Place:Kirkoswald, Ayrshire, Scotland

Coordinates55.3202°N 4.7706°W
Located inAyrshire, Scotland     (1694 - 1975)
See alsoStrathclyde, Scotlandregional administration 1975-1996
South Ayrshire, Scotlandunitary Council Area since 1996
source: Family History Library Catalog


The Parish

Kirkoswald was a parish facing the Firth of Clyde located in the former county of Ayrshire. Both county and parish ceased to exist following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1974. The parish had an area of 60.4km2 (23.3 sq. miles) and had 4 neighbouring parishes: Dailly, Girvan, Kirkmichael and Maybole.

The parish included the settlements of Dipple, Kirkoswald, Maidens, and Turnberry.

Kirkoswald is now located in the South Ayrshire Council Area, some 4 miles (7 km) southwest of Maybole and 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Girvan.

Kirkoswald Village

From The Gazetteer for Scotland:

"A village in South Ayrshire, Kirkoswald lies nearly 2 miles (3 km) from the coast and 4 miles (6.5 km) southwest of Maybole. Associated with the ancient church of St Oswald, its parish church was rebuilt in 1777 to a design by the architect Robert Adam. In its churchyard are buried Douglas Graham and John Davidson who were immortalised by Robert Burns, who stayed in the village in 1778, as Tam o' Shanter and Souter Johnnie. Souter Johnnie' Cottage, the home of John Davidson the village souter (shoemaker), was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland in 1932."


Turnberry, now one of the major golf courses of Scotland, had very little history until it was used as a landing strip during World War 2. The landing strip and the buildings surrounding it were gradually developed into two links courses, a hotel and the other accoutrements of a tourist attraction.

Research Tips

Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses

  • Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.

Notes for Ayrshire

Family History Societies covering Ayrshire include:

  • the Ayrshire Federation of Historical Societies, Dennison House, 11 Chalmers Road, Ayr KA7 2RQ, Scotland.
  • The FreeCen Project has a searchable (not browsable) transcription of the whole of Ayrshire online for the 1841 and 1851 censuses.
  • Third Statistical Account of Scotland: Ayrshire edited by John Strawhorn and William Boyd, 1951.

Old Parish Register Provision

Births: 1694-1854
Marriages: 1694-1854
Deaths: 1724-1854

Transcriptions of Gravestone Inscriptions

Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions; an index for Carrick, Ayrshire edited by Alison Mitchell, and published in Edinburgh in 1988 by the Scottish Genealogy Society. This covers the parishes of Ballantrae, Barr, Colmonell, Barrhill cemetery, Old Dailly, New Dailly, Girvan, Kirkmichael, Kirkoswald, Crossraguel cemetery, Maybole, Straiton, Patna and Alloway (i.e. parts of South and East Ayrshire).

Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions in Kilmarnock and Loudoun District edited by Alistair G. Beattie and Margaret H. Beattie and published in Edinburgh in 1989 (reprint) by the Scottish Genealogy Society. This covers burial grounds in the parishes of Dunlop, Stewarton, Fenwick, Kilmaurs, Kilmarnock, Riccarton, Galston and Loudoun (i.e., central Ayrshire excluding Ayr and its environs).

The Troon & Ayrshire FHS has published the following books of Monumental Inscriptions: Old Alloway, Coylton, Craigie, Crosbie (Troon), Dundonald, Monkton, Newton Green Cemetery (Ayr), Six Kyle graveyards (includes Barnweill, Culzean, Coodham, Fairfield, Newton-on-Ayr and St. Margaret's, John Street, Ayr), The Secessionist Graveyard (King Street, Ayr), St. Nicholas (Prestwick), St. Quivox, Symington, Wallacetown Cemetery (Ayr), Ayr Auld Kirk.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on Kirkoswald. The bibliography for Ayrshire is very good.
  • The Gazetteer for Scotland article on the parish of Kirkoswald. The tabs on the right provide more information, and a map of the parish within its surrounding area, with small settlements highlighted and linked to more information.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki article on Kirkoswald provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the parish.
  • The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
  • The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
  • Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.