New Cumnock, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #608

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



     New Cumnock was separated from Cumnock in 1650.  Old Cumnock, and Pathhead are the nearest towns.  A large number of small coins, enclosed in a small earthern jar, and in a state of high preservation, were dug up about eight years ago.  The major land owners were: The Marquis of Bute; M. T. Carmichael, Esq. of Mains; Sir Charles Menteath of Closeburn and Mansfield; and D. S. Buchannan, Esq. of Cunninghamehead.  The land was primarily used for, oats, barley, wheat,  potatoes, turnips, hay, butter, cheese, eggs, coal, sheep, cows, and horses. The population in 1790 was 1200.  The population in 1831 was 2184.  The earliest entry in the parish registers is dated 1709, but the register has not been regularly kept, till within these few years.

The religious attendance of the parishioners  is

Established Church ----------------------1752
Seceders ---------------------------------------299
Reformed Presbyterians-------------------117

This account was written in 1838.

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


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index         
1841 1042737 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042408
1861 103806
1871 103965
1881 203606 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220224

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: 1706-1854 1041400 item
Marriages: No entries
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 history centers.  Some records may be indexed in theInternational Genealogical Index.  
Births: Births were carefully kept. No marriage or death records were kept before 1855.
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 1833–1914
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/845.

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.

New Cumnock Free Church

Matthew Kirkland, minister of the parish, and nearly all the congregation "came out" at the Disruption. The church was built in 1843, the school, subsequently used as a church hall, and teacher's house in 1844, the manse in 1846.
Membership: 1848, 500; 1900; 352.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

Afton Free Church

This congregation, originally Reformed Presbyterian, joined the Free Church in 1876. Several reformed church families had settled in the area in 1780. Worship was in a small meeting house until the church was built in 1867 and the manse in 1860. The congregation was united with that in Darvel until it was disjoined in 1815.
Membership: 1877, 86; 1900, 97.
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.

No known pre–1855 records.

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

New Cumnock 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