Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #593

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


The parish of Galston is situated in the district of Kyle. Kilmarnock and Glasgow are the nearest towns. There are Roman ruins thought to be a military fortress in the parish. The Duke of Portland, Mr. Brown is the major land owner.  The land was primarily used for cheese, butter, black cattle, sheep, hay, potatoes, turnips, and coal. The population in 1790 was 1577. The population in 1831 was 3655. The parish records are imperfect and mutilated prior to 1692. The earliest record is dated 1568. There is one dissenting chapel in the village of Galston.

This history was written in 1837.
source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family History Librarybook 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 Galston. 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 Scotland Census Records.

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


Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042734 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042403
1861 103802
1871 103961
1881 203597 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220213

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 Scotland 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: 1670-1677, 1687-1854 1041377
Marriages: 1693-1828, 1848-1854 1041377
1828-1848 1041378
Deaths: 1762-1763 1041377

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: Pages are blank May 1677–January 1692, except two entries 1683–1686 and ten entries 1678–1688. Mothers' names are not recorded until May 1785. (See also the Kirk Sessions below.)
Marriages: There are no entries February 1738–January 1739. Pages are blank April 1743–January 1806, except four entries 1794–1795. From 1739–1743 there only proclamations, and the fact of marriage sometimes is omitted after 1809. Three pages of undated entries are after the record for 1819.
Deaths: There are a few entries on two pages for 1762–1763.
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:

Baptisms 1568–1575, 1638–1644, 1736–1739
Accounts 1591–1599, 1626–1630, 1633–1645, 1651–1655, 1670–1677, 1692–1768
Minutes 1626–1630, 1633–1655, 1670–1677, 1692–1949
Loose Sheets Mainly Concerning Matters of Discipline 1757–1813
Penalties 1645–1650
Poors’ Fund Accounts 1645–1649
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1335.

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.

Galston United Presbyterian Church

In 1737 the then incumbent of the parish of Galston gave great offence to a number of his parishioners by persisting in reading "The Porteous Act" from the pulpit in opposition to their repeatedly expressed wishes to him to abstain from doing so. Finding their remonstrance’s unavailing they withdrew, not only from his ministry, but also from the established church, and acceded to the Associate Presbytery. The Breach, 1747, divided the seceders in Galston as elsewhere, when the portion adhering to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod continued to travel to Kilmaurs as before, until the congregation of Clerks Lane, Kilmarnock originated, when they joined themselves to it. In 1786, upon petition to the Presbytery, they formed into a separate congregation, with its seat in Galston. They met in a hired house until 1797, when they took possession of a place of worship which they had erected for themselves.
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.

Minutes 1793–1822, 1832–1910
Accounts 1797–1844, 1851–1861, 1878–1906
Few Miscellaneous Papers 1835–1938
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/836.

Galston Free Church

This congregation was formed after the Disruption by Free Church residents in the Irvine Valley. The charge was sanctioned in January 1844. That year a church was built, and a manse in 1846. In 1846 the members from Newmilns and Loudoun parish were disjoined to form the Loudoun Free Church. A new church was erected in 1888, and a new manse in 1902. The local industries being coal-mining and lace manufacture, there were many young men and women in the congregation.
Membership: 1848, 220; 1900, 271.
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.

The extent of pre–1855 records is unknown.

Galston Evangelical Union

The church was formed in 1843 by 36 members of the Kilmarnock Evangelical Union Church. The congregation joined the Union in the following year. The church was opened in May 1845 and closed in 1962.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library British book 941 K2es.

The extent of records is unknown. For more information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

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

Galston 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