Tracing your Scottish Roots

There are about 40 million people world-wide who share a Scottish ancestry. From Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, through Europe to the USA and Canada, there are people with their ancestral roots in Scotland. 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 to 1553, Census records from 1841 to 1911 and wills to 1500.

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 on a pay-per-view genealogical website called Scotland's People. Around 80 million individual records are available and records are added regularly.

If you're in Scotland...

If you're in Edinburgh 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.

Thinking of discovering your Scottish roots?

Go to Ancestral Scotland for more information

Last updated 8 Jun 2015