Monkton, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #606

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


The parish of Monkton received its name form its association with the Paisley monastery.  Monkton, Prestwick and Prestwick Toll are the nearest towns.  The Churches of Monkton and Prestwick are both very old, having been built as far back as 1440.  The major land owners were: Robert Reid, Esq. of Adamton; R.A. Oswald, Esq. Auchencruive; W. G. Campbell, Esq. of Fairfield; and A. Murdoch, Esq. of Whiteside.

The population in 1755 was 400.  The population in 1837 was 1818.  The earliest entry in the registers is 1702, earlier volumes having been lost. They are now regularly kept.

There are about 200 Dissenters in the parish, 60 of whom are Roman Catholic.

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 Monkton. 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 Monkton 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 1042406
1861 103805
1871 103964
1881 203606 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220223

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: 1702-1800 1041398
1800-1854 1041399
Marriages: 1817-1854 1041399
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 theInternational Genealogical Index.  
Births: Frequently the entries are out of order of time after 1800. Mothers' names are not recorded until 1769.
Marriages: Proclamations are included with the marriages.
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 1615–1922
Baptismal 1850–1854
Communion Roll 1834–1843
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/809.

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.

Prestwick Free Church

Dr. Thomas Burns, nephew of the poet, minister of the parish, and the majority of the congregation, "came out" in 1843. They worshiped in the open air during the summer of 1843, on the farm of Orangfield, near Monkton. The first church was built in Monkton and opened in December 1843. A church was built in Prestwick in 1874, the church at Monkton being then used as a church hall.
Membership: 1848, 330; 1900, 313.
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.

Records for 1843–1900 are deposited at the Aryshire Archive Centre, Craigie Estate, Ayr, Scotland, but their extent is not known.

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

Monkton 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