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Records Section


Interpreting Scottish Records

Almost all Scottish records which have survived are legal. It follows therefore that their wording is very important, so as to ensure that there are no loopholes and that they cannot be misinterpreted.

Even a baptism recorded in a parish register is a legal document. It is dated, gives the names of the parties involved, states whether the child being baptised is 'lawful' or not and is often witnessed.


Archives and Libraries

Details of the Archives and Libraries which can be used to research your local Ayrshire and family history.


Details of Ayrshire Registry Offices. They can do local searches and prints of certificates where details are held in their registry.

Voters Rolls

Voters Rolls or Electoral Registers are a record of each household member entitled to vote in local government and parliamentary elections.

Valuation Rolls

Valuation rolls are a record of properties and ratepayers which were introduced in 1855.  

Estate and Family

As the majority of Ayrshire's population was rural rather than urban until the mid 19th century, Estate and family records are often a useful source for family historians. 


Local and National Newspapers are a good source for death information.


Various directories have been produced over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries covering Glasgow and Ayrshire. These often give complete trades listings and descriptions of towns at that time.

Statistical Accounts

The two Statistical Accounts of Scotland, covering the 1790s and the 1830s, are among the best contemporary reports of life during the agricultural and industrial revolutions in Europe. Learn more about the area in which you or your ancestors have lived, or use this key source to study the emergence of the modern British State and the economic and social impact of the world's first industrial nation

Burials and Monumental Inscriptions

Parish registers of burials are particularly defective in Scotland so gravestones and burial records are often the only death record to survive before compulsory registration began in 1855. 


The International Genealogical Index (IGI), compiled by the Church of the Latter day Saints ( Mormon Church)  is an index to pre-1900 (approx) of birth, christening and marriage records, taken mainly from the Old Parish Registers (OPR) and other statutory registers. Plenty of help with how to go about your search on the internet.


Old Parish Registers - For members of the Church of Scotland, church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials survive, often from the 17th or 18th centuries. 

Kirk Session

While most family historians are familiar with the old Parish registers OPR , the records of the Kirk Session, in the form of baptismal registers, proclamations, poors' accounts, communion rolls etc., can provide useful genealogical information.


Since 1617 the registration of sasines (transfers of land rights) has been compulsory outwith royal burghs. 

Post 1855

The Civil Registration was compulsory in Scotland from 1855.  From that time ALL births, deaths, and marriages had to be registered at the local office.  Various records have now been transcribed and are included here.


The census records for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 are currently available. Some census transcriptions are available here. The whole of the 2% UK 1851 Census is available for browsing or downloading.

Poor Relief

Prior to 1845 poor relief was in the hands of the ecclesiastical authorities. Kirk Session minutes record grants of money and the names of recipients. In the burghs provision was made often by private gift and by the County Council but often the names of the recipients are not recorded.

Testaments and Wills

Wills have been traditionally registered in modern times in one of two systems:1) Registers of Scotland-Books of Council and Session; 2) Commissariot Courts.


The National Archives for Scotland Guide to Adoption Records

To locate an adoption, the NAS staff need to know the adopted person's birth name, the date of adoption and the court that dealt with the adoption. This information can be obtained from:

Registrar General for Scotland General Register Office for Scotland, New Register House,
West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 2YT

With this information the NAS staff can advise whether the record is held there or in a local court.






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