Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #595

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


Irvine ranks among the most ancient of the royal burghs of Scotland. In a charter granted by King Robert in 1308, it is mentioned as a place of great antiquity. Irvine is the nearest town.  Irvine appears to have been visited by a severe plague in 1546. The land was primarily used for dairy cows, potatoes, turnips, and hay.

The population in 1831 was 5200. The population in 1841 was 8377.

Sittings in the Established Church of Irvine -------------- 1800
                     Secession Church ------------------------------- 800
                     Relief Church ------------------------------------- 915
                     Baptist Church ------------------------------------ 600
                     Mr. Smith’s chapel ------------------------------- 350

Additional accommodations in the parish church of Fullarton ------ 850

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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Irvine. 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 Irvine as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Click here for the 1820 census.

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index             
1841 1042734 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042404
1861 103802
1871 103961
1881 203599 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220215

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 LibraryFilm Number
Births: 1687-1820 1041383
1820-1854 1041384
Marriages: 1721, 1736, 1761-1719 1041383
1820-1854 1041384
Deaths: 1785-1795 1041383

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 first two pages are imperfect. Between 1696–August 1700 there is one imperfect page containing about 90 entries, however, the margin which bears the dates’ is destroyed. There are no entries, except eight irregular entries, 1729–1735, August 1729–September1734.
Marriages:Several entries on first four pages are partially destroyed. There are no entries June 1729–September1734, November 1736–May 1760, except two entries 1744–1754, and February 1798–November 1806.
Deaths: Burial record ends December 1796.
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:

Old Irvine, St. Inan’s

Minutes 1709–1750, 1784–1894
Accounts 1763–1774, 1783–1833,
Cash Book 1842–1907
Minutes and Poors’ Fund 1763–1778
Proclamation Register 1852–1864
Other Post–1855 records
Note:Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1505.

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.

Irvine Relief Church Presbyterian Church

In 1751, the Earl of Eglinton as patron presented the Rev. Charles Bannatyne of Kilmory, in Arran, to the church and parish of Irvine, then vacant. The presentee was inducted to his charge in direct opposition to the strongly expressed feelings of a large portion of his parishioners against him. Application was made to the Relief Presbytery for supply of sermon. A petition was presented to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow, on the 18th of August 1773, and a place of worship was built.
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.

FHL Film Number
1778-1790, 1807-1877
0889478 items 3-4  X
0889478 items 3-4  X
Session Minutes
0889478 items 3-4

Note: The X means the records have been extracted.

Trinity Associate Presbyterian Churc

This congregation originated with members of the Associate Burgher congregations in the district, resident in and about Irvine. Supply of sermon was afforded them, on petition, by the Presbytery in 1780, but was discontinued after a time for want of encouragement. It was renewed upon petition again in 1795, and a congregation was organized shortly afterwards. They met in a barn until 1809, when they took possession of a place of worship they had erected for themselves. A new church was opened in 1864.
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.

Births and Baptisms 1809–1854
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1288.

Irvine Free Church

In June 1847 a movement for the formation of a Free Church Congregation was begun by the Free Church adherents in Irvine. In October of that year the congregation was recognized as a preaching station. On a second application, the charge was sanctioned in 1849. The congregation at first worshiped in Hamilhill Chapel. The church was built about 1849. The manse was a legacy to the congregation from Mr. Rankine.
Membership: 1855, 146; 1900, 294.
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 1849–1958
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1058.

Fullarton Free Church

David Wilson, minister of this quoad sacra church, and a strong congregation, "came out" in 1843. A church and manse were erected soon after the Disruption.
Membership: 1848, 312; 1900, 400. 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.'

Session Minutes 1777–1958
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/409, 1058.

Irvine Catholic Church

In 1834, there were 56 Catholic families in Irvine. A church was not founded there until 1862. It was served earlier from Ayr and then from Kilmarnock.

See Ayr and Kilmarnock for records.

Irvine Baptist Church

The church was formed here in December 1803, with George Barclay, a student of Mr. Robert Haldane, as minister. He ministered there for 36 years. The membership numbered over 200 at his death but dwindled to a mere remnant after its second minister left in 1848. In 1872 the church made a new beginning, but was again dissolved due to financial difficulties in 1900. It was reconstituted the following year and is still active today, 1926.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by George Yuille, pub. 1926. Family History Library British book 941 K2hi. It also contains a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown. For more information write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints

Family History Library Film Number
Record of Members 1849–1883 104153 item 6

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

Irvine 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