Colmonell, Ayr, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish  #582

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Colmonell. 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 derive from the Latin word Columba meaning pigeon, because the woods abound with wood-pigeons.  Colmonell is the nearest town.  Craigneil is a particular fine ruin. It was built in the thirteenth century, and is said to be one of the hiding places of King Robert the Bruce.   The Duchess deCoigny is the major land owner.  The land was primarily used for, oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, turnips, sheep, cattle, horses, and swine.  The population in 1801 was1306.   The population in 1831 was 2213.  The registers begin in 1759 but nothing was said of there accuracy.  Four-fifths of the whole population are of the Established Church. There are two Dissenting Congregations, one of Reformed Presbyterians, and another of Original Seceders. A few belong to the United Secession church, and about forty Roman Catholics

This account was written in 1838.

source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (Family HistoryLibrary 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 Colmonell. 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 Colmonell as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042732 CD-ROM no. 2524
1851 1042373
1861 103800
1871 103958
1881 203593 6086514 (10 fiche)
1891 220210

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: 1759-1854 1041335 item 4-5
Marriages: 1838-1854 1041335 item 4-5
Deaths: No entries

Condition of Original Registers

 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 the International Genealogical Index. 
Births:Corners of first few pages are wasted. After 1819, there are five pages containing irregular entries dated between 1781 and 1831.
Marriages:No Records appear to have been kept prior to 1838.
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:


FHL Film Number
Baptisms 1850–1860 0304659 item 5
Minutes 1641–1662, 1766–1769, 1786–1795, 1799–1816, 1822–1891
Disbursements, Collections, Cash Penalties 1641–1664, 1759–1815, 1845–1890
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/425.

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.

Colmonell United Presbyterian Church, extinct by 1873

This congregation was formed by members of the congregation of Kilmaurs resident in and around Colmonell, who, on account of great distance from the accustomed place of worship, and presumed ability to support a minister among themselves, were formed under sanction of the Presbytery into a separate congregation in 1750. First church was built in 1755 the second was built in 1800.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618.

The extent of records is unknown.

Barrhill Free Church

Occasional services were arranged in this district in November 1843. In April 1844, it was united with Colmonell under one probationer. The people found this irksome, the two places being 7 miles apart. In 1849, it was sanctioned as a separate charge. The church was built in 1850, and the manse in 1851. The property was considerably improved in subsequent years.
Membership: 1848, 120; 1900, 156.
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.

The extent of pre–1855 records is unknown.

Colmonell Free Church

This congregation was formed at the Disruption. The charge was sanctioned in 1844; but for some years no minister was called, the probationer settled here having charge also of Barrhill. The original secession congregation at Colmonell joined the Free Church, and their minister, Dr. Laing, became minister of the United Congregation in 1853. The church was built in 1844, largely by gratuitous labor, and the manse in 1857. A new church was erected in 1898. The Reformed Presbyterian Church at Poundland, 2 miles away, was closed, and many of the members came to the Free Church. The interest on a legacy left by Mr. Davie was paid annually to the Sustentation Fund.
Membership: 1855, 109; 1900, 107.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572.

The extent of pre–1855 records is unknown.

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

Colmonell 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' 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' of Ayr and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Return to the Ayrshire Parish List