Researching Your Scottish Family History

Embarking on the journey of researching your Scottish family history is a thrilling adventure of discovery. Here are the steps that will guide you through this exciting process:

Gather Information from Family

  • Talk to Relatives: Begin your journey by engaging in heartfelt conversations with your older relatives. Their memories and stories, along with names, dates, and places, are invaluable threads that connect you to your past.
  • Collect Documents: Gather birth, marriage, and death certificates, old photographs, letters, and family bibles.

Organize Your Findings

  • Create a Family Tree: Use charts or software to keep track of your ancestors and their relationships.
  • Document Everything: Note where each piece of information came from.

Use Online Resources

  • ScotlandsPeople: This is the official government resource for Scottish genealogy, offering access to birth, marriage, death, census, and will records.
  • FamilySearch: A free resource with a vast collection of Scottish records.
  • Ancestry and Findmypast: These subscription services provide extensive records and tools for research.

Census Records

  • Scottish Census (1841-1911): Available on ScotlandsPeople, these can provide valuable insights into the family structure, occupations, and residences.

Civil Registration Records

  • Birth, Marriage, and Death Records (1855-present): Accessed through ScotlandsPeople.

Parish Records

  • Old Parish Registers (OPRs): Before civil registration began in 1855, parish records of the Church of Scotland were essential. These include baptisms, marriages, and burials.

Wills and Testaments

  • Scottish Wills: Available from 1513 onwards on ScotlandsPeople, these can provide insights into your ancestors’ lives and family connections.

Emigration and Immigration Records

  • Passenger Lists: Look for ancestors who may have emigrated. Sites like Ancestry can help.

Military Records

  • Service Records: These can be found on various genealogy sites and can provide personal details about your ancestors.

Local Archives and Libraries

  • National Records of Scotland: Offers a wealth of information, including historical records.
  • Local Libraries and Archives: These can have unique local records, newspapers, and other documents.

Visit Ancestral Locations

  • On-site Research: Visiting towns, villages, and cemeteries where your ancestors lived can provide a deeper connection and sometimes uncover additional records.

Join a Genealogy Society

  • Local and National Societies: These can provide support, resources, and sometimes access to exclusive records.

Continue Learning

  • Genealogy Courses and Workshops: Many organizations offer courses that can enhance your research skills.

By following these steps and utilizing a variety of resources, you’ll be well on your way to uncovering your Scottish family history.

Researching Your Scottish Family History