How to find your Ayrshire ancestors with Ayrshire Archives Service

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15 September 2017
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Discover what life was like for your Ayrshire ancestors using the records cared for by the Ayrshire Archives Service, which cover 800 years of history.

Discover what life was like for your Ayrshire ancestors using the records cared for by the Ayrshire Archives Service, which cover 800 years of history.

Founded in 1996, the Ayrshire Archives Service was established to preserve Ayrshire’s documentary heritage, and make it accessible to everyone. The archive service cares for and provides access to historic records belonging to three Ayrshire local authorities and their predecessors, as well as private records relating to the history of Ayrshire and Arran.

Anyone searching for ancestors in Ayrshire, including the Cumbraes and Arran should find something of interest within the archives, which contains material dating back to 1205, beginning with the Burgh Charter for the town of Ayr.

There are currently two archive centres – The Ayrshire Archives headquarters in Auchincruive and the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock, with the Town House in Irvine due to open soon. Researchers will be advised which location to visit when making an appointment, depending on which material will be consulted.

Ayrshire Archives collections

Ayrshire Archives is home to thousands of historic documents, which are broadly catergorised into the fields of burgh, business, church, family & personal, school, and association & society records. You can see summaries of each of these collections on the website with more detail available in the online catalogues.

A popular resource held by the archives are booklets of monumental inscriptions produced and published by family history societies around the county. These contain details of headstones within certain cemeteries in Ayrshire, and can be used to try to identify where your ancestor was buried. For a full list of the inscriptions and burial/death records, visit the website.

Visiting Ayrshire Archives

To visit Ayrshire Archives, please make an appointment on 01292 512819 or by e-mail. Parking is available and there are lockers and a lunch room. Staff are available to help with queries, or for more in depth questions, research can be undertaken for a fee.

Ayrshire Archives HQ, Watson Peat Building, Auchincruive KA6 5HW. Open Tue 9.30am-1pm and 2pm to 4pm. Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock. Open Wed 9.30am – 4.30pm. Tel: 01292 521819; e-mail; website.

(image © Tuck DB Postcards)