Mauchline, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #604

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


     The name of this parish was formerly spelled Machlein, or Machlene, or Machlin, and means the lake field or meadow.  Haugh and Auchmillan are the nearest towns.  Robert Burns resided here for nearly nine years.  The major land owners were Claud Alexander, Esq. of Ballochmyle; His Grace the Duke of Portland; Lord Glenlee; and Sir James Boswell of Auchinleck, Bart. The land was primarily used for, potatoes, cabbages, turnips, carrots, hay, sheep, and cattle. The population in 1755 was 1169. The population in 1831 was 2232.  The ancient parochial records are now lost. Sometime before the reformation, the Popish clergy perceived their interest declining, To prepare for the worst, they sold their lands in small parcels for ready money, and then departed, carrying with them all their money and effects, and the books and registers. The date of the earliest parish register is 17th January 1670. Till 80 years ago, they were most irregularly kept, being written mostly on detached leaves, so that they are almost useless.  Families belonging to the Established Church is 353.  Families belonging to the Associate Synod is 83.  There are three Roman Catholics in the parish.

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

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index         
1841 1042737 CD-ROM no.2524
1851 1042407
1861 103805
1871 103964
1881 203605 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220222

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: 1670-1854 1041395
Marriages: 1670-1854 1041395
Deaths: 1753-1853 1041395

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: There are no entries December 1683–October 1684, January 1691–November 1698, November 1699–November 1701 and December 1709–December 1731. There is one entry between February 1757–1758. Mothers' names are not recorded until 1784.
Marriages: Prior to 1783 the entries are either intermixed with the births or engrossed on occasional pages of the same register. No entries June 1683–October 1685, except one entry for 1696, March 1692–November 1698, December 1699–December 1701, November 1709–November 1731, December 1742–June 1746, December 1747–December 1749, and September 1756–August 1759. Separate record after February 1783.
Deaths: There are burials only. There are no entries February 1757–January 1768 and May 1806–July 1834, except three entries 1807, 1809, and 1817. After January 1768 the entries are engrossed on occasional pages of the register of births and marriages. There are separate records from March 1783 on.
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 and Accounts 1669–1699, 1701–1709, 1731–1783, 1812–1893
Burials 1763–1767
Baptisms 1838–1911
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/896.

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.

Mauchline Burgher, United Presbyterian Church

The Rev. Mr. Auld of Mauchline, died about 1792 and was succeeded by Mr. Reid. Members of the established church, opposed to the settlement of Mr. Reid seceded from the parish church. They were joined in this movement by members of the secession congregations of Tarbolton and Old Cumnock and supply of sermon was afforded them by the Associate Burgher, Presbytery of Glasgow. They found difficulty in procuring a site for worship; the proprietors in the district were incensed at the idea of a dissenting chapel being built in the village. Having secured a piece of ground to build they came upon a rock when digging the foundation, which furnished them with a quantity of the material required in the erection, except that required for hewn work. A church built in 1796.
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 1834–1890
Managers' Minutes 1826–1860
Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/772.

Mauchline Free Church

This congregation was formed of the members who "came out" of the parish church in 1843. They worshiped in the United Secession Church for a time. The church and manse were built in 1844. A new church was built 1884. The congregation was greatly indebted to Claud Alexander of Ballochmyle for sympathy and generous help. He gave a free site for the church.
Membership: 1848, 245; 1900, 233.
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 1834–1925
Note:Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/771.

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

Mauchline 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