Scottish Ancestry

There are about 50 million people world-wide who claim Scottish ancestry. From Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, through Europe to the USA and Canada, there are people all over the world with Scottish ancestral roots. Thanks to the internet, it has 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 a genealogical website - ScotlandsPeople. 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 ScotlandsPeople Centre, or the Scottish Genealogy Society, 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.

Get started in tracing your roots