Ayton, Berwickshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #727

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

History[edit | edit source]

AYTON, a post-town and parish, in the county of Berwick containing the village of Burnmouth, 7½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Berwick-on-Tweed, and 47½ (E. by S.) from the city of Edinburgh. This place, which takes its name from the water of Eye, on the banks of which it is situated, is intimately connected with important transactions of early times. The church, which is conveniently situated about half a mile from the village, in a romantic and sweetly secluded spot, near the Eye, commanding a fine view of Ayton House, consists partly of the walls of the ancient church, built about the 12th century, by the monks of Coldingham, and which was of very considerable dimensions. The present building was repaired and enlarged, and contains 456 sittings. There are two places of worship belonging to the Associate Synod.[1]

 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 your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

A census record is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Click here to see the Family History Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Ayton, as well as the catalog entry for the 1841, 1851, and 1881 census surname indexes for Ayton.  Other surname indexes will be found on the Berwickshire county page.

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 the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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  [edit | edit source]

Event Type Years Covered Fmily History Library Film Number
Births: 1743-1819 1067864 item 7

1820-1854 1067865 item 1-3

1743-1854 - index 1067865 item 1-3
Marriages: 1743-1819 1067864 item 7

1753-1781, 1820-1854 1067865 item 1-3
Deaths: 1753-1781 1067865 item 1-3

1800-1819 1067864 item 7

1820-1854 1067865 item 1-3

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 also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are only irregular entries on one page prior to May 1753. Occasional entries relating to sessional matters occur among the baptisms. Fifteen pages of irregular entries, dated 1774–1817, appear after 1819.
Marriages: Entries prior to 1764 are mixed in with births for that same time period. There is only one entry, July 1745, before December 1753 and only three entries December 1756–August 1762. There are no entries June 1764–November 1782. Except for one entry for 1810, the record of marriages ends November 1793. However, there are proclamations and irregular marriages 1753–1819. After 1819, there is a register of certificates of marriages 1783–1792.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with the proclamations of marriages until 1781. No entries exist 1781–November 1800; after that the record consists of transcribed entries only.
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 Kirk session was made up of he 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 1758–1761, 1781–1855
Accounts 1765–1766, 1770–1778
Cash Books 1782–1857
Communion Roll 1829–1848
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/26.

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 List.

Summerhill Burgher Church[edit | edit source]

A large group of people combined to form this congregation in 1777. They erected a building in 1779 and a new one in 1864
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

Baptismal Register 1846–1934
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/717.

Springbank Anti-burgher Church
[edit | edit source]

In August 1774, members of the General Associate, Anti-burgher congregation of Dunse who lived in Mordington Mains, Greenlaw, Faldon, Flemington, and East Renton joined with members from East Barns to petition the Presbytery of Kelso to form a separate congregation with its seat in Coldingham. Petition was granted, but a year later in August 1775 the congregation desired to change the seat to Ayton. After much opposition and discussion, the change was granted in 1779. They first erected a building in 1781 and a new one in 1872.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

There are no known pre-1855 records.

Aytoun Baptist Church[edit | edit source]

This church was founded in 1842 and is now extinct. No other information exists.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. Geo. Yuille, Family Historu Library 941 K2hd

Extent of the records is unknown.

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]

Ayton was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Lauder until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Duns. 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 Berwick and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Lauder.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Berwick. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Berwick and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'  

Read more about Scotland Probate Reccords.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 84-91. Adapted. Date accessed: 28 March 2014.

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