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

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Initial Sources
Once you have exhausted your own lines of enquiry using family material, then you have to think about accessing other sources. These sources should also be used to validate family ‘oral’ history where possible.

The first port of call for anyone researching their Scottish roots. It is the result of a partnership between the General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon to make more Scottish genealogical records from New Register House searchable online.

At present the database contains entries for: Old Parish Registers from the 16th to 19th century; statutory birth, marriage and death certificates from 1855 onwards; and census records.

The website gives access to a fully searchable index of:

· births 1553-1905
· marriages 1553-1930
· deaths 1855-1955
· census data 1861-1901
· wills and testaments 1513-1901

To respect privacy of living people, internet access has been limited to birth records over 100 years old, marriage records over 75 years, and death records over 50 years. View, save and print images of many of the original documents, and order extracts of any register entries of interest to be mailed to you.

See the Feature for more on accessing the census records.

Go to for more information about the records in the database.

This is home to the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and is situated in Edinburgh. If you require information not contained in the Scotland's People online database, you may need to visit the bulding itself. There is currently a £17 daily charge, and you should call in advance. The building is currently undergoing a transformation to turn it and the adjacent General Register House - home to the National Archives of Scotland - into a Family History Centre (see for further information) so there may be some disruption to visitors prior to the completion of works in Spring 2007.

This is the General Register Offices for Scotland(GROS) and is housed in Edinburgh. As well as all the physical records listed in the Scotland's People database above, New Register House contains:

· Census returns for 1841 – 1851 (these are currently being added to the Scotland's People database)
· Army, Navy and Air Force Registers
· Register of Divorced (from 1984). Records names of parties, date and place of marriage and divorce and any provisions made.
· Register of Neglected Entries from 1801 – 1854. These are births, deaths and marriages that have been proved to have occurred but were not recorded in the OPRs.
· Adopted Children Register. The earliest entry is 1909.
· Scottish births, deaths and marriages occurring outside Scotland.

This is Scotland’s largest library. They have:

· Books explaining how to trace your ancestry
· Scottish Historical clubs and societies (from the 19th century)
· State papers
· Electoral Registers – a list of voters

· Military listings
· Graduation rolls
· Emigration (they have passenger lists and info from the mid 16th century)
· Newspapers – some going as far back to the 18th century
· Social and local history info
· Maps

(Formerly the Scottish Record Office)
This holds a very varied collection of records from the 12th century to the present day. The NAS is housed in two different buildings, so it is crucial that you phone in advance with your requirements as it can take a couple of days to order the material you have requested. The archives include:

· Formal records from places like the law courts, land transfers, estate papers, church records.
· The register of wills and testaments from as far back as the 16th century
· The register of Sasines from 1617, which records the transfer of land and property
· Newspapers
· Valuation of Rolls – list of properties and land, and the names of the owners and tenants.
· Services of heirs and Retours of heirs – which gives proof of heirs.

(England and Wales)

The National Archives of England, Wales and the United Kingdom has one of the largest archival collections in the world, spanning 1000 years of British history, from the Domesday Book of 1086 to government papers recently released to the public.

The records relevant to genealogy include:

· Indexes of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales from 1837.
· Indexes of adoptions in England and Wales from 1927
· Indexes of some births, marriages and deaths of British nationals and British Armed Forces, which took place abroad, from the late eighteenth century including both World Wars.
· Census returns for England and Wales (1841-1901)
Wills and administrations from the PCC up to 1858
· Death Duty registers (1796-1858) and indexes (1796-1903)
· Records of nonconformist births, baptisms and burials (mainly pre-1837) and marriages (mainly pre-1754)
· Miscellaneous foreign returns of births, deaths and marriages from 1627 to 1964
· Access to online resources including DocumentsOnline (with free image downloads) and 1901 Census Online.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.
Unless otherwise stated images copyright © SCRAN.

Getting Started
Further Steps
Initial Sources
Digging Deeper

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