isle of Mull : placenames, meanings and stories, Charles Maclean. Dumfries 1997.
  • The place-names of Iona, by Alexander Carmichael. IN: Scottish Geographical Magazine, 2, no. 8 (1886), 461-474 (Pt. 1), 3, no. 2 (1887), 80-87 (Pt. 2), 3, no. 5 (1887), 242-247 (Pt. 3).
  • Notes on place-names of Iona, Hector Maclean. IN: Scottish Geographical Magazine, 3, no. 1 (1887), 35-38

There are several Clans and families whose ancestral lands fall within the boundaries of Argyllshire. Many families make up each Clan in Scotland, so although a Clan may be called Clan MacLachlan or Clan MacLean, there are many family names that are different than those of the Clan leaders yet are still make up the membership of the Clan. Below is a list of Argyllshire Clans. Most of the Clan websites provide the names of families who belong to the Clan.

Clans and Families



  • A listing of death notices, taken from local newspapers, of natives of Mull who emigrated to Prince Edward Island, has been compiled by Judy LeDrew and published on The Island Register, a website devoted to the genealogy of Prince Edward Island.


  • The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799, edited by Sir John Sinclair. Vol. 8. Argyll (Mainland). East Ardsley, Wakefield : EP Publishing, 1983. ISBN 0-7158-1008-1
  • The Statistical Account of Argyleshire, by the ministers of the respective parishes. Edinburgh : William Blackwood 1845. [3], 728p.
  • 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 Argyll, edited by Colin M. MacDonald. Glasgow : Collins, 1961. 396p. (The Third Statistical Account of Scotland; v. 9)
  • 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.