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

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Getting Started
Interest in family history research taken off as an online activity as the quality of records and ease of access has increased dramatically. Why travel halfway across the country to some graveyard only to find out you’re barking up the wrong (family) tree? Searching out your family history will take time and money, so be prepared. Try to be as specific in your search as you can, and find out as much information as possible from friends and family first.


Family tree
The most common type of family tree is the Drop Line Chart. The oldest traced relative is at the top, and then the rest branch out below. It is easier to follow the male line (father/grandfather etc and their spouses, siblings). The female line often involves name changes brought about by marriage.
As a rule:

Keep all people of the same generation on the same line
Use conventional abbreviations.

1. For ‘married’ write =
2. For birth write b.
3. For died write d.

You can do the family tree by hand or you could use one of the many commercial software programmes available on CD-ROM.

Look For:

Keep a big notebook for recording your information, and write it ALL down. Never discount anything; you never know when you’ll need it. Note the date, location and source of where you found the information. Also note down if you turn up a blank. There’s no point retracing your steps, only to find you’ve already been down that particular dead-end.

Remember, no matter where you get the information, you must always check it back to the original source. You can’t claim it as fact unless you’ve done this.

There are three sources for information:
Yourself. Your birth certificate shows your parents, and their birth certificate shows their parents etc. You can pursue this until you come to a dead end.
Other people. Talk to your relatives and any older family friends. Remember that family stories may be nothing more than myth or legend, and, whilst there may be a grain of truth, they may have been embellished beyond worth.
Printed Information – this is where the hard work starts.

Time is money when it comes to research. Libraries charge, so don’t go on fishing expeditions – know what you need to find.
It helps if there is anything unusual in the family. Criminality is a real bonus when trying to trace your forebears!

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

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