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A Guide to Family History

Research Begins at Home

The best place to start is try to work backwards from what you already know. It may surprise you how much you already know or information that can be gained from extended family members.

You and Your immediate Family - Begin with yourself by noting all your own details, such as date and place of birth, marriage, spouse, children - then the details of parents, grandparents and so on as you recall them.

Information from Extended Relatives - Information from relatives can increase your knowledge of the family, however, a patient and tactful approach is best.  Family history and stories can become distorted through of time, but should still be noted for later verification.

Documents and photographs - Most families have lots of old documents or photographs, which can be useful, for example, Birth, marriage or death certificates, obituaries, family bible, school leaving certificates, apprenticeship papers, university/college graduation certificates and awards, military service records, business papers, immigration papers, diaries, address books, birthday books, letters, postcards, newspaper cuttings, memoirs. Birth Certificates in Scotland will show parents and perhaps the date of their marriage. Marriage Certificates usually give the parents names of the couple getting married and Death Certificates may provide parents names also.
Obituaries are useful as they may provide information on extended family members and valuable information about the deceased.
Old photographs may jog the memory of an elderly relative, and it is important to ask them to identify as many faces as possible, so that this information is preserved. Information that can be gathered within the family will help to establish a foundation on which to build your family history.

Read Up on Family History, Join the Local Historical Society - Libraries and bookshops stock a range of material on family history and if you don‘t own a computer yourself, most libraries offer internet access where you can search for records in this country and abroad. Scottish research differs greatly from that in England. Joining the Historical Society where your family lived may also be a benefit as you will be in touch with individuals with the same interests and will have local knowledge of the area you will be researching.

The Internet

Scottish Association of Family History Societies - Promotes and encourages the study of Scottish family history, and provides a forum for the exchange of information among members.

Highland Family History Society - Promotes the study of genealogy, family history and related subjects in the Highlands of Scotland. It covers the Highland counties of Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire and the northern parishes of Argyle-shire down to the Sound of Mull and partway up Loch Linnhe.

County Sutherland Blog - Fabulous amount of information on the whole county as well as it's people.

Scotland's People - The official government site for obtaining family records in Scotland and has over 50 million records available. Records available are:

Statutory Registers Births 1855 - 2006, Marriages 1855- 1932

Deaths 1855 - 2006

Old Parish Registers Births & Baptisms 1533 - 1854

Banns & Marriages 1553 - 1854

Census Records 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901

Other Records Wills & Testaments 1513 - 1901

It costs £6 for 30 credits. It costs 1 credit to view the results of a
search which can contain a maximum of 25 records. To view an individual image such as an actual Death Certificate will cost 5 credits.

International Genealogical Indexes -  Free Family History, Family Tree, and Genealogy Records and Resources from Around the World.

Freecen - Aims to provide UK Census data on one database enabling you to trace your ancestors from 1841 to 1891.

For further information on searching for your family history, please use the "Contact Us" section and we would be only too happy to try and help you with your research. We have several local records available which can be used for research.  We are also continually building a record of contacts and family trees we have worked on.


Click for Map SSPC - Property in Scotland
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