Stewarton, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #616

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


       The nearest town is Stewarton.  The name is evidently formed from the Surname Stewart, first used as a family distinction by Walter II in 1204.  David Dale was the son of a grocer, and born, in January 1739, in a two story thatched house at the cross of Stewarton. His charity was extensive, and there are individuals living here who still partake of his bounty.  The major land owners were  William Cuninghame, Esq. of Lainshaw; Alexander Kerr, Esq. of Robertland; and C. S. M’Alister, Esq. of Kennox.   The land was primarily used for, potatoes, dairy, oats, rye-grass, cattle, horses, sheep, and swine.   The population in 1793 was 3000 and in 1841 was 4654.  The registers have been preserved since 1693, though not regularly kept until 1794. Very few of the Dissenters register, and great are the inconveniences often felt from this omission. The religious attendance of the parishioners  is  Relief 4, Reformed Presbytery, 5, Papists, 13, Church of England, 2, Methodists, 2, United Secession Church, 213, Original Burghers, now of the Establishment, 76, Congregationalists, 48, and Established Church communicants 1316.

This account was written in 1842.

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 Stewarton.  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 Stewarton as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index        
1841 1042739 CD-ROM  no. 2524
1851 1042411
1861 103807
1871 103966
1881 203609 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220228

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: 1693-1854 1041470
Marriages: 1693-1854 1041470
Deaths: 1754-1756 1041470

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 FamilySearch Records.
Births: A portion of 1744–1755 and all of January 1747–1826 are copies.
Marriages: Entries for April 1746–August 1747 are on a page after the draft of births for November 1748. No entries August 1747–December 1796. The record terminates in April 1802.
Deaths: The only records are burials.
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 1849–1902
Proclamations and Marriages 1750–1795, 1802–1806
Burials 1753–1877 - with gaps
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/854.

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.

Stewarton United Presbyterian Church

The violent settlement of a minister in Kilmaurs in 1738 excited the sympathy of many persons in the surrounding parishes, in behalf of the reclaimers against it, and amongst others who withdrew from the Established Church and acceded to the Associate Presbytery. They were united to that of Kilmaurs, with one minister for a time common to both. In 1797 it was disjoined from it and obtained a minister to itself. A church was built in 1775and a new church was built in 1854.
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 ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Stewarton Free Church, formerly Original Secession

The Original Secession Congregation in Stewarton, which joined the Church of Scotland in 1839, adhered to the Free Church in 1843. Their church, built in 1841, was retained by the congregation. The manse was built in 1834.
Membership: 1848, 320; 1900, 221.
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 1835–1947
Baptismal Register 1843–1860
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/789.

Stewarton Evangelical Union Church

A Congregational Church was formed in 1827, though believers had been gathering in fellowship for some time. The church entered the Evangelical Union in 1873.
Source: AHistory of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library Britishbook 941 K2es. It also includes a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189, 240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

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

Stewarton was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Ary.  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