Kennedys in the 1690 Hearth Tax returns of Scotland

Iain Kennedy

version 1 12th November 2006

Copyright © 2007 Iain Kennedy


A tax was raised on every hearth in Scotland in 1690. Collection was difficult or in some areas impossible and dragged on for five years. The records can be found at the National Archives of Scotland collection E69. To my knowledge only a very small number of counties have been published in limited edition hard copy. The Ayrshire Federation of Historical Societies have published the returns for Ayrshire. Needless to say, the Kennedys are well represented here as not only was this their heartland but there were many landed families which increased the chance of appearing in the returns. In 2001 the Scottish Genealogy Society published Karl Ian Ransome's transcription of the Perthshire returns. Geographical coverage was less than 100% due to a combination of difficult terrain and remoteness and no doubt hostility, since the purpose of the tax was to pay for the Army's campaign against the Jacobites.

The Perthshire return even in transcribed format is not an easy document to work with. The parishes appear in more than one section interspersed with each other although this may just reflect their layout on the ground - all the NW parishes had dislocated segments. Spellings of course are totally inconsistent and are reproduced as they were written down. 'Modern' style forename and surname format is used, although probably most of those listed were still using the patronymic system in daily life; quite a few parishes had not started recording baptisms and marriages and the return might well be the first time an individual's name had been written down.

The following parish returns are of particular interest since there were some years to go before commencement of their parochial registers:

Fortingall (OPR 1748)

Moulin (OPR 1740)

Blair Atholl (OPR 1718)

Callander (OPR 1710)

Dull (OPR 1703)

(this list is incomplete).

So where were the Kennedys? The answer is disappointing.

Grand totals of all individuals: 8365 (Dunblane/Auchterarder presbyteries) + 14348 (Dunkeld/Perth presbyteries)

Kennedys: 5!

Camerons: 49 (by way of comparison, as the two names often appear alongside each other due to clan associations)

M(a)cGregor: 102

John Kennedie 2 hearths (Earl of Perth's interest)

Don Kennedie + Jon Kennedie 3 hearths (Balachine, Logiereat & Doulie par.)

Duncan Kennetie 3 hearths (Findynet, Dull par.)

Alexr. Kennetie 3 hearths (Logiereat par.)

Despite the tiny numbers, we can say that the parishes they appear in are no surprise if we tabulate Kennedy birth entries in the OPR for Perthshire parishes where the lists are topped by Logierait (355) and Dull (345). Fortingall comes a distant third with 148.

The tax returns for these three parishes were, in order, Logiereat/Duallie 777; Dull 443; Fortingall 265.

The book is a gem and is available in limited edition from the bookshop at the Scottish Genealogy Society.