Searching for Ancestors

The search for family history is a fascinating and rewarding hobby, and those with Scottish ancestry are particularly fortunate in that the basic sources needed to compile a family tree (statutory birth, marriage and death records from 1855, census returns 1841-1911, pre-1855 parish registers, and wills & testaments) are accessible through the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh.

As research progresses, it becomes necessary to access a wider range of sources such as kirk session minutes, records of secessionist churches, poor relief records, property records, court records and family and estate papers. These may be found at the National Records of Scotland (formerly the National Archives of Scotland), the National Library of Scotland, and in local and university archives throughout Scotland.

Family historians may have difficulty accessing these records through distance or lack of time, or find themselves faced with a “brick wall” in their research, due to unfamiliarity with sources and techniques. This is when a professional genealogist may be able to help.

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