Ardrossan, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #576

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



       The name of this parish may signify a highest promontory on which the remains of the Castle of the ancient Barons of Ardrossan still stand.  Saltcoats and Androssan are the nearest towns.  Dr. Robert Simpson, the celebrate professor of mathematics in the University of Glasgow is from this parish.  The Earl of Edington, Archibald Cunningham of Caddel, James Carreck Moore of Corsewall, Captain John Brooks of Knockewart were the major land owners.  The land was primarily used for oats, wheat, potatoes,turnips, hay, cheese, dairy cows, cattle, horses, and sheep.  The population in 1791 was 1518.  The population in 1831 was 3595.   From May 1682 till May 1725 the registers were regularly kept but have been lost. From 1743 till 1787 they were regularly kept. From 1802 till 1816 they are imperfect, but are now kept with great accuracy.  In November of 1836, 2170 belong to the Established Church, and 1223 belonged to the Dissenters of all denominations, and 441 belonged to no known church.

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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Ardrossan. 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 census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Androssan as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family History Library. Film Number Surname Index        
1841 1042730 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042371
1861 103799
1871 103956
1881 203588 6086514 (10 fiche)
1891 220204

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 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: 1734-1854 1041327 item 2-4
Marriages: 1738-1846 1041327 item 2-4

1846-1854 1041328 item 1
Deaths: No Entries

Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family histor centers.  Some records may be indexed in FamilySearch Records.
Births: There are no entries for January 1736–October 1738 and after 1800 they are extremely irregular. Blank spaces originally were left and these have subsequently been filled up by the insertion of whole families together. These entries are between 1778 and 1848. Following these are 22 pages, the upper parts have been damaged by dampness. They contain a regular record 1799–1815 and irregular entries, on the first and last pages, 1778–1813. Mothers' names are recorded after 1736.
Marriages: From December 1804–June 1813 the record is one of proclamations only. The pages are blank June 1813–January 1816. On the last date the fact of marriage is again added to the entries. The record 1816–1820, is engrossed on alternate pages of the register of Births.
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:

Various Minutes 1832–1904
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1033.

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.

Saltcoats General Associate, later West United Presbyterian Church

Mr. James Mair, assistant minister of Ardrossan, acceded to the Associate Presbytery in July 1739. A number of the parishioners of Ardrossan followed his example by acceding to the Associate Presbytery in October following. The Presbytery joined the seceders at Ardrossan to the congregation of Kilmaurs, see parish of Kilmaurs. In 1758, they were disjoined from Kilmaurs, as part of the congregation of Kilwinning then forming. (see parish of Kilwinning). In 1768 they petitioned to be disjoined from Kilwinning and form into a separate congregation, but the Presbytery refused to comply. A Relief Congregation was formed in the parish soon after, and several of them connected themselves with it. In 1778 the remaining seceders in Ardrossan petitioned the Presbytery again to be formed into a congregation separate from Kilwinning, but they were again refused. A violent settlement took place in the parish of Ardrossan in 1789, which led to the formation of an Associate Burgher congregation in Saltcoats (see next page), and several of the persons referred to above connected themselves with it. Those that were disconnected with either of the dissenting congregations now in Saltcoats, joined the General Associate congregation of Kilwinning until the death of the minister in 1793. Upon petition to the Presbytery, they were disjoined from it, and formed into a separate congregation. They worshiped in a hall in the town until 1801, when they took possession of a place of worship which they had built for themselves.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

Saltcoats Relief, later East United Presbyterian Church

The incumbent of the parish of West Kilbride, which is bounded on the southeast by that of Ardrossan, was much disliked by a number of his parishioners, who, to avoid his ministrations, attended religious ordinances at Irvine. After doing so for some time they obtained the cooperation of several of the parishioners of Ardrossan, in an application to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow, for supply of sermon, which was granted in 1780. Saltcoats was fixed upon for the seat of the congregation, as it was most conveniently situated for the great proportion of the persons composing it, and a place of worship was built there in 1784. This congregation became United Presbyterian in 1847.
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.

Minutes 1784–1796, 1817–1833
Managers’ Minutes 1784–1909
Accounts 1784–1815
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/598.

Countess Street Associate, later United Presbyterian Church

When a patron presented a new minister to the parish of Ardrossan in 1789, the parishioners, particularly those resident in Saltcoats where the church is situated, found him to be very obnoxious and attempted to prevent his settlement, but without success. In compliance with an injunction of the General Assembly, to which the case had been appealed, the Presbytery ordained him on September 1st, 1789. After his settlement took place the reclaiming party met and resolved to apply to the Associate Burgher Presbytery for supply of sermon, which was obtained in 1790. A regularly organized congregation formed soon after. The church was built in 1792. After 1852 this congregation united with the West Church.
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.

Minutes 1837–1839, 1852–1893
Congregational Board Minutes 1846–1894
Enclosures 1815–1846
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1535.

Ardrossan Free Church

This congregation was formed in 1844 by sympathizers with the Free Church. The church was built in 1844 and the charge was sanctioned in November 1845. A new church was erected in 1859. It was afterwards enlarged and improved.
Membership: 1848, 98; 1900, 364.
Source:Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. It includes a list of ministers.
Minutes 1847–1893
Accounts 1845–1880
Cash Book 1847–1892
Register of Baptisms 1846–1886
Communion Roll 1848–1885
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/761.

Saltcoats Landsborough Free Church

Dr. Landsborough, minister of Stevenston parish, and the majority of his congregation, Acame out@ in 1843. The church was built and opened in January 1844. The congregation benefited by the revival of 1859. The church was renovated and enlarged in 1869–1879.
Membership:1848,255; 900, 470.
Source:Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572.This source includes a list of ministers.

Minutes 1843–1968
Register of Members 1848–1899
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/573.

Ardrossan Congregational Church

The church was formed in 1837. Until 1860 the church met in various halls. That year a church was built in Bute Place. The congregation withdrew from the Congregational Union in 1844 under the influence of the Morisonian Movement, and was admitted to the Evangelical Union in 1894. The present church was built in 1903.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library. British book 941 K2es.

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

Saltcoats, Our Lady Star of The Sea Roman Catholic Church

A church was not dedicated until 1856, but mission work was done in the area of Saltcoats and Kilbirnie before that time. Most of the Catholics were Irish immigrants.

Baptisms 1845–1846, 1853–1902
Marriages 1853–1933
Note:Available online for a fee, at,  Edinburgh, record MP/ 60, 88.

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

Androssan 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 Stevenston Parish

Return to the Ayrshire Parish List.