Archive for the ‘Family History’ Category

Arrangements for our 2017 South Ayrshire History & Family History Fair on Saturday 3rd June are well underway with an exciting line-up of speakers.

Whether you’re interested in exploring your family roots or wanting to take a more specialised look at a particular topic, the History Fair – and the guest speakers – will help bring your interest to life.

The tomb effigy at Dunkeld Cathedral of Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch, son of the first Stewart king Robert II (who died at Dundonald Castle) and Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan.

Our Speakers for the day are:

Thomas Rees, Rathmell Archaeology –  Demolition work for the Riverside Development in Ayr will include an archaeological investigation of a significant area of the historic town centre. Thomas will explain the project’s potential to uncover new evidence about the Royal Burgh’s medieval origins.

Tom Barclay, Local Studies Librarian, South Ayrshire Council – King Robert the Bruce is arguably the most important figure in the shaping of Scotland’s later medieval history. Tom will look at Bruce’s many connections with Ayrshire, and the traditions and sites associated with him in the county.

Professor Steve Boardman of the University of Edinburgh – Ayrshire’s Kyle district was an important power-base for the Stewarts in their rise to occupy the Scottish throne. Professor Boardman will speak about the career of one of the most notorious of the family, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, better known as ‘the Wolf of Badenoch’.

Neil Fraser, The Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN) – SCRAN is an online treasure-house of images covering all aspects of Scottish history and culture, which is constantly being added to. Neil will give a presentation on the site’s resources which will highlight its extensive and fascinating Ayrshire content.


In addition to a full programme of informative talks featuring respected guest speakers, stallholders from various groups will be offering advice and guidance on family history, tracing your roots, and exploring local and national history between 9am and 4.30pm. There will also be a specialist Scottish bookshop. Admission to the stalls is free.

Location and Cost

As usual, the Fair will be held in the Walker Halls, Troon, from 10am until 4pm. The cost of the full day conference is £10, £5 for half a day.  Tickets for individual talks are priced at £3 each or £2.50 for 2 or more and will be available from Troon and Carnegie Library during the month prior to the fair.  Tickets will also be available to purchase on the day.

History Fair Enquiries

If you have any enquiries about the History Fair or would like to make a booking please don’t hesitate to contact us. Tel: 01292 559318 or 272231  Fax: (01292) 616301 or email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk.


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Staff at the Scottish and Local History Library, Carnegie Library, Ayr welcomed Ayrshire Bed & Breakfast Association members (and some of their guests!) on a special tour through their local and family history resources – maps, newspapers, printed books and photos, to mention a few. Designed to inform B&B owners on the sources we hold, so they can pass this onto their guests, we were delighted by their enthusiasm and interest!

“A wonderful resource on our doorstep”

The Scottish and Local History Library is located on the first floor of the Carnegie Library in Ayr. We hold a wealth of free resources for anyone who is researching their family tree or studying the local history of the area. We have dedicated, friendly, experienced staff who are happy to assist and give advice on all aspects of your research. We aim to help customers bring family names, dates and places to life.

The department currently has two PCs connected to the Internet available for Local and Family History research.  Customers can also access online Births, Marriages and Deaths Archive Search from the Ayr Advertiser: 1803-1835Ancestry Library Edition and Find My Past free. Customers can also use their own devices by taking advantage of our unlimited free Wi-Fi access.

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact us localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or tel: 01292 272231.


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Would you like to trace your family history, but don’t know how to get started?

The Local History Department in Ayr’s Carnegie Library will be holding a series of afternoon Family History Workshops during the winter months.

The workshops are for those wishing to research their family history but need a helping hand. They give valuable information on how to start searching and how to use resources available in the library and online.

The sessions will run from 1.30pm until 4.30pm on

Wednesday 29th and Friday 31st October, 2014

Wednesday 12th and Friday 14th November, 2014

Please note: The workshops are free, but numbers will be limited.

If you are interested in attending and would like more information please contact us at the details below.

Tel: (01292) 272231 Email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk
Carnegie Library, 12 Main Street, Ayr KA8 8EB

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Who do you think you are?

Explore your family history at the Local and Family History department in Ayr’s Carnegie Library. The department houses a unique collection of books, pamphlets, directories, maps, plans, local newspapers and photographs. Members of the public who wish to conduct their own family history research are welcome to visit the department to use the resources we have available. The most frequently used items are available for readers to browse through and select for themselves, but some of the stock is stored ‘behind the scenes’ and is obtainable on request.

Staff will help identify appropriate sources and give guidance on using the collection. We are happy to help with enquiries anytime, but if you would like to book a ‘Starter Session’ with regards to family history please contact us and we will give you a timeslot and information on what you need to bring along to help get you started with your research.

New for this autumn

We will be holding a number of Beginner’s Family History Classes this coming winter (dates still to be confirmed). If you would like to embark on this fascinating journey to your family’s past keep an eye on our blog posts for details.

Access to the following resources from within the library is free of charge:

Ancestry Library Edition
Discover your family history and build a family tree with the world’s largest genealogy website. Search birth records, census data, obituaries and more free from any South Ayrshire Libraries computer.

The library has taken out a subscription to Find my Past which enables users to have free access to English and Welsh records and the Scottish Census using the PCs in the department.

Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Ayr Advertiser 1803-1885
This online index is a joint project between South Ayrshire Council Libraries Service and Opportunities in Retirement Family History Group Ayr.

Scotsman Historical Newspapers Archive (1817 – 1950)
Find significant moments in the history of Scotland, or discover if your ancestor appears in our births, marriages and deaths notices.

Scotlandspeople Vouchers – Are available to buy in the department and can be used in the library and at home. Starter vouchers £7.00 for 60 credits Top ups £5.60 for 30 credits.

First World War Genealogical books for loan

Tracing your First World War ancestors using local newspapers

The Local and Family History department in Carnegie Library also holds the local newspapers covering the conflict, lists of casualties, deaths and distinctions that were published in increasing numbers as the war progressed.

If you would like more information about any of these resources you can contact us by Email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or  Tel: 01292 272231

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Ancestry Library Edition brings the world’s most popular online genealogy resource to South Ayrshire Libraries.

Discover your family history story with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more.

This online resource is only available for FREE in our libraries and isn’t available from home.

Expert help available in our Local History Department

For expert advice on how to go about family and local history research it is highly recommended that customers visit our Local and Family History Department based at Ayr’s Carnegie Library.  The department houses unique records and resources that compliment the Ancestry Library Edition and would benefit our customers in their Family History research.


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The new ‘Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Ayr Advertiser 1803 − 1835’, providing an online index to family history data from newspapers, is a joint project between South Ayrshire Council Libraries Service and Opportunities in Retirement Family History Group Ayr.

If you would like to travel back to the past, and view details of births, marriages and deaths from 1803 to 1835, then a new online resource available through South Ayrshire Council’s website is just the thing for you. The new facility was launched at Carnegie Library in Ayr where the hard work began. OIR Ayr member Robert Laird from Ayr and the late Bill Reid from Mossblown have been the inspiration and driving force behind this project, working over many years with fellow OIR members.

It was originally intended that the index would be published as a book, however with the passing of two decades since work began, and the great leaps that have been made in technology; it was decided to make it an online resource.

The OIR Ayr members involved in this project have done an outstanding job and now anyone with internet access will be able to view this information at a time that suits them. The OIR Ayr members have plans to expand the online records up to 1855 in due course.

Councillor Robin Reid, Mrs Fay Reid, widow of the late Bill Reid and Sheena Taylor, Carnegie Library, Ayr.

Libraries Manager Jean Inness, Councillor Robin Reid, Mrs Fay Reid, widow of the late Bill Reid, Sheena Taylor, Elaine Docherty and Tom Barclay  at Carnegie Library, Ayr.

Mr Laird being presented with a Quaich by Tom Barclay our Local History Librarian

Mr Laird being presented with a Quaich by Tom Barclay our Local History Librarian

Searching the Archive

The online facility is available at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/libraries/bmd.aspx. The charge for access is £2 for a seven day subscription which gives unlimited searching during that period. Payment can be made online for those wishing to access the system from home. It is free to consult at any library in South Ayrshire Library.

You can search the index by key words and dates or you can enter a surname will bring up a list of all birth, marriage and death records which include that surname. This can be refined by entering any or all of forename, type of event, date, place, and spouse in the case of marriages. A more varied and detailed search can be carried out by selecting ‘BMD Interactive Reporting Archive’. This permits users to customise the information they gather.

If you have any problems using this database please contact us: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

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ScotlandsPeople logo

The new records, comprising over 2.4 million indexed names and over 74,000 digital images, cover every kind of building, structure or property in Scotland which were assessed as having a rateable value in 1905. Fully-searchable both by name and address, the 1905 Valuation Rolls (VRs) provide a terrific snapshot of Scottish society during the Edwardian era, and will be a valuable resource for genealogy researchers and local/social historians.

What do the Rolls contain?

The rolls record the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property, unlike the full lists of family members to be found in the censuses. The named person is usually the head of the household, but sometimes a husband and wife might be listed. Frequently, the wife is the named tenant of rented property. The VRs include all social classes – so you can read about folk who lived in tenements to owners of mansions and country estates.

What can I learn from the 1905 Valuation Rolls? 
You can learn about who was living at a certain address, and whether they owned or rented the property. You can also see the rent that was paid for the house or flat, and also the rateable value of the property. As the 1905 VRs appear between the census years of 1901 and 1911, the new records will also help researchers to find ancestors who disappeared between censuses.

Notable buildings – the Burns cottage/museum, Edinburgh’s Empire Theatre and the Glasgow Pavilion
There are also some very interesting VRs for Scotland’s prominent buildings – from railway hotels and football grounds to theatres and public libraries. With Burns Night just passed the ScotlandPeople website have also included the VR for the cottage the Bard was born in. They have also included VRs for the Empire Theatre in Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre.

So whether you’re a genealogist or a social/local historian, the 1905 Valuation Rolls will be a rich resource for historical research. The 1905 Rolls will also complement the 1915 VRs, which were launched in March 2012. Taken together, the 1905 and 1915 VRs offer researchers an excellent set of records for learning about the owning/renting of property by Scotland’s people in the early 20th Century.

From tenement dwellers to owners of mansions
To start searching and browsing these new records, just click on the link for the 1905 Valuation Rolls in the left side menu on the ScotlandsPeople homepage.

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