Dalmellington, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #586

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


The name can be traced to its Gaelic origin Dail, signifying a field or valley, and Muileann which means a mill and the common affix ton. It therefore signifies a mill field.  Ayr and Dalmellington are the nearest towns. The river Doon flows through this parish. The Hon. Colonel and Mrs. Macadam Cathcart of Craigengillan, posses nearly the whole of the parish. The land was primarily used for, coal, sheep, cattle, oats, potatoes, hay, woollen mills. The population in 1791 was 681. The population in 1837 was 1126. The first date of the parish records is March 7, 1641, and for the most part have been well kept to the present day. (1837) The number of Communicants at the Established Church is 465. There are 7 Reformed Presbyterians and a family or two of Irish Papists.

This account was written in 1837.

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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Dalmellington. 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 Dalmellington as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index          
1841 1042732 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042401
1861 103801
1871 103959
1881 203594 6086514 (10 fiche)
1891 220211

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.  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: 1641-1854 1041337 item 3-4
Marriages 1641-1854 1041337 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 FamilySearch Records.[1]

Births: Births are intermixed with marriages prior to 1676. They are blank May 1662–July 1671 and December 1682–August 1690. They are also blank July 1705–November 1719. May 1726–1727, 1727–1789 inclusive is a memorandum book. Entries are out of order of time, frequently 1805–1817. After 1819, there are seven pages containing entries 1810–1817. Mothers' names are seldom recorded until 1816, except 1690–1692.
Marriages:Marriages are intermixed with births prior to 1676. They are blank May 1662–October 1671 and July 1676–August 1690, after which the entries are again intermixed with the births. The records are blank July 1705–November 1719, after which the entries until the 1726 marriages are written on occasional pages of the register of births. A separate record commences in 1730, there is a blank from May 1726. The first few pages are partially destroyed and imperfect entries. There are no entries November 1740–May 1742. After 1820, there is a duplicate of the record 1812–1816 inclusive and twelve pages containing entries of sums collected 1809–1819 inclusive. Except 1700–1705 and 1720–1726, the record prior to 1816 appears to be one of bookings or proclamations.
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 1641–1720, 1728–1800, 1848–1849
Cash Book 1845–1862
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/85.

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.

Dalmellington - Free Church

This congregation was formed of adherents of the Free Church in Carsphairn and Dalmellington. In both parishes preparation had been made in view of the Disruption. In Carsphairn the movement was led by the parish minister, who finally remained in the establishment. At first the whole district, from Dalrymple to Carsphairn, was put under charge of Mt. Spiers of Patna. The Carsphairn part of the congregation met in houses, barns, or on the hillside, until 1844, when the church was built at Lamloch. Those at Dalmellington worshiped in a small schoolroom, then in a dwelling-house which had been turned into a hall. The church was erected in 1851, and the manse in 1853. Church and manse were subsequently renovated. When the lead mines were closed the church at Lamloch, according to agreement, passed into the hands of the proprietor, and was long unused.
Membership: 1848, 231; 1900, 286.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572.

Minutes 1843–1915
Register of Members and Contributions 1849–1855
General Sustentation Fund Register 1846–1849
Communion Roll 1844–1859
Note:Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/777.

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

Dalmellington 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 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.  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.

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