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17 October 2014
Scottish Roots - Searching for your family history in Scotland

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Getting Started
Now’s a good time to try to gather together all the bits and pieces of paper that your family may have hidden in the bottom of wardrobes. You could look out for:

The Family Bible - this is a great source of information. Families
often recorded the dates of the major events in the fly-cover.
Memorial cards and obituaries
Official documents - school reports, apprenticeship papers, graduation certificates and occupational pensions.
Military service records, medals and pensions.
Society/club membership papers - trade union cards, diaries, scrapbooks, letters, newspaper cuttings.
Photograph albums - and f
amily heirlooms can also be a great source of key pieces of information.


The Birth Certificate – This gives you the name of the child and where and when he or she was born. It also lists the parents names, their occupation, mother’s maiden name and whether either or both of the parents are deceased. The information about your parents in turn leads you to…
The Marriage Certificate - The marriage certificate gives the name of the bride and groom, their ages, occupations and places of residence. It also gives the names of the four parents, their occupation and whether they’re deceased. This leads you to…
The Death Certificate - This gives you the name of the deceased, time and place of death, age, parents' names and occupations, and name of the spouse if married. Nb. Any certificates from the 1970’s onwards will also include the birthdate of the deceased.


Emigration poster
If you simply want to record names, then a family tree is all you need.
You may also want to keep note of information other than the bare facts: What did people look like? What did they do? Did they have any odd sayings, pet or nick-names? Why not keep files along with your family tree - to include photos, extra information, or any documents you find in your search?

You might also want to look into local history. It’s all very well knowing names, but that doesn’t paint a picture of what that person was actually like. Finding out about local history can fill in some of the blanks and flesh out the picture. Local history societies use local sources, go on original data, and could give you a picture of what your forebears did and how they lived.

In the 19th Century many of our ancestors were illiterate – not much was written down. Names might change through the centuries. Misspellings add to the confusion.
Documents of former times were usually written by hand – but there are books and courses available to help you decipher the writing.

Unless otherwise stated images copyright © SCRAN.
Getting Started
Further Steps
Initial Sources
Digging Deeper

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