Frequently Asked Questions

Which location should I visit?

What are your opening hours?

Do I need an appointment?

How do I make an appointment?

How much does it cost to visit?

What facilities do you provide?

How do I find you?

Do I need a reader’s ticket?

What information should I provide when I contact you?

Do you charge for research?

Can archives staff carry out research for me?

What happens when I visit?

Do you have Electoral Registers?

Can I view births, deaths & marriages?

Can I view census records?

Can I trace my family tree using the archives?

Do you hold burial records?

Do you hold cremation records?

Do you hold gravestone or monumental inscriptions?

Can you trace someone who is still alive?

Do you hold adoption records?

What is the difference between archives and local history?

What are archives?

What records would I find in your archive?

Can I see my school records and qualifications?

Do you hold vehicle registration information?

Are there any restrictions on access to archive records?

Can I copy archive records?

Can I take photographs of archive records?

Can archive staff make digital copies of archive records?

Can I trace over archives?

Can I take notes when I visit?

Can I use my laptop?

Can I use Wifi?

Can I borrow archives?

Can my group, society, school visit the archives?

Can I volunteer or do work experience?

How do I search the archive catalogues?

What records can I see online?

Can I give you the records of my family, club or business?

Would you temporarily store items and records for me?

Can I give you artefacts such as medals, trophies, artwork, costumes, heirlooms, jewellery, etc?

How do I find a rateable value?

Do you hold maps?

How do I search the history of a building, including my house?

Can I see historic building plans?

 Which location should I visit?

This is dependent on your area of research. You will be advised of this when booking your appointment.

What are your opening hours?

By appointment only:

Ayrshire Archives HQ (Watson Peat Building, Auchincruive) – Tuesday- 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm

Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock – Wednesday – 9.30 am to 4.30pm

Contact us to arrange an appointment

Do I need an appointment?

Yes, access to archives in our search room is by prior appointment only. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

How do I make an appointment to visit?

An appointment can be made by phone or email. Please have the relevant information ready when contacting us.

How much does it cost to visit?

It’s free to make an appointment and visit our search room. There are charges for specific services – Table of Fees.

What facilities do you provide? 

Ayrshire Archives HQ, Watson Peat Building, Auchincruive:

  • Parking
  • Disabled access. Every effort will be made to assist you during your visit. Please contact us in advance if you need additional support. Assistance dogs are welcome
  • Toilets
  • Lunch room. Tea and coffee available to purchase
  • Lockers for personal belongings

Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock:

  • Parking
  • Disabled access. Every effort will be made to assist you during your visit. Please contact us in advance if you need additional support. Assistance dogs are welcome
  • Toilets
  • Lunch room

How do I find you?

Directions will be given to the relevant facility at the time your appointment is being made.

Do I need a reader’s ticket?

No, but you will need to complete a visitor registration form at every visit. We may require photo ID.

What information should I provide when I contact you?

Full details i.e. names, addresses, dates, location as appropriate. Type of record, reference number if known.  Type of information being requested. We are unable to search for “anything about”.

Do you charge for research?

Please see our Table of Fees.

Can archives staff carry out research for me?

Yes – general research can be undertaken by staff. Table of Fees.

Alternatively, contact The Association of Scottish Genealogists and Researchers in Archives to employ the services of a professional researcher.

What happens when I visit?

Please read our Searchroom Regulations

Do you have Electoral Registers?

Yes – we hold Electoral Registers for Ayrshire only, but not a complete set. Registers of 10 years and older can be accessed by making an appointment to visit Ayrshire Archives HQ, alternatively if you cannot visit in person we can deal with your enquiry by telephone or email. There may be charges incurred depending on your enquiry

Registers up to and including 9 years old can only be accessed in person by making an appointment to visit Ayrshire Archives HQ. We cannot take enquiries by telephone or email and we are unable to provide written confirmation of the contents of these registers. These records are subject to Ayrshire Valuation Joint Board access guidelines

We do not hold the current register please see Ayrshire Valuation Joint Board website for details.

Can I view birth, death and marriage records?

Birth, marriage and death information is held by the National Records of Scotland.  This information and other records to help research family trees can be searched online via the Scotlands People website, or make an appointment to visit the Scotlands People Centre in Edinburgh, or in Ayrshire at the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock. Local registration offices have access to birth, marriage and death information for the whole of Scotland – for more information and search fees contact local registration offices via your local council.

Once you have researched the basics of your family tree from birth, marriage and death records, there is a wealth of further information available in the archive collection.

Can I view census records?

No, please see the Scotlands People website or make an appointment to visit the Scotlands People Centre in Edinburgh, or in Ayrshire at The Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock. 

Can I trace my family tree using the Archives?

No, contact Scotlands People. The archives hold records of interest to family historians, but we are not the best place to start your research. It is best to find as much information as you can through the Scotlands People website, the Scotlands People Centre in Edinburgh, the East Ayrshire Council Family History Centre at the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock or any of the local registrars offices throughout Scotland. This may enable you to create the foundations of your family tree and when you have built a firm foundation our Archives may then help to grow the branches but only contact us when you have all of the basic information such as names, dates and places which are needed to be able to use our archives to their fullest potential.   

 Do you hold burial records ?

No, contact the relevant Cemetery Office for the area in which the burial took place:

East Ayrshire Council Cemeteries

North Ayrshire Council Bereavement Services

South Ayrshire Council Cemeteries

Do you hold cremation records?

No, contact Masonhill Crematorium, Ayr or Holmsford Bridge Crematorium, Dreghorn.

Do you hold gravestone or monumental inscriptions?

Yes, local family history societies have published booklets of inscriptions for a number of cemeteries and churchyards. Here is a list of the Monumental Inscriptions held by us.  Local libraries may hold additional booklets.

 Can you trace someone who is still alive?

No – the archives do not hold records that could help you with your research. The information within the electoral registers and valuation rolls are arranged by address rather than by name therefore these are not useful. You may wish to use social media or local newspapers.

Do you hold adoption records?

No, please contact your local social work department or Birthlink.

What is the difference between archives and local history libraries?

Archives hold unique records.  Local history libraries hold mostly published information i.e. newspapers, local history books.

What are archives?

Archives are unique and irreplaceable records created or received by an organisation (such as a local authority), business, individual or family during its existence and selected to be kept permanently because they are considered to be of continuing long term value to society.

What records would I find in your archive?

We have an extensive collection of archives. For more information about the collections look at Private Records and Official Records. Some of our Catalogues are available online and more will be added when available.

Can I see my school records and qualifications?

No.  For details of your own school records contact the relevant local education department.  For records of educational qualifications contact the Scottish Qualifications Agency.

Do you hold vehicle registration information?

No vehicle registration records survive for Ayrshire prior to 1975 as they were destroyed following direction from the DVLA when it came into being . Information relating to vehicle registration can be found in Glass’s Index of Registration Numbers and ‘How to trace the History of Your Car’ by Philip Riden.

Are there any restrictions on access to archive records?

Yes, some records are closed due to the sensitive nature of their contents or for preservation issues. We will advise if the records you wish to view are subject to any closure periods when you contact us.

Can I copy archive records?

Many of our records can be copied but this depends on access agreements, preservation and copyright of the specific records. For records that can be copied there is a charge Table of Fees and we require completion of our copyright declaration in advance.

Can I take photographs of archive records?

Depending on access, preservation, copyright – Table of Fees.

Can archives staff make digital copies of archive records?

Depending on access, preservation, copyright – Table of Fees.

Can I trace over archive records?

No, archives are unique and irreplaceable records. Depending on the condition of the records and copyright, it may be possible to photocopy or photograph – please contact us for advice.

Can I take notes when I visit?

Yes, you are free to take notes in pencil or on an electronic device.

Can I use my laptop?

Laptops can be used in our searchrooms but we cannot guarantee availability of electrical points. Please advise us when making an appointment if you wish to use a laptop and we will try and ensure adequate desk space is allocated.

Can I use Wifi?

Our searchrooms currently do not provide WiFi.

Can I borrow archive records?

No. Archives are unique and irreplaceable. They can only be viewed in our supervised searchrooms.

Can my club, group, society, school visit the archives?

If you have a specific research enquiry please contact us.

Can I volunteer or do work experience?

Currently we do not offer work experience. If you have a specific research enquiry please contact us. Opportunities for volunteers will be advertised as they become available.

How do I search archive catalogues?

We are in the process of making our catalogues available online. For catalogues not currently available online please contact us, or you can search for archives held by us and by other repositories using National Records of Scotland, Discovery, Scottish Archive Network  

What records can I see online?

You cannot view any of our records online as they have not been digitised.

Can I give you the records of my family, club or business?

We are happy to discuss records being gifted to us that meet our Acquisitions Policy. Please contact us for advice.

Would you temporarily store items and records for me?

No, we only accept records formally gifted to us and that meet our Acquisitions Policy.

Can I give you artefacts such as medals, trophies, artwork, costumes, heirlooms, jewellery etc?

No, artefacts are not considered archives and do not comply with our Acquisitions Policy 

How do I find a rateable value?

Valuation rolls contain information on the rateable values of all properties until 1989. From 1990 the valuation rolls only contain the rateable values of business properties. These can be consulted by making an appointment to view them in our searchroom at Ayrshire Archives HQ. Alternatively, staff can undertake the research on your behalf. Please see our Table of Fees for charges.

Do you hold maps?

Yes, our main map collection consists of Ordnance Survey, 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition, and National Grid maps; we also hold various additional maps covering Ayrshire. Please note that the map collections at the National Library of Scotland can be accessed online.

How do I search the history of a building, including my house?

Please see the research guide by the  National Records of Scotland. 

Can I see historic building plans?

Contact the planning or building standards sections of the relevant local authority. Archives hold several collections of architect records for a small number of buildings, but contact should be made with the relevant planning or building standards service first.

           ave