Muirkirk, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Muirkirk. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 3.1 Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
- 3.2 Established Church—Kirk Session Records
- 3.3 Nonconformist Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Probate Records
Until 1626, this parish was a part of the parish of Mauchline. Muirkirk and Glenbuck are the nearest towns. The gravestone of one John Brown is erected on the Farm of Priesthill. The death of this man was perpetrated with cold-bloody cruelty in the presence of his wife and family. He was shot while kneeling in prayer. The major land owners were: His Grace, the duke of Portland; The Right Honorable the Earl of Douglas; and The Right Honorable the Earl of Hyndford. The land was primarily used for sheep, dairy cows, grains, potatoes, turnips, hay, and coal.
The population in 1837 was 2816. Before the year 1772 the parish registers are very imperfect and irregular; but since that time they have been regularly kept. The first entry is dated in the year 1739.
The Established Church has 380 Families. The Burger Meeting House has 45 Families.
This account was written in 1837
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 Muirkirk. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Muirkirk 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|
|1881||203606||6086514 ( 10 fiche)|
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.
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:||1659-1799||1041399 item 3|
|1787-1855||1041400 item 1-2|
|1773-1809||1041399 item 3|
|1810-1854||1041400 item 1-2|
|Deaths:||1688-1800||1041399 item 3|
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 the International Genealogical Index.
Births: Entries prior to August 1739 are irregular and incomplete. No entries February 1760–July 1762, after which is a page of irregular entries 1766–1831. After December 1765 there are also irregular entries on four pages, 1761–1799, with two entries dated 1833 and 1834. The regular record resumes with December 1772. After 1819 there are eight pages of "Irregular Registrations" for 1789–1825.
Marriages: There are no entries except for two entries, December 1756–November 1773.
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:
Note:Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/272.
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.
Muirkirk United Presbyterian Church
Muirkirk is a village of recent origin, and owes its existence to the discovery and smelting of iron ores in the neighborhood. They applied and obtained supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Kilmarnock, 1820. They built a place of worship in 1823.
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.
Communion Roll 1834–1915
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/240.
Muirkirk Free Church
This congregation was formed after the Disruption by those in the parish who adhered to the Free Church. The charge was sanctioned, and the church built in 1845. The manse was erected in 1851. The church was renovated and enlarged in 1891.
Membership: 1848, 145; 1900, 224.
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.
Years Covered Family History Library Microfilm Number
Baptismal Register 1843 –1860 0304671 item 21
Treasurer's Account Book 1845 –1867
Communion Roll 1843 –1869
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/239.
Muirkirk Evangelical Union Church
A Congregational Church was formed about 1805 and continued until about 1835. The Evangelical Union Church was formed in 1854 and included many members from the older church. A building was erected that year; a second in 1894. Unfortunately the records of this church up to the year 1878 have been lost.
Source:A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library British book 941 K2es. It also includes a list of ministers.
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
Muirkirk Catholic Church
A church was dedicated to St. Thomas in 1856, but earlier events were recorded in Cumnock.
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.
Muirkirk 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