Why did your Ancestors settle in Kilmarnock

Old Kilmarnock

Old Parish Records

OPR's began in Kilmarnock in 1640. Kilmarnock is Parish no 597 in the County of Ayr.

The Name

The name comes from the Gaelic cill (church), and the name of Saint Marnoch or Mernoc.

The Early Years

The core of the early town appears to have lain around what is now the Laigh Kirk (Low Church). In 1668 most of the town was destroyed by an accidental fire. Around 120 families lost all their possessions and had to live in the fields surrounding the village. These tradespeople had no other way of making a living and had already been driven to the edge of poverty by having troops stationed with them as part of the anti-Covenanter measures. Parish churches throughout Scotland collected money for the relief of these homeless citizens.

Its transformation from market town to major industrial hub was down to William Boy who was Lord Kilmarnock. He made the mistake of backing the Jacobites in the 1745 uprising and, as a result, on 18 August 1746 he was beheaded in London.

The 1700 and 1800s

The Crown seized back the land and it became an entrepreneurial haven making most of its income from weaving and bonnet making employing thousands of townsfolk.

The town had an early association with the railways when it became a hub for transporting coal from the area to Troon at the coast.

If you would to know where your ancestors came from and what they did there then we offer three packages to suit all needs and budgets.

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