Ayrshire's name came from the River Ayr, which runs through it. Ayr is thought to come from the Celtic root ar or adh’ar, which means either “clear” or “rapid,” characteristics of the river.
The historic shire or sheriffdom of Ayr was divided into three districts or baileries which later made up the county of Ayr: Carrick to the south, Kyle in the centre with the burgh of Ayr, and Cunningham in the north with the burgh of Irvine. Currently it is sub-divided into the council areas of North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire.
On the west coast of Scotland, Ayrshire is bounded by Renfrew to the north, Lanark and Dumfries to the east, and on the south by Kirkubright and Wigton. To the the west of the county are the Firth of Clyde and the Irish Channel.
Ayrshire Genealogy & Historical Resources
Local Histories and books:
- Robertson, William Ayrshire, Its History & Historic Families Vol.1 (Kilmarnock: Dunlop & Drennan, 1908)
- Robertson, William Ayrshire, Its History & Historic Families Vol.2 (Kilmarnock: Dunlop & Drennan, 1908)
- Paterson, James History of the county of Ayr : with a genealogical account of the families of Ayrshire Vol. 1 (Ayr: John Dick, 1848)
- Paterson, James History of the county of Ayr : with a genealogical account of the families of Ayrshire Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Thomas George Stevenson, 1852)
- Foster, John, Cambridge County Geographies : Ayrshire, (Cambridge : University press, 1910)
- Society for the Benefit of the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy, The new statistical account of Scotland, (Edinburgh and London, W. Blackwood and Sons, 1845) Volume V, Ayr & Bute
- Robertson, George Topographical description of Ayrshire; more particularly of Cunninghame (Irvine : Cunninghame Press, 1820).
- Millar, Alexander Hastie, Historical and Descriptive Accounts of the Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire (Edinburgh, Paterson, 1885).
- Adamson, Archibald R., Rambles Round Kilmarnock: With an Introductory Sketch of the Town (T. Stevenson, 1875).
- McKay, Archibald, The History of Kilmarnock (Kilmarnock, A. M’Kay, 1858).
Genealogies by Family (most include other families):
- Rogers, Charles,Genealogical memoirs of the family of Robert Burns, and of the Scottish house of Burnes (Edinburgh : W. Paterson. 1877)
- Fraser, William, Memorials of the Montgomeries, Earls of Eglinton [With Plates, Including Portraits and Facsimiles, and Genealogical Tables.], (Edinburgh : Privately printed, 1859).
- Rogers, Charles, The book of Wallace (Edinburgh, Printed for the Grampian club,1889) Vol. 1, & Vol. 2
Local Family History Societies:
Archives, Societies, Institutions, Online sites, etc.
- Ayrshire and Galloway Archaeological Society Muniments of the Royal Burgh of Irvine Vol. 1 (Edinburgh 1890)
- Ayrshire and Galloway Archaeological Society Muniments of the Royal Burgh of Irvine Vol. 2 (Edinburgh 1891)
- Ayrshire History with loads of old photos.
- Ayr Advertiser Ayrshire Directory 1851-1852 (Ayr: Ayr Advertiser, 1851) County Statistics, Voters, other details, primarily voters in the county.
- North Ayrshire Directory 1935-1937 (Ardrossan: John Hunter, 1935)