Tracing your Scottish ancestry

Researching your Scottish ancestry with ScotlandsPeople Online

For those looking to trace these roots back to the glen or village where they began this has never been easier, with more and more of Scotland's genealogical records becoming available online at the Scotland's People website.

A major new resource has been made available to the public, after 100 years, which will help shed more light on our forebears.

The 1911 census contains the information about 4.7 million people who were recorded as living in Scotland on the night of Sunday, 2nd April, 1911.

The records will include the name, address, age, occupation, birthplace and marital status of everyone counted in the 1911 census, as well as details of their children.

From novice family historians to experienced genealogists, the census offers a new entry point into Scottish family history, providing a fascinating insight into how our ancestors lived a century ago.

The 1911 census is just the latest in a series of records to be made available online, meaning that unlocking your family history is just a few clicks of a mouse away whether you're in Inverness or Indiana.

1911 Census

The ScotlandsPeople website, a partnership between the various bodies involved with Scotland's past, contains records of births, marriages and deaths from every part of the country, some of which date back to the 1500s. In addition to this, there are census records from 1841. To check whether any of your ancestors were once wealthy or famous you can source Scottish Wills and Testaments on the site and for information on what clan flags, symbols or heraldry you are entitled to bear, you can even locate Coat of Arms Records from 1672 to 1907.

With a tantalising database of more than fifty million records it is one of the biggest single information resources to be found anywhere online. All of these records can be accessed by anyone on a pay-per-view basis.

If you have any vague notion that you might have a link to Scotland you are guaranteed to find it in this Aladdins Cave of archives. But don't restrict your search to your own family. You can have a look at Robert Louis Stevenson's death record, Robert Burns Will or even find out fascinating facts, like how many people were in prison in 1901!

Enjoy an ancestral trip to Scotland

If you are planning to make a visit to Scotland then you can visit the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh in person. With regular exhibitions and displays it is a great place to tour and to spend time digging up your roots. You can search through as many records as you like, with expert advice and assistance on hand.

If you've always been meaning to start piecing your Scottish family history jigsaw together then start now. But be warned, once you start you'll be off on a roller coaster ride of discovery that will get you hooked. Genealogy can become a compulsive habit.

Trying to trace your Scottish ancestry?

ScotlandsPeople Online


The National Archives of Scotland

Scottish Archive Network

UK and Ireland Genealogy

Last updated 6 Apr 2017