~Scottish Genealogy ~ ...find your Scottish Roots (or
Genealogy: The study of family origins and
IT'S DONE: Genealogists compile lists
of ancestors, which they arrange in pedigree charts or other written forms. The word genealogy
comes from two Greek words—one meaning “race” or
“family” and the other “theory” or “science.” Thus is derived
“to trace ancestry,” the science of studying family
The term pedigree comes from
the Latin pes(“foot”) and grus(“crane”) and
is derived from a sign resembling a crane's foot, used to indicate lines of descent in early west European
genealogie Chartpedigrees - familiar to most people from school history books
-include arrow shapes, parallel lines, a crinkly line denoting illegitimacy, and the sign = denoting
Genealogy is a
universal phenomenon and, in forms varying from quite basic to fairly complex, is found in all nations
... If you have roots in Scotland, there
is a wealth of information available to help you trace your Scottish ancestors – either in person by
visiting somewhere like the Scotland’s People
Centre in Edinburgh, or online via the internet.
The number of websites providing details of Scottish births, marriages, deaths, burials etc. seems to grow
daily although, it should be added, many of the most worthwhile are
Compulsory civil registration of births, marriages and deaths
started in Scotland on 1 January 1855. Prior to 1855 the Established Church of Scotland was responsible for
keeping parish registers.
Scottish statutory birth, marriage and death certificates from 1855 onwards have been digitised and can be searched (but note that
some of the more recent records cannot be viewed online for reasons of data protection). These certificates
can provide lots of useful information – men’s occupations, women’s maiden names, addresses, parents’ names,
cause of death etc.
Most of the pre-1855 old parish records have also been digitised and can be searched, but
here much depends on the standard of record keeping in individual parishes and on how regularly your
ancestors went to church. Sometimes a fee was charged for recording an event, so people often just didn’t
bother. Old parish records don’t provide as much information as statutory records, usually recording baptisms
and the proclamation of banns rather than births and marriages. Entries for deaths are often just a name and
a date so it’s not easy to be sure you have the right person. However, on the positive side, some parish
records go back as far as the 16th
Scottish census recordshave also
been made available. The first official national census of the population was taken in 1801 but it contained
mainly facts andfigures and no details of individuals.
The first census to be useful for family history research was taken in 1841 and thereafter every 10 years.
Censuses from 1841 to 1901 can currently be viewed, and the 1911 census only became available in 2011.
Censuses are very useful for family historians and record the address, names of family members, ages,
occupations, where born etc.
Ifyou intend to start delving into
your own Scottish past, you should start by writing down everything that you already know, incorporating
anything gleaned from relatives, certificates, family bible, obituaries etc. Add photographs, if
possible.(You’ll find a free starter pack at www.scotsrootsresearch.com
help you record the details.) Now you should be in
a position either to continue your research online (or on your next visit to Scotland) or hire someone else
to do it for you. If you want a wee bit of starting help, contact us at mailto://firstname.lastname@example.org However, if you intend doing your own research,
you may eventually become swamped by the amount of information available and the time it takes to find, download
and record it – and deciphering some of the old handwriting can be a job in itself. Our friends at
Scots Roots Research** will gladly do the research for you and set it all out in an easy to
Research is carried out
for us by Alex MacMillan,
who has been researching family history for the last 15 years and has around 3,000 names in his own family tree
database. He has traced his MacMillan ancestors back to around 1694.
is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Aberdeen and North East Family History
Society, the Highland Family History Society and the West Lothian Family History
**(Scots Roots Research is a small company focused entirely onproviding a high quality service and customer satisfaction. We’re sure you’ll be happy working with
them. For a 10% discount off their published prices, just mention SeaglassfromScotland when you contact
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Some useful Scottish genealogy