Stevenston, Ayrshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #615

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

History[edit | edit source]

Stevenston and Saltcoats are the nearest towns.  The parish derives its name from Stephen Lockhart. Stephen Lockhart’s father obtained a grant for the whole parish in 1170, from Richard Morville, Lord of Cuninghame, and Constable of Scotland.  Alexander Hamilton, Esq. of Grange; Patrick Warner, Esq. of Ardeer; Robert Cuninghame, Esq. of Auchenharvie; and  the Right Honorable the Earl of Eglinton are the major land owners.  The land was primarily used for coal, salt, ship-building, wheat, potatoes, oats, beans, turnips, barley, carrots, and pigs.

The population in 1791 was 2425, and in 1836 was 3681. The registers begin in 1700, but many of them have been lost and they are not now complete.

The religious attendance of the parishioners was:

Established Church --------------------980

Relief -------------------------------------- 440
United Secession ----------------------- 227
Original Seceders ------------------------ 51
Baptists ------------------------------------- 31
Roman Catholics ------------------------- 17
Cameronians -------------------------------- 7
Methodists ----------------------------------- 1

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 Stevenston. Also available at theFamily 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.

Click here[low quality link] to go to the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Stevenston.

The library has a surname index for the 1841 census of Ayrshire.

The library also has a surname index for the 1881 census of Ayrshire. 

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]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1700-1854 1041469
Marriages: 1701-1717, 1740-1854 1041469
Deaths: 1747-1849 1041469

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: Extremely irregular entries between November 1718 and May 1737, with several imperfect pages for the same time period. At September 1811 there are two pages containing about ninety irregular entries for 1720–1814. Mothers' names are seldom recorded November 1746–February 1770.
Marriages:The first four pages are slightly imperfect. There are no entries May 1717–May 1737. Entries for May 1737–September 1740 are on one page after the births for September 1811. There are no entries January 1746–January 1747.
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 1700–1705, 1760–1923
Collections 1700–1845
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/336.

Saltcoats, St. Cuthbert’s[edit | edit source]

Collections and Distributions for the Poor 1751–1772.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1506.

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.

Saltcoats Free Church[edit | edit source]

Saltcoats is a seaport town, partly in the parish of Ardrossan, and partly in that of Stevenston. Dr. Landsborough, minister of Stevenston parish, and the majority of his congregation, "came out" in 1843. The church was built and opened in January 1844, on a site gifted by Dr. Dow of Greenock. The manse was erected in 1847. A school was built in 1858, the cost being largely met by a legacy by Miss M'Leish. The church was renovated and enlarged in 1869–1870, and a new manse was purchased in 1889.
Membership: 1848, 255; 1900, 470.
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 1843–1968
Register of Members 1848–1899
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/573.

Stevenston Free Church[edit | edit source]

Dr. Landsborough, minister of the parish, "came out" in 1843 with many of his people, found it necessary to erect the new church in Saltcoats. After much difficulty a site was obtained in Stevenston, by the grant of a Mr. Warner, and here a church was built, and opened in February 1845. The charge was sanctioned in 1846. In 1887 a new church was built, the old church being bought and gifted to the congregation by a member, James W. Boyd, and called thereafter, Woodside Hall.
Membership: 1848, 205; 1900, 302.
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 1847–1895
Deacons' Court Minutes 1847–1960
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1032.

Gaelic Free Church[edit | edit source]

John Hamilton, minister of the Gaelic quoad sacra church, and practically all his members, "came out" in 1843, and became known as the Saltcoats Free Gaelic congregation. Their church was taken from them and they were placed at great disadvantage. In 1852 the charge was reduced to a preaching station. The church was built in 1867, and in 1868 sanction was restored. The manse was erected in 1887. With the decrease of the Gaelic speaking population the membership greatly declined, having fallen to fifty in 1898. As the congregation increased from that date Gaelic became unnecessary.
Membership: 1870, 198; 1900, 199.
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.

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]

Stevenston 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 Ardossan Parish

Return to the Ayrshire Parish List