COLONSAY - THE OLD PARISH REGISTER
The "Old Parish Register" was maintained by the Presbyterian minister of the day. Until 1832, he was based in Jura and made only three or four forays across to Colonsay in the course of the year; it appears that he normally left the registers in Jura, and brought them up to date upon his return. This was probably the safest procedure, but it did mean that mistakes have been identified in some entries and one may assume that there were other errors and, perhaps, omissions that have not yet come to light.
Please remember that the transcription given here is only the work of one individual, but it does incorporate any corrections that have been notified over the course of more than a decade. So, although it is thought to be pretty accurate, users should check important references against the original. Microfilms are of course available through Church of Latter Day Saints, but the easiest course is to use
the official resource
online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk .
"Images of Old Parish Register (OPR) records are now publicly available online for the very first time. These comprise the records of births & baptisms and banns & marriages kept by individual parishes of the Established Church of Scotland, before the introduction of civil registration in 1855." The facility is truly magnificent, a great credit to the nation - it includes all the census returns and official records.
Although the Deaths register of Colonsay is very late and brief, the Baptismal and Marriage records enable one to cross-reference information obtained from other sources, such as the passenger list of the "Spencer", 1806 to Prince Edward Island. Using the Register, it is possible to recreate a limited census for (say) 1800, since one might assume that all persons who were married before (say) 1825 would have been alive in 1800, together with most persons baptised between 1795 and 1800. By reference to actuarial figures, one can begin to gauge the number of persons who most likely would have been alive at the time, but who would have already been married by (say) 1800. Such a computation may be made for any given date, and for control can be tested against an actual census of later date. The results seem to indicate that the population level of about 1,000 persons, recorded by an actual census of 1841, had actually obtained for some 50 years. Many hundreds of people had emigrated and/or been evicted during that period, but numbers were maintained by decreased infant mortality coupled with a steady influx of new arrivals, firstly from Jura, later from the Ross of Mull.
Colonsay Baptisms 1796 - 1855 Please note that the name MacCannell in the early Register stabilised as "MacConnell" in Colonsay in later years, but survives in the "MacCannell" form in certain families. In the 1625 Vatican records, the name "Domhnaill" presumably refers.
Colonsay Marriages 1796 - 1854
Colonsay Deaths 1848 - 1854