Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #590

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


This parish derives its name from a small green hill adjoining the village, on which stands the ruins of an ancient feudal castle. The etymology of the word is so obvious as to require no explanation. But who the Celtic chief was, that gave his name to the hill or fortlet, cannot now be ascertained. Fullarton, Troon, and Dundonald are the nearest major towns. The M’Kerrells of Hillhouse are the only family who have retained possession of their patrimonial estate in any thing like an entire shape. The date of the original grant or purchase is unknown, but it is supposed to have descended in regular succession for 500 years. Lady May Montgomery, lady of Sir Charles Lab, Bart. (Auchans); His Grace the Duke of Portland, (Fullarton); and Sir John C. Fairlie, Bart. (Fairlie) are the major land owners. The land was primarily used for dairy cows, cattle, sheep, turnips, and potatoes.

The population in 1791 was 1317. The parish registers as in most other parishes in Scotland, from the accidents of time, but more especially from the slovenly way in which they have been originally kept, are in a very imperfect state. The oldest volume bears the date of 1602.

There are in all about 1886 Dissenters belonging to different denominations, but consisting chiefly of Burghers, Relief, Baptists, and Roman Catholics.

This account was written in 1841.

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 Dundonald. 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 Dundonald as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family Histrory Library Film Number Surname Index         
1841 1042733 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042402
1861 103801
1871 103960
1881 203597 6086514 ( set of 10 fiche)
1891 220212

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 Famiy History Library Film Number
Births: 1673-1820 1041339 item 3-4
1819-1855 1041340
Marriages: 1679-1709, 1722-1823 1041339item 3-4
1820-1854 1041339
Deaths: 1763-1821 1041339 item 3-4
1820-1854 1041340

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 theInternational Genealogical Index.

Births: The early part of the record is a copy. The mothers' names are not recorded until May of 1754.
Marriages:The early portion of the record is a copy.
Deaths: Deaths and burials are mixed.
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 1602–1612, 1628–1643, 1702–1781, 1809–1873
Accounts 1761–1877
Statute Labor Lists 1824
Parochial Board Contains a List of Persons Entitled to Vote 1848
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/104.

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.

Troon Associate, later United Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Mr. Campbell of Irvine, assisted occasionally by other ministers in the neighborhood, was in the habit of preaching in the Sabbath evenings at Troon. A place of worship was erected there in 1822, but it was not finished when the ministers of the established church also began to perceive the spiritual destitution of the place, and undertook to supply it with sermon. By some means, not well accounted for, they got possession of the place of worship, then recently erected, and the congregation which had been gathered in it, not deeming it expedient to contend about the property, agreed to dissolve. In 1838, a church extension chapel was erected in Troon, to which the congregation formed in connection with the established church removed, and the place of worship erected in 1822 was thereby left unoccupied. The seceders applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Kilmarnock that year. The original place of worship was purchased by the seceders. A new church was built in 1843. The old church is now occupied by the Free Church.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618.

The extent of records is unknown.

Troon Free Church

Office-bearers and members who "came out" at the Disruption formed the congregation here. The buildings first occupied by them were those subsequently used as the court buildings of Troon. The manse was built before 1850, and the church in Portland Street, in 1856.
Membership: 1848, 170; 1900, 404.
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.

The extent of pre–1855 records is unknown.

Dundonald Free Church

This congregation was formed at the Disruption and was at first under the charge of Mr. Burns of Monkton, with the assistance of a probationer. The church was built in 1843, and the manse in 1849. The church was reconstructed in 1885.
Membership: 1848, 165; 1900, 115.
Source:Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572.

The extent of pre–1855 records is unknown.

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

Dundonald 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 List