Symington, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #618

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

History[edit | edit source]

Symington and Kilmarnock are the nearest towns.  The name of the parish is derived from a person who formerly resided here, called Simon Lockhart; Simon’s town or Symington.  About the year 1770, Dr. Fullerton of Rosemount, on his return from India, rebuilt the mansion-house at Rosemount in a modern style, cultivated his land, and tastefully ornamented the grounds with belts of planting, giving employment to a great number of poor families. The major land owners were: Lieutenant-Colonel William Kelso of Dankeith; Lady Mary Montgomerie, who is patroness; Georg Bogle, Esq. of Rosemount; William Hay Boyd, Esq. of Townend; and James Ogilvy Fairlie, Esq. of Whitehill.  The land was primarily used for sheep, cattle, swine, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and hay.

The population in 1792 was 359, and in 1838 was 825.  The registers have been kept as far back as 1642, but very irregularly until 1780.  There is a Dissenting meeting held once a fortnight in a garret room, but there are not above five or six Dissenting families in the parish

This account was written in 1839 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 Symington.  Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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 Syminton 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 1042407
1861 103807
1871 103966
1881 203610 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Event Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1642-1671, 1719-1854 1041471 item 3-6
Marriages: 1650-1671, 1783-1854 1041471item 3-6
Deaths: 1783-1806 1041471 item 3-6

Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

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: Births are intermixed with marriages and other matter prior to 1671. There are no entries 1661–1666; April 1671–August 1719. There is an imperfect page at August 1719. After May 1754 the record is extremely irregular and incomplete until April 1781. Mothers' names are seldom recorded until 1781.
Marriages: Entries prior to 1671 are proclamations only and intermixed with births for that same time. No entries 1661–66, September 1671–December 1783, and March 1810–March 1815. The fact of marriage is not recorded until February 1796 except in the first four entries of December 1783.
Deaths: There are no entries July 1797–October 1798, and the record ends October 1806.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970 British book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

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, 1689–1705, 1716–1736, 1778–1934
Cashbook 1787–1818
Communion Roll and Roll of School Pupils 1849–1858
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/728.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

=Symington Free Church[edit | edit source]

George Orr, minister of the parish, and his congregation, "came out" at the Disruption. For a time they worshiped in a vacant public house, fitted up for the purpose; the minister living in a hired room in a farm house. Church and schoolhouse were built by February 1844.
Membership: 1848, 210; 1900, 102.
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 1843–1930
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/656.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Symington 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.