Tarbolton, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #619

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


Torbolton is the nearest town.  Tor means a round hill, and Torbolton appears descriptive of the situation of the village which was built by the beautiful round hill.  “The Hill” or “Tar-bol” is a beautiful green knoll surmounted by an artificial summit termed the “Moat”. The hill has, in different states of society, been used for very dissimilar purposes even as a place of idolatrous rites and human sacrifice. The land was primarily used for grains, hay, potatoes, turnips, oats, beans, and coal.

The population in 1798 was 1200, and in 1841 was 2612.

There has for many years been a place of worship belonging to the United Secession. The number of communicants is not numerous.

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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Tarbolton. 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 Tarbolton 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 203610 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 203610

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.

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: 1730-1854 1041472
Marriages: 1782-1854 1041472
Deaths: 1783-1785, 1829-1858 1041472

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: There are no entries, except for one, December 1742–December 1745. Upper portion of the page at January 1763 is cut off. Mothers' names are seldom recorded before 1795. Entries are frequently out of order of time after 1796. July 1796–September 1806 is a duplicate record.
Marriages: There are proclamations only until 1788. No entries, except one entry for 1793, December 1788–June 1795. After June 1795 the fact and date of marriage are added to the entries of proclamation except February 1814–January 1816. June 1795–September 1806 is a duplicate.
Deaths: There are no entries, except one for 1824 on flyleaf of marriages, 1795, April 1785–January 1829. The record ends October 1848.
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:

There are no pre–1855 records.

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.

Tarbolton Burgher, United Presbyterian Church

A praying society in Tarbolton acceded to the Associate Presbytery in June 1740. This society subsequently removed to a house at Barhill, a place about 10 miles from Tarbolton, and met there until April 1776, when Rev. Mr. Gilfillan preached from a tent at Milburn. In a short time a regularly organized congregation was formed and a church built in 1777.
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.

Session Minutes 1778–1943
Communion Rolls 1824 and 1831
Other post–1855 Records
Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1511.

Tarbolton Free Church

Immediately after the Disruption evening services were provided for the local adherents of the Free Church, and in the end of July 1843 the congregation was organized. The church was built in 1844, and the manse in 1863. The congregation was sanctioned as a separate charge in 1861. In 1890 it was reduced to a preaching station. Sanction was restored in 1896.
Membership: 1848, 100; 1900, 149.
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.

Session Minutes 1844–1867
Communion Rolls 1845–1861, 1866–1890
Accounts 1843–1862
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1845–1888
Other Post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1512.

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

Tarbolton 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