Barr, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #580

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Barr. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.


     Barr was made a parish in 1653 from the more remote parts of the parishes of Girvan and Dailly.  Barr, and Girvan are the nearest towns.  It is the birth place of the Viscount Stair.  The Marquis of Ailsa; Sir James Fergusson, and Bart. Of Kilkerran were the major land owners.  The land was primarily used for, oats, sheep, cattle grains, potatoes, and flax.  The population in 1777 was 858.  The population in 1837 was 941.  The parish registers are not very exact, many parents neglecting their duty to register their children.  There is no register of deaths.

This account was written in 1837.

source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family History Library book 941 B4sa, series 2 vol.5)

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Barr. Also available at the Family History Library.  

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Barr as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index          
1841 1042731 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042372
1861 103800
1871 103958
1881 203592 6086514 (10 fiche)
1891 220209

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access indexes through the library.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1689-1854 1041333 item 3-4
Marriages: 1689-1854 1041333 item 3-4
Deaths: No entries

Condition of Original Registers

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.  

Births: Entries for 1810–October 1818 appear to be a copy. Mothers' names rarely recorded until 1796.
Marriages: Chiefly proclamations, except for 1730–1759. No entries March 1791–February 1793.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970 British book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1653–1654, 1733–1736, 1781–1927
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/808.

Nonconformist Church Records

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union Lists.

Barr Free Church

Ebenezer B. Wallace, minister of the parish, and many of his congregation, "came out" in 1843. They worshiped in a tent until the end of the year, when their new church was opened. The manse was built in 1844. The membership was greatly reduced in 1865, when the congregation split over the election of a colleague to Mr. Wallace. A new church was erected in 1892. The pulpit bible dates from 1698. Emigration told adversely on the congregation.
Membership: 1848, 205; 1900, 94.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572.

Baptisms 1843–1903
Minutes 1843–1893
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/757.

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records

Barr was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Ayr.  Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at  You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Ayr and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Glasgow.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Ayr. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Ayr and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Return to the Ayrshire Parish List