Over 40 million people world-wide claim Scottish ancestry. From Australia and New Zealand, through Europe to the USA and Canada.

There are people all over the world with ancestral roots, affinity or connections to Scotland - and thanks to the internet, it's never been easier for Scots to trace their roots back to the glen or village where they began.

Scotland is a world leader in providing family history information on the internet, partly because written records go back a long way. The main examples are registers of births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1553, Census records from 1841 to 1911 and wills dating back to 1500 - all available online.

The National Records of Scotland is responsible for the registers of births, marriages and deaths, and the taking of the Census. These historic records are publicly available and, since 1998, anyone can access the records through the genealogical website – Scotland's People. Around 100 million individual records are available and records are added regularly.

If you're in Scotland...

If you're in Edinburgh and want to trace your ancestors, try the Scotland's People Centre which has been helping people trace their roots since 1953. The National Library also has a number of publications dealing with early data including the International Genealogical Index with some records going back to the Middle Ages, old parochial records; monumental inscriptions; and census information. The National Records of Scotland also has family, business and church records, testaments, registers of property and records of the government of Scotland. If you're in Glasgow, The Mitchell Library has extensive family histories, voters' rolls, street directories and graduation and emigrants lists.

Want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?

Find out how to get started on VisitScotland.com

Scottish Connections and Diaspora

"Scotland's Diaspora" is used to describe the many people around the world who consider themselves to have an affinity or a connection with Scotland. So whether you have a family connection to Scotland, have lived, studied or visited, or have a love for all things Scottish, you may very well consider yourself part of the Scottish diaspora!

For generations, Scots have travelled the globe and settled abroad. These people have helped build Scotland's international reputation and celebrated and supported Scottish culture and heritage, and helped establish the iconic recognition it enjoys today.

Today, Scotland's diaspora includes Scots who have moved away from home, are working abroad, and are helping to share the idea of today's Scotland. Scotland itself is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and people from other places, and while some have come to live in Scotland permanently, others who have previously lived, studied or worked in Scotland for a period of time have returned home or moved elsewhere across the world.

I consider myself part of Scottish diaspora – now what?

Let's be friends! If you consider yourself part of the Scottish diaspora and are keen to stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Scotland, we have just what you’re looking for. Our social media channels are a one-stop shop for the latest Scottish news. They are regularly updated with great content; from interesting features about Scots past and present to celebrating Scotland's achievements around the world. If you love Scotland, keep in touch!