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Parish  #602

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Largs. 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 be derived from the Scoto-Irish Learg, signifying a plain. The final s has been added in consequence of two places bearing the same name.  Largs and Fairlie are the nearest towns.  In 1647 the parish was visited by the plague. The minister was carried of by the disease as were many others and the population greatly decreased both by the disease and because others left for fear of catching the plague. It is just recently that people have begun returning.  The land was primarily used for, oats, wheat, barley, milk cows, cheese, cattle, sheep, horses, and swine.  The population in 1790 was 1139.  The population in 1841 was 3554.  There is no regular record of births and baptisms prior to the Revolution, and long after that epoch the record was very imperfect. It has of late been better kept.

The religious attendance of the parishioners

Belonging to the United Secession--------600
Roman Catholics---------------------------------140
Established Church----------------------------2214

This historical account was written in the year 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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Largs. 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 Largs as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042736 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042407
1861 103805
1871 103964
1881 203604 6086514 ( 10 fiche)
1891 220221

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 Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1723-1854 1041395
Marriages: 1723-1778, 1785-1854 1041395
Deaths: 1723-1770, 1823-1854 1041395

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 Genealobical Index.  
Births: There are no entries December 1738–November 1769, June 1778–January 1780, and March 1789–January 1802. There are a few imperfect pages at 1780–1782. Mothers' names not recorded 1769–1783.
Marriages:There are no entries December 1738–January 1772, June 1778–March 1785, and June 1805–August 1814. From March 1785–June 1805 proclamations are intermixed with other matters. After August 1814 the record is only proclamations.
Deaths: There are no entries May 1741–May 1742 and December 1743–December 1769. After September 1770, two entries dated 1784.
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 1814–1909
Cash Book 1811–1832, 1860–1890
Burials 1823–1869
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/923.

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.

Largs United Presbyterian Church

This congregation was originally formed by members of the congregation of Cartsdyke, Greenock, resident in and about Largs, who, being desirous of having a place of worship in their own connection more favorably situated for them than the one they had been accustomed to attend applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow 1780. The first church was built 1781 and the second church was built 1826.
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.

Family History Library Film Number
Baptisms with some Marriages
and Deaths 1846–1905 0889484 item 2 X (to 1886)
Note: The X means the record has been extracted.

Relief Church, extinct by 1873

About 60 persons’ resident in Largs and its vicinity, thinking there was room for another place of worship in Largs, and desirous of having one in connection to the Relief Church to which several of them belonged, joined in a petition to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow for supply of sermon, which was granted in February 1841. They had built a place of worship, 1837, but did not seek an ecclesiastical connection until four years after.
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.

Fairlie Free Church

Dr. John Gemmel, minister of the quoad church at Fairlie, and most of his congregation, "came out" in 1843. They were soon deprived of their church, and met for a time in the school, which had been built by two members of the Free Church congregation at their own expense. The lease had not been fully completed and the proprietor sent notice between eight and nine o'clock on a Saturday evening, that they could no longer have the use of it. Services were then conducted in a stable at Fairlie Lodge. The church was opened in 1844, and the manse was erected in 1848. The church was burned down in 1876, and rebuilt in 1877.
Membership: 1848, 78; 1900, 127.
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.

Family History Library Film Number
Births, Marriages and Deaths Register 1837–1862 0304671 item 5
Minutes 1843–1959
Deacons' Court Cash Book 1846–1878
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/125.

Largs Free Church

John Dow, minister of the parish, and many of his members, "came out" in 1843. The building of the church was begun in September of that year. The manse was the gift of a member of the congregation. It was enlarged during Mr. Douie's ministry. The church was renovated in 1885–1888. Handloom weaving, the chief industry in 1843, disappeared. The place became a popular seaside resort.
Membership: 1848, 165; 1900, 294.
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 1843–1963
Deacons' Court Minutes 1847–1857
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1046.

Largs Catholic Church

Served from Campbeltown 1832–1838, from Greenock 1842–1852, from Kames Bay, Bute 1854–1862, from Dunoon 1862–1866, and from Greenock St. Lawrence 1866–1869. The church was dedicated in 1869.

For records, check those of the other areas mentioned above.

Largs Episcopal Church

Not available.

Christenings 1848–1854
Marriages 1849–1854
Note:The registers are in the hands of the minister. For more information write to the curate at:
J. Pow
15 Shuma Court
Skelmorlie PA17 5EJ

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

Larg 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


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  • This page was last modified on 27 June 2015, at 20:49.
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