Family history

Family History has been relocated to the Irvine Townhouse 

North Ayrshire Council has an extensive genealogy section for those wishing to trace their Ayrshire ancestry. 

Research service

Our Heritage Team offers a research service. We can't guarantee that any search will be successful, but it will be thorough. There is a charge for this service. Please contact us for more information.


We hold the following resources:

Census Returns

  • From 1841 to 1901 for the whole of Ayrshire, and the Isles of Arran and the Cumbraes, on microfilm.
  • The unofficial census returns carried out by the Rev. David Landsborough, Minister of Stevenston. The years covered are: 1819, 1822-1824, 1835-36, 1837, 1838, 1839 and 1842, original manuscripts.

Poor Relief

Those facing hardship through death, illness or unemployment, often turned to their local parish for financial aid. Many of these records date from 1845, when the Poor Law was introduced. There is a 75 year closure period on these records.

The index can be viewed online at Ayrshire Roots, click on the image and select Ayrshire Poor Relief Database. First time users will be asked to register with a user name and password.

Old Parish Registers (OPRs)

OPRs record the births, christenings, proclamations, marriages and sometimes deaths from 1553 to 1854, when compulsory registration was introduced in Scotland. OPRs are Church of Scotland records only. They do not contain any other religious denomination. The parish minister or the session clerk was responsible for recording in the registers. There was no standard format and as a result the content varied enormously depending on the diligence and literacy levels of the recorder. People had to pay to have their events recorded in the OPRs, so many people, particularly the poorer ones, chose not to.

Birth, Death and Marriage Intimations in The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald

These records have been index up to 1969 and are available to view online at Ayrshire Roots. There are separate databases for casualties of World War I and World War II.

Monumental Inscriptions

Legible inscriptions on headstones in cemeteries and graveyards in North Ayrshire, have been transcribed, and many photographed, to preserve valuable information. 

Burial Registers

We hold a small number of burial registers for the area.

Scotland's People

Scotland's People is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information.  Buy vouchers, to access almost 90 million records from your local library.

Ayrshire's Famous People

Download the Ebook celebrating famous people from Ayrshire.

Contact the Heritage Team



01294 310090


Heritage and Culture Services Facebook page


Irvine Townhouse, 66 High Street, Irvine, KA12 0AZ

Opening times

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
  • Tuesday - 2pm to 4.30pm and 5.30pm to 8pm
  • First Saturday of the month - 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm