Newton-upon-Ayr, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #614

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


    The name of the parish is evidently derived from its situation on the banks of the Ayr river.   Ayr is the nearest town.  The parish is of very small extent, being only a mile and a half in length and a mile in width.  The freemen are proprietors of all the land in the parish with the exception of ten acres. William Forbes, Esq. of Callendar, has the right of superiority over main street.  The land was primarily used for,  coal, potatoes, turnips, hay and grains of all kinds.  The population in 1791 was 1689.
The population in 1831 was 4020.  The registers have been kept regularly since 1779.

The religious attendance of the parishioners was:

Established Church---------------------------2960 holding -------------708 sittings
Relief ------------------------------------------------282 -------------------------116
United Secessions -----------------------------188 --------------------------85
Original Seceders ------------------------------102 --------------------------51
Reformed Presbyterians------------------------47 --------------------------15
Methodists ------------------------------------------86 --------------------------24
Episcopalians --------------------------------------51 -------------------------13
Independents ---------------------------------------20 -------------------------11
Moravian ----------------------------------------------9 ----------------------------1

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 Newton-upon-Ayr. 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 Newton-upon-Ayr as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Film Number Surname Index         
1841 1042738 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042410
1861 103807
1871 103966
1881 203608 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220226

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 FHL Film Number
Births:  1780-1854 1041406
Marriages 1780-1854 1041406
Deaths: 1811-1854 1041406

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 maybe indexed in FamilySearch Records.

Note:This parish disjoined in 1779 from that of Monkton & Prestwick. It is bounded on the east by St. Quivox and is sometimes listed with it.

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 1780–1916
Accounts 1780–1812, 1837–1847, 1856–1885
Register of Deaths 1811–1844, 1853
Note:Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/827.

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.

Newton–Upon-Ayr Free Church

James Stevenson, minister of the parish, and a large part of his congregation, "came out" in 1843. They met for worship in a Congregational Church until December of that year, when their own church was opened. About 1845 they purchased the Charity School buildings, and in 1847 built a school. The manse was erected in 1850. A new church was erected on the old site in 1862. A mission was carried on in Wallacetown until 1854, when it was sanctioned as a territorial charge.
Membership: 1848, 602; 1900, 589.
Source:Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1943–1900, 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 1843–1916
Communion Roll 1844–1853
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/795.

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

Newton-up-Ayr 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.

See also Ayr Parish

See also St Quivox Parish

Return to the Ayrshire Parish List