Researching your Scottish family history
Maps, books, clans and genealogy
Unfortunately I can't help with any specific requests as I simply don't know anything about the subject, but I hope you will find this file useful. Please let me know if you have any resources you think should be added to this page - email me.
Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: The Official Guide
by The National Archives of Scotland.
Very useful 208-page paperback book.
In-depth information including Internet resources.
To order your copy click for Amazon.com (commission link) or Amazon.co.uk (commission link)
How to trace your ancestors - online help
Birth, marriage and death records are kept by the General Register Office for Scotland which offers paid online access to records such as Statutory Registers, Old Parish Registers and Census Records. You can search the Wills & Testaments database (1513-1901) for free.
The Scottish database includes 50 million records, dating from 1533-2006, including the 1841 - 1901 censuses in Scotland.
Some Scottish records are available for free online via Origins.net which includes a free surname search, as well as Irish and British databases.
Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) - Internet access to the written history of Scotland.
The National Archives of Scotland web site includes details of the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS),
ScottishDocuments.com provides free access to the index of over half a million Scottish wills and testaments from 1500 to 1901. If you are successful in your search, you can download high quality colour digital images of documents for a small fee. The site also contains wills of famous Scots, an index to over 800 occupations and help with handwriting and unusual words.
The Statistical Accounts of Scotland from 1791 to 1845 are now available online from EDINA (Edinburgh Data and Information Access). It gives a good idea of what it was like in the various parishes during those dates.
The Scottish Highlander Photo Archive (SHPA) is scanning old family photos.
The Scots and Canada resource is provided by Education Scotland.
Visit the Inveraray Jail web site for prisoners who were sent from there in Argyll to the Colonies.
For information about heraldry, visit Burke's Peerage & Gentry International Register of Arms or The Heraldry Society of Scotland.
Glasgow University has produced a database on Medieval Scotland from 1093-1286.
The Forebears web site has research on the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic. You can search the databases to trace the geographic movement of family names.
CuriousFox - UK Local History and Genealogy Gazetteer web site with message boards for every town and village in the UK and Ireland.
As for specific places, there are many resources, here is a sample:
- Aberdeen & North East Scotland Family History Society and dedicated website: Routes to Your North East Roots
- Borders Family History Society (includes an archive research facility in Galashiels)
- Caithness Family History Society
- Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society
- Glasgow & West of Scotland Family History Society
- Highland Family History Society
- Inverness-Shire GENUKI web site
- Lochaber And North Argyll Family History Group
- North Perthshire Family History Group
- Ancestral Orkney
- Isles of Skye & Raasay - by Norma MacLeod
- Bill Lawson specialises in emigrant families all over the world with Hebridean backgrounds. Covers the Western Isles only (Harris, Lewis, Uists, Barra, St Kilda). Also sells Hebridean historical books and genealogical research material which can be accessed online at hebridespeople.com
Also try the Scottish Genealogy Society which has a Library and Family History Centre at 15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL (closed Fridays and Sundays).
MAPS & PLACE NAMES
The Scottish Gazetteer is useful resource from Edinburgh University.
The National Library of Scotland also has various historical maps online including the now famous ones by Timothy Pont made in the 1580s and 1590s.
ScotlandsPlaces is a web site which compiles maps and info from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland.
A Vision of Britain Through Time (between 1801 and 2001) includes historical maps and descriptions, census reports, etc. Web site created by the Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System Project.
Old maps (circa 1850) are available courtesy of Landmark and are currently browsable by county name.
The Scottish Place-Name Society web site has some interesting research.
Old photos of various places can be searched for via SCRAN (Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network) which is an online database of 1 million heritage records from museums, galleries, archives, etc.
Resources for Learning in Scotland (RLS) is a resource base headed by the National Library of Scotland and SCRAN - involving over 100 Scottish archives and libraries.
Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches is a collaborative project which has been set up to preserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online several thousand hours of Gaelic and Scots recordings. This website contains a wealth of material such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information. The material has been collected from all over Scotland and beyond from the 1930s onwards.
The Clan Mackenzie has to be mentioned here of course since my grandmother was a Mackenzie.
Rampant Scotland has a section devoted to weblinks for Clans and Tartans.
- RobbieMac Tours is run by Robyn Jobson who is a tour guide and genealogist specialising in private guided tours of the North Highlands, especially Caithness and Sutherland. Guided tours on themes such as clans, the Highland Clearances, castles, archaeology and local history can be tailor made for you.
- Based in Moffat (Southern Scotland), Scottish Ancestral Trail can organise itinerary, driver-guides and accommodation for those who wish to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors in Scotland.
- ancestralscotland.com is the tourist board initiative and includes clan touring itineraries.
PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHERS (a variety of links)
- Angus Ancestry - researcher based in Dundee.
- Association of Scottish Genealogists & Researchers in Archives (ASGRA) - an independent body of professional individual searchers in Scotland.
- Ancestral Scotland Search - genealogist Morag Carter is based in the Borders, and can research family history enquiries for the whole of Scotland
- Ar Turas - can offer research on your genealogy plus social and cultural histories
- Bill Lawson covers the Western Isles only (Harris, Lewis, Uists, Barra, St Kilda).
- Family Roots in Scotland was established in Edinburgh in 2004 and offers a 'Pay-As-You-Go' service.
- Fife Rootsearch - Caroline Makein specialises in Fife and the Tay Valley area.
- Find My Scottish Ancestors - provides professional genealogy and Scottish historical research.
- Heather Roots by Sandra Shanks, specialises in Highland family history, probate genealogy and heir locating.
- IMCHAD ANCESTRY - Ian A McClumpha specialises in Dumfries & Galloway.
- Janealogy - professional Scottish family history research service based in Stirling, central Scotland. Orkney a particular interest.
- My Ain Folk - professional genealogist based in Edinburgh offering a range of research services. Member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (ASGRA).
- Our Scots - genealogy research service based near Edinburgh.
- Sara Jayne Donaldson of Thurso specialises in Caithness research
- Scotland's Greatest Story - professional family history research by Chris Paton, based in North Ayrshire.
- Scots Ancestry Research Society
- Scots Family - a Scottish ancestor service which helps to enliven family trees by offering also historical photographs of people and places, parish accounts, and old large-scale maps to help pin-point the ancestral home.
- Scots Roots Research - situated near Edinburgh, with more than 15 years’ experience of researching family history. Full reports including family trees.
- Scottish Ancestor - professional service based in Fife. Prior to your visit to Scotland we will research the places your ancestors lived/worked/are buried then help you plan your ancestral trip.
- Scottish Ancestors - genealogy company based in Central Scotland with over 20 years experience.
- Scottish Family Research run by John Arthur, an experienced professional Scottish genealogist based in Edinburgh.
- Skye Roots covers the Isles of Skye & Raasay by Norma MacLeod.
- Your Scottish Descent (based in Glasgow) offers genealogical and historical research in Scotland.
- YourScottishFamilyTree - experienced genealogist, Margaret Hubble, based in West Lothian
Customised tours of Scottish Castles & Clan Lands with private tour guide (small groups).
Or self-drive tours with accommodation reservations
Please note that all the links on this page are provided for information only, not as personal recommendations.