In Scotland, prior to 1845, the care of the poor was
undertaken in rural areas mainly by the Kirk Session and Heritors and in
the City and Burgh areas by the Magistrates and Justices.
Money was raised by regular donations, church
collections, fines, payments for the use of Mort Cloths, and usually half
the 'door takings' of the Church of Scotland. Prior to 1845, records
relating to the poor can be found in Church of Scotland Kirk Session
Records, Session Clerks and Church Treasurers Books.
For many reasons, including industrialisation, movement
of population, the Disruption of 1843 etc., the government appointed a
commission in 1844 to make a thorough enquiry into the operation of the
poor law system in Scotland. The subsequent Act, passed in 1845, created a
Board of Supervision. Its nine members met twice a year in February and
August and had a duty to enquire into the
management of the poor in every parish and burgh in
Scotland. A Pauper could appeal to this Board if he felt that he was being
In every parish and burgh, the administration of Poor
Relief was carried out by a group called the Parochial Board, usually
consisting of a fixed number of Heritors, a fixed number of Kirk Session
members and a fixed number of men elected at large by the ratepayers. If
the population of a parish, or combined parishes, exceeded 5000 a
Poorhouse could be erected.
The Cunningham Combination Poorhouse (CCPH) was
situated north west of Irvine, Ayrshire and was later named Ravenspark
Between the commencement of the 1845 Poor Law Amendment
Act and the mid 1850s there appears to have been some confusion in the
keeping of the Poor Law records. It is not until the mid 1850s that they
appear to have been kept in a sequential and proper order, although you do
find many of them missing, or kept in various styles of Register.
Most of the original Registers are kept in the County
Archives and such is the case with the nine books from which this index is
How to Proceed:
There are four microfiche that go to make up this index
they can be viewed at Ardrossan and other libraries in the district. The
fiche are also available for purchase from the East Ayrshire Family
History Society Cost approx £11. mailto:email@example.com
Proceeds go to the society.
The original nine books the index was compiled from are
available for viewing at the Ayrshire Archives Centre, Craigie Estate,
Ayr, KA8 0SS. The archives email address is: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
To have a lookup done you MUST supply the details from the index.
This is an index, not just of each applicant, but of
every name mentioned on his/her application. This can include spouse (s),
children, parents. In-laws, employers, guardians, ministers, police
Column 1. - Where a person has more than one surname
they are listed under all other names. A woman is listed primarily under
her married name (as this is the family name) and then under her maiden
name. If she has been married more than once her subsequent married name
(s) are listed. The primary name is usually that of the first marriage.
Column 2. - Any name found with two dashes -- after the
first name, indicates that that person is listed elsewhere under a
different surname. (In this case the reference number in column 9 will be
the same for both names)
Column 3. - The letter "p" indicates that person is the
applicant (or pauper).
Column 4. - Where possible the age of a person is given
(note that this is usually the age of the person at the date of the
application) months are shown after the point. i.e. 12.11yrs = twelve
years and 11 months of age. 0.4 = 4months of age.
The index has been arranged in family groupings to aid
identification again where possible the age is given of the people grouped
under the name of the applicant (or pauper). Where the age is not given,
the relationship of that person to the applicant is given. i.e. wife,
father, f/law (father in law). Brother, b/law (brother in law). Employer,
c.l. hus (common law husband) etc.
Column 5. - This is the year the application was made.
Column 6. - Gives town/village of birth. (note - spellings are as per the
Column 7. - Gives either the country/county/ city of birth.
Column 8. - The archival reference number of the book where the person can
Column 9. - The entry number in the book in which the person can be found.
|Example of the Index
UPDATE Jill McColl the local historian for North
Ayrshire based at Ardrossan
library now has the following poor relief films.
Ardrossan 1846 - 1925
Beith 1845 - 1925
Dailly 1855 - 1903
Dalry 1886 - 1925
Dreghorn 1885 - 1901
Irvine 1827 - 1930
Kilbirnie 1856 - 1903
Kilmarnock 1857 - 1922
Kilwinning 1839 - 1925
Kirkmichael 1847 - 1890
Kirkoswald 1839 - 1925
Largs 1875 - 1925
Stevenston 1856 - 1925
Straiton 1902 - 1925
West Kilbride 1857 - 1861, 1923 - 1925
You should be able to order any of those films for
viewing through the (LDS FHC) (Mormon Church Family History Centres
anywhere in the world. You'll find such places listed in the telephone
book or on the net under ( Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints