Dalry, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #587

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


The name means the King’s valley, a considerable portion of the parish being in the valley of Garnock.
Dalry is the nearest town. The principle feature of the parish is a beautiful and fertile valley. J. Smith, Esq. of Swinridgemuir; A. Mitchell, Esq. of Maulside. Colonel Blair of Blair; and the Earl of Glasgow were the principle land owners. The land was primarily used for, wheat, oats, barley, potatoes, beans, turnips, hay, cattle, milk cows, and sheep. The population in 1793 was 2000. The population in 1835 was 3841. The registers began in 1683 but were not kept regularly until 1721.

The number of families belonging to the Established Church is --------------------- 500
                                                         United Secession is ------------------------------ 122
                                                         Original Burghers is -------------------------------- 45
                                                         Reformed Presbyterians is ----------------------- 11
                                                         Relief is ------------------------------------------------ 13
                                                         Original Seceeders is -------------------------------- 6

This account was written in 1836.

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

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index         
1841 1042733 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042401
1861 103801
1871 103959
1881 203595 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: 1680-1854 1041338 item 1-3
Marriages: 1679-1854 1041338 item 1-3
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.

Births: Pages are blank, except three entries without year, June 1681–January 1683, July 1683–September 1685 and except four entries, May 1687–November 1689. Pages are blank, except for five entries for 1693, January 1690–November 1698, December 1690–May 1703 and three entries for 1719, and January 1705–May 1724. Imperfect page and many entries are partially destroyed, June 1763–December 1765. The records are Incomplete September 1791–January 1793. There is a page containing irregular entries 1776–1810 after December 1793. Mothers' names are not recorded.
Marriages:Pages are blank August 1683–November 1698, except two entries for 1693, October 1699–November 1700, January 1705–October 1718 and December 1722–June 1724. After January 1789 bookings only are recorded, except from August 1807–January 1811 when the date or the fact of marriages is usually added.
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:

None available.

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.

=Dalry Associate Burgher Church, later Court Hill Street United Presbyterian Church

The Rev. William Wilson, afterwards of Perth, and one of the founders of the Secession Church, was called to Dalry while a probationer and the people of that parish ever after retained a strong attachment to him. A number of the parishioners of Dalry afterwards acceded to the Associate Presbytery and were occasionally visited by Secession ministers and preachers. In 1740 Mr. Smyton was ordained at Kilmaurs, 4 miles southeast of Dalry, and the Seceders in that place were included in his congregation, the Presbytery at his ordination requiring him to preach there six Sabbaths in the year. In 1784, the members, then numbering thirty, resolved on building a place of worship, and Mr. David Boyle, previously an Elder of the parish church, who had now joined them, presented them with a piece of ground for the purpose. On it a church was built in 1785. A new church was opened on the 9th of August 1857. At the union of the two great branches of the Secession in 1820, the seceders in Dalry, who until then had traveled to Kilmaurs to attend public ordinances, generally ceased doing so, and connected themselves with the congregation of Dalry.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873.Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Family History Library Film Number
Baptisms 1789–1923 1482993 item 2–3
Session Minutes 1789–1847 1482993 item 2–3
Accounts 1791–1887
Stipend Receipts 1791–1831, 1834–1898
Collections 1833–1835, 1844–1857
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/71.

Dalry Free Church

This congregation was formed in June 1843. The charge was sanctioned in February 1844. The congregation worshiped for a time in the Burgher Church. A new church was built and opened in July 1845. A school and teacher's house, afterwards erected, were taken over by the school board in 1872, the congregation reserving the right to use the building when not used for school purposes. The manse was built in 1846. The congregation split in 1885 over the choice of a minister, when 120 left with disjunction certificates.
Membership: 1848, 350; 1900, 209.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914.Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Minutes 1843–1904
Baptismal Register 1843–1945
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1033.

Dalry, St. Palladius Catholic Church

In 1834, there were 34 Catholic families in Dalry. They were served from Paisley, Renfrewshire before 1845. A church was dedicated in 1848.

Baptisms and Marriages 1845–1846, 1848–1908
Note: Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, records RH21/88 & 53.

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

Dalry 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.

Return to the Ayrshire Parish Lists