Scotland Kirkland Family Study

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Location: Scotlandmap
Surnames/tags: Kirkland Scotland Ayrshire
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Team Coordinators: Alan Runciman and Roy Lamberton

The goal of this project is to research the many Kirklands in Scotland & where possible identify common lineages & helping each other to this end. /Kirkland ancestors in the Scotland team.


To Do

  • Research Kirklands in Scotland and links to their immigration to North America, Australia, New Zealand & others.
  • Share sources we might have regarding the Kirklands, particularly any formal church or civil records from Scotland.

Kirkland One-Name Study

This Scotland team is part of the overall Kirkland One-Name Study. New participants are encouraged!

Will you join us?

  • Add your Kirkland profiles to the study by adding the following line to their profile: [[Category: Scotland, Kirkland Name Study]]
  • To add a sticker to the profile, use: {{One Name Study |name=Kirkland |category=Scotland, Kirkland Name Study}} The sticker is to be placed underneath the 'Biography' header of a profile.
If you have a particular group or area of Kirkland interest, you can form a team. Please edit your ancestor profiles to link them to the Kirkland Project by inserting the following instruction in their profile (copy this one once & the paste to all your Kirkland profiles individually) :
{{One Name Study |name=Kirkland |category=Scotland, Kirkland Name Study}}

Follow the link to view the Kirkland ancestors in the Scotland team.

- Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send a private message to one of the coordinators.

Sources for Scottish research

This WikiTree profile provides an excellent summary for Scottish research: Scotland Project Reliable Sources

The go-to source for the most complete records is the Registrar of Scotland’s own website Scotlands People (SP). There’s no subscription, searching the index is free, and then if wished, pay to view or download the record, but remember that any copies or pictures of documents posted in a profile from Scotlands People is subject to the Crown Copyright, and proper source Citations are required. Generally, everything seen on other free or subscription sites is a transcription (or more often a part transcription). Some scans of original Registrar’s entries can be viewed at LDS research centres but are not available online on their familysearch site.

Kirkland Origins

‘The Surnames of Scotland’[1], is the recognised comprehensive authority on Scottish surnames. This is its Kirkland entry:


‘There are many places of this name in the shires of Dumfries, Ayr, Lanark, Stirling etc from one or other of which the surname may be derived. Johannes fil. Joh. de Kyrkeland (translation from Latin: John, son of John Kirkland) held land in the territory of Gordon c 1280 (Kelso 124). William de Kyrkland was burgess of Glasgow 1424 (LCD., p242) and in 1463 and 1471 we have mention of Alan de Kyrkelande and John de Kirkland there (REG., 389,395). George Kirkleane, burgess freeman of Glasgow, 1599 (Burgesses) and James Kirkland was appointed constable in Lanark, 1709 (Minutes, p55)’

Black above mentions place names in various counties (shires) as origins for the surname (which in turn would have been on church land) but also the name is understood to derive from someone living on land beside or owned by the church in other named places. A property sale transaction occurred in Glasgow in 1549 which captures this. The property description includes ‘Part of a tenement in the High Street extending from cathedral kirk to the market cross lands of xxx… and lands of William Kirkland on the west’[2]. One wonders what story lies behind this William’s surname. Who knows, perhaps he’s descended from the Glasgow burgesses mentioned in Black’s.

Church Records

Church records for baptisms & marriages begin in the 1500s although many have since been lost to fire, floods, malicious destruction, mice & mishap. Deaths – or to be more precise, Burials – were not comprehensively recorded at any time prior to statutory registration. Scotland’s religious history is chequered and even today old records of Non-Conformist Presbyterian & Catholic Churches are continually added by the Registrar to its online facility. But the ‘’’surviving’’’ Church of Scotland records can be regarded to be virtually 100% represented online.

Statutory Records

Statutory civil registration in Scotland was enacted in 1855 at which point churches were asked to submit all historical parish records to the Registrar who by law is now responsible for their safekeeping. There was a period of grace allowed for handover and consequently a small minority of OPRs record BMDs for a period of time after 1854 & prior to their eventual handover. But events of this minority are also registered with the Registrar. The consequence of the handover of historic church records is it’s possible to view all the extant Old Parish Records (OPRs) on the SP website.

Church (or Kirk) session books are also retained by the Registrar & many have recently become available online. These record events of a church 'business' other than BMDs, such as reprimanding unmarried women & naming & shaming the fathers, payments to a named 'poor persone' etc. For parishes not yet online a pre-arrangement to view the record in their Reading Room at Registrar House, Edinburgh is required.

Since 1855 all BMDs are recorded in a fixed format of fairly comprehensive details. To the researcher there is an important differentiation between these original registrations and their commercial transcriptions which typically display an abbreviated content only. Crucial helpful information can be missed by relying solely on transcriptions. To obtain SP records, a better plan is to use a free transcription site to pinpoint your ancestor of interest and armed with basic knowledge re dates & location use that to ensure you pay for the correct original record on SP.

Kirkland Lineages in Scotland

As the surname is locational not all Kirklands are related. There are a small number of early clusters evidenced in surviving church records on SP. The earliest baptism records are in Edinburgh (1596) & Glasgow (1609). After several more in the same cities (they were in fact just large villages then) it’s not until 1620 that an entry appears elsewhere, in Kirkcaldy, Fife and then in 1645 at Kilmarnock (Ayrshire).

An analysis of pre-1700 baptisms reveals that there were 5 clusters of Kirklands (but see below re Avondale). These are in

  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh
  • Ayrshire
  • Dundee
  • Fife

This indicates that Kirkland is exclusively a Lowlands name. A small sample of highland counties comprising Caithness, Ross, Sutherland & Aberdeenshire reveals not one Kirkland baptism in the period 1538-1700. Incidentally, for those who are interested in claiming a clan or tartan this brings disappointment. Lowlanders, with very few exceptions, did not belong in clans or identify with tartans. It's almost certain you are descended from one of those clusters.

Bear in mind all this is evident from surviving records – there could be other clusters lost to history. In fact there appears to be such an example affecting our Kirkland history. Just as the 1700s begin, a first baptism of a Kirkland is recorded in the parish of Avondale in Lanarkshire and over the next 50 years a total of 72 baptisms are recorded in that parish alone. (Avondale is a parish district around Strathaven about 20 miles from Glasgow.)

Baptism records for Avondale parish first appear on Scotland’s People in 1681 and between then & 1700 no Kirklands are recorded. But the index reveals a strange pattern. From that first entry in 1681 of a child to Andrew Dykes, his continuing family baptisms are the only entries until 1698, when 7 other families' children are also baptised over the course of the year. Then in 1699 61 children are recorded and another 61 recorded in 1700. This is not a credible record of family life in Avondale over that 20 year period. We will no doubt find an explanation by reading or research of records & local history. There’s probably well-documented articles. Perhaps a Kirkland researcher already knows the answer & can enlighten us?

One possible explanation which may well turn out to be the answer is it follows the period of religious turbulence between 1638 and 1690. Many church records were hidden or maliciously destroyed & many infants were baptised at field conventicles held by Covenanters, but for safety against persecution the baptisms never recorded. So, along with many other families whose baptism records were lost or destroyed, there was probably a separate Kirkland cluster very much alive and active in Avondale pre-1700s. Otherwise, how come so many Kirkland offspring suddenly appear after 1700 when baptisms re-appear in Avondale records? So Avondale should be recognised as a possible ancestral location for those who seek their Scottish roots:

  • Avondale (the 6th cluster)


It will require further Y-DNA testing to extend our knowledge of these early lineages. If you are a male with the Kirkland surname or a variant and haven't already, please consider testing your yDNA. There is an established Kirkland DNA group available by following the link FTDNA

If you are not a direct male descendant but have Kirkland ancestry (male or female) you can take an autosomal DNA test to see if you can match to others of Kirkland ancestry. This may also help identify & join up lineages & branches although the autosomal test differs from the Y-test in that it is only likely to match to relatives who share a common ancestor within the last 5 or 6 generations or so.

Spelling/Name Variations

There is little evidence of Kirkland variations in the Scottish records with the exception of census records. Again, looking at pre-1700 there are no records for Kirtland or Kirtlan and only 5 for Kirklan. Occasional 'one-off' dubious spellings occur such as Kirckland and Kirklland. After statutory registration when spelling was more consistent only one Kirklan appears (a death) and it’s interesting that on birth she was in fact registered as Kirkland! There are only 4 KirklandS (ie with an ‘s’) appearances between 1538 & the present day.

It seems permanent variations mainly occurred after emigration from Scotland but to obtain as comprehensive a search result as possible SP allow wild card searches employing an *. These produce far more targeted results than, say, fuzzy searching - search on K*R*L*N*D* to capture variations which will bring up Kirtlands and Kirklands plus their other spelling variations. Note the * at the end to pick up any 's' at the end or perhaps a spurious trailing ‘e’, a common feature of older records.


  1. George F Black, published in 1946
  2. National Register of Archives for Scotland NRAS218/5

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Comments: 22

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Hi all: I'm so glad to see this name study and group have been created!

I'm descended from Alexander Kirkland of Baltimore, MD (, who "came of Scottish stock, was born on March 31, 1784, near Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland, son of William Read and Margaret Kirkland." And that's all I've been able to learn and don't have enough info to create profiles for his parents. I'd love to search back further, but, have no access to Irish or Scottish records. Also, interested in becoming a Kirkland Name Study member, to help further populate the Kirkland record (for my own direct ancestry, or closely related). Thx! -Gerry

posted by Gerry Bingham
Hi Gerry, Alan and Roy are the coordinators of the Scotland 'team' of the Kirkland One-Name Study. To assist with the study, you would add the above-mentioned category on any Scotland Kirkland profiles. For Ireland Kirklands, you can put just the general Kirkland ONS category. If you would be interested in heading up a team for Irish Kirklands, let me know and I can help you with that.
Hi Darlene (and Roy and Alan): Thanks for the quick replies! It looks like I'll need to fill in Ireland ancestry in order to connect to the Scottish side. Unfortunately, the Ireland records dont appear to go back that far (b. 1784; no records prior to 1845). It's possible (but unknown) if Alexander's father William Read (or Reed) Kirkland had been born in Scotland. The claim is that he descended from "Scottish stock." So, I'm now interested in learning more about general Kirkland Family History in Scotland. And possibly coming up with some suspects who may have sired William? I've also recently discovered the new mapping widget, which could be fun to explore as a method of depicting Kirklands moving between Scotland and Ireland. Fun!
posted by Gerry Bingham
Darlene is the person to get you situated...

My Kirklands come from Ayreshire in SW Scotland, but it wasn't uncommon for the Scots and Irish to travel back and forth between the two islands.

Welcome, I live in Seaford, DE, just a hop skip and jump down the road.


posted by Roy Lamberton
Hi Gerry,

Welcome to the Kirkland family on WT. I see you've had a couple of good replies already. You mention access to Scottish & Irish records. Can I add they are very easy to work with. Here are useful web addresses to search Scottish & Irish records:

Good luck with your Kirkland research!


posted by Alan Runciman Jr
Hello, I'm keen to help with this study where possible. My family are from Ayrshire (James/Robert Kirkland) and my grandfather has traced our lineage back to Canada. Please let me know if I can be of assistance
posted by [deleted]
Hi Nicole, hopefully Alan or Roy will respond. If not, you may want to send Alan a private message (see link above next to his name in the list of profile managers). You can go to the primary Kirkland One-Name Study page and see about helping as well as information on exactly how to add the category and label to any Kirkland profiles:

Feel free to reach out to me privately if you want to discuss further or don't hear from Alan or Roy. Thanks.

One more thing: I'd like to echo what Alan said about your current research into the Kirklands of Ayr, and any other family connections you might have, even if you don't have exact dates, the names and locations are helpful to others digging into the same people.

My G-Grandfather, James McKie/MacCay Lamberton came from Ayrshire, and married Janet Smith Kirkland in New York. We have always wondered if they knew each other in Ayrshire before they immigrated, or if they met on the boat primarily because we think Janet came over alone. But Alan and I are both here to help with your research - I have a Scotlands People account and love digging through their records, here in the Mid Atlantic.

posted by Roy Lamberton
My Kirkland is JEannette or Janet Kirkland from Ayr. Janet Smith (Kirkland) Lamberton (1861-1932)

First off, any DNA? (I've done a yDNA and Ancestry DNA) is your tree on Ancestry as well? (They have tools that might link our families.)

anyway, use [email address removed] and we can talk directly.

Our family has always suspected that some came over through Canada, so while my G-Grandmother Janet did come to New York, I am sure there must have been Kirklands who were related here since she came to New York alone.


posted by Roy Lamberton
Thanks Nicole. We’d love your input on any research you have. Do any of your (deceased) ancestors have personal profiles on WT? If not, please, please add them. If you’re unsure how to do so we’re here to help. How far back in Ayrshire have you got? Thanks for your contact. Alan
posted by Alan Runciman Jr
We have to be related, since my Kirkland roots also go back to Ayre.
posted by Roy Lamberton
I updated the paragraph on Scotlands People since everything that you can download from the page is covered by the Crown Copyright. As I recall WikiTree-ers can post a limited number of copies of documents on their profiles, and I routinely put the Crown Copyright info on my sources so I don't run afoul of Her Majesty's solicitors even though I live in the Break Away Americas....
posted by Roy Lamberton
Hi! I've just taken on the title of coordinator for the Kirkland One Name Study here at Wikitree. The page is here:

If you are interested in the Kirklands (in any part of the world) and would like to join and set up a team for a specific group or area, let me know. I plan to set up a team for the Kirkland family that went from Virginia to the various southern colonies that trace from brothers Richard Kirkland and Robert Kirkland.

I've made you a co-manager of the page. Use it in good health.

My "KIrkland" is my G-Grandmother, Janet/Jeannet Smith (Kirkland) Lamberton who immigrated to New York City from Grennock Scotland in 1887. She was originally from Nitshill, Refrewshire.

She married James McKie Lamberton in New York City in 1888. We don't know if she knew James before they both immigrated but he came back over about 1887 as well. My earliest Kirkland is John, b. 1797 and d. 1869 in Monkton, Ayr. (Kirkland 1639

My cousin Herbert and I both have autosomal DNA links to both Janet and James and their ancestors, but we haven't seen anything pop up in the Ancestry DNA Tree Finder yet.

Good luck with all of this - I'll be around (working the Stetson family). I'm not sure I'm ready to take on shepherding the Kirklands of Scotland, but I would help if you want to establish a group for the Scots. Alan Runciman looks like a good candidate since he is back further than I am.

posted by Roy Lamberton
I’d love to join your Kirkland study. My mother was a Kirkland so I have Kirkland direct ancestors in every past generation. Researched back to 1705 in Forfarshire, Scotland.
posted by Alan Runciman Jr
Alan, do you have any DNA studies, like maybe Ancestry?

My Kirkland goes back to Nitshill, Renfrew, and her ancestors come from Monkton in Ayr. You could start with Janet Smith (Kirkland) Lamberton Kirland-1618.

Would love to find a link that isn't back to England, I have enough English family starting with the Cecils and Dovers, to keep me going there.

Janet came to the U.S. from Grenock, Scotland in 1887.



posted by Roy Lamberton
Roy, thanks for the add. Since you and Alan both have Scottish Kirklands, you could use this profile for a Scotland Kirkland one-name study. You don't have to do any more research than you want or have time for. You would want to start categorizing any Kirklands in Scotland. You could reach out to the Scotland project and see if they have people interested. They are really getting things organized with it. Let me know if I can asssit.
Hello again, Roy. All very interesting! Your Kirklands are right in my present home patch as I was born in Glasgow and currently live in Ayr, about 6 miles from Monkton where your ancestors were. I drive by a Kirklandside Farm B+B between my home & Monkton but I have no idea if it is still family-owned. I haven't enquired because, despite trying previously, I can't find a link between (your) Ayrshire Kirklands & (my) Forfarshire (Angus) ancestors.

I have two Kirkland autosomal tests, both FTDNA FF tests also uploaded to My Heritage & GEDmatch. Tests are for myself & my first cousin - her father & my mother, both deceased, were siblings. So maybe we can pursue that as it should be in the traceable timeframe.

I'm interested in participating in the Study. As my research is concentrated on the Forfarshire branch I would be happy to lead a team covering that region.

Good luck in generating activity and hope we can make progress, Alan

posted by Alan Runciman Jr
edited by Alan Runciman Jr
Alan, please do a trusted list request (see Privacy) tab. I will then add you as a PM on this profile, and you can then lead the Scotland team. If you want to create sub-teams (from lack of a better name) within Scotland, you can do that as well. I have had the Scotland project add a link on their 'topical teams' page for this Scotland Kirkland one-name study. Once we add you as PM, you can edit this profile for the 'team' as you see fit. Thanks for offering to head it up!
and put me down as the co-leader. I'm already part of the Scotland project.


posted by Roy Lamberton
I added your name on the page, Roy. Since you want to be a co-leader with Alan, I'll leave this to the two of you now. Feel free to do as you please with the page. I just wanted to get it started . . .
my family are Lambertons, kinda from Kilmaurs? altho they were born all over the area. Isn't There iLambroughton ?


posted by Roy Lamberton
edited by Roy Lamberton

Categories: Kirkland Name Study