East Ayrshire Family History Society was formed in 1997 and takes its name from the new local authority created around the same time. The area covered by East Ayrshire comprises the former districts of Kilmarnock & Loudoun and Cumnock & Doon Valley, however resources held by EAFHS cover all of Ayrshire.
The main towns in the area are Kilmarnock and Cumnock – the other main population settlements are Stewarton, Mauchline and Dalmellington. There are nearly 40 villages within East Ayrshire and some “vanished villages” including Loudounkirk, Sornhill, Lethanhill, Burnfoothill and Glenbuck (birthplace of the legendary football player and manager Bill Shankly).
The main industries in East Ayrshire are/were:
- Farming (including by-products such as the famous Dunlop cheese) and Mining (for coal and iron).
- Engineering – with companies like Barclays (locomotives), Massey Ferguson (tractors) and Stonefield trucks.
- Cotton mills in Catrine.
- Carpetmaking (BMK), shoemaking (Saxone), whisky blending (Johnnie Walker) etc in Kilmarnock.
- Lacemaking in the Irvine Valley.
- Ironworks at Glenbuck, Hurlford, Dunaskin and Muirkirk.
Famous people associated with East Ayrshire include:
- Famous authors (George Douglas Brown, James Boswell).
- Politicians (James Keir Hardie).
- Scotland’s National Bard (Robert Burns who set up home in Mauchline with Jean Armour and whose first edition of poems was printed in Kilmarnock).
- Famous composers (James McMillan from Cumnock).
- Famous scientists (Sir Alexander Fleming of penicillin fame who was born in Darvel and William Murdoch from Lugar who invented gas lighting).
- Famous exports have been Andrew Fisher (prime minister of Australia who was born in Crosshouse, near Kilmarnock) and General George Patton (whose family were originally from Mauchline).
The main aim of EAFHS is to promote family history in this area, and to assist those members of the Society whose ancestors came from this area, but who live too far away to undertake the research themselves.