Coylton, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish  #583

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


The parish received its name from the river Coyl. The word Coyl is Gaelic and signifies wood. It is thought that at one time this district may have been a forest.  Ayr and Coylton Village are the closests villiages in the parish.  A branch of the family of the Crawfords of Camlarg and Drongan was the founder of an old family, the Crawfords of Drumsuy in Coylton. William the first of this name, is designed in writ under the Great Seal in 1567, “W. Crawford of Drumsoy.”  The land was primarily used for, cattle, sheep, dairy products, barley, wheat, turnip, title works, potatoes, and rye-grass hay.   The population in 1791 was 667, and in 1841 was 1484.  The earliest registration of births is dated 15th February 1725; and of marriages, 29th May 1725. Since that time these registers have, with few exceptions, been regularly kept. The present session-clerk has kept with great accuracy, a register of the deaths for the last fourteen years.  All the inhabitants are connected with the Established Church, with the exception of six families, who are Roman Catholics; one belonging to the Relief; one to the United Secession; one to the Associate Synod of Original Seceders.

This history was written in 1841.

source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (FHL 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 Coylton. 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 Coylton as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Film Number Surname Index          
1841 1042732 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042373
1861 103800
1871 103958
1881 203593 6086514 (10 fiche)
1891 220210

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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1723-1854 1041336 item 1-3
Marriages: 1723-1854 1041336 item 1-3
Deaths: 1783-1793 1041336 item 1-3

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 FamilySearch Records.
Births:There are no entries June 1725–August 1726. There are six irregular entries, 1790–1804, after November 1804 and six 1793–1805, after December 1812. Entries are out of the order of time about 1817–1819 inclusive.
Marriages: Only one entry December 1725–January 1727. The records are blank January 1756–February 1759. There are no entries December 1769–March 1771. The records are blank March 1798–November 1802.
Deaths: Burial records terminate March 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 1723–1739, 1748–1926
Accounts and Cash Book 1723–1731, 1772–1911
Proclamation Register 1820–1949
Rolls of Male Heads of Families 1835–1839
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/810.

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.

There are no known nonconformist groups.

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

Coylton 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