How to Research your Family History in Scotland...
Pencil, rubber, notebook. Remember, it will never end!
Decide On Your Storage Method/s
Fill in as you go along, a blank Family Tree Chart:
Available to download here to the right.
Free on the internet - www.genealogysearch.org/free/forms.html
Use an Excel spreadsheet.
Software. Check ease of use before purchasing:
Family Historian (Windows)
Family Tree Maker, 2012 (Windows and Mac)
MacFamilyTree (Mac), etc.
Family Tree Builders:
There are also many on line family tree builders out there which can make your life easier when it comes to recording your family tree. such as those on Ancestry.co.uk and Findmypast.com. These are free to use, accessible from any internet-connected computer, and can connect you to others who share your ancestors, but read the small print to check that you are happy with how your data will be stored.
'Apps' for smartphones and tablet computers:
Ancestry.co.uk has a free iPhone/iPad application which you can use to see and edit your research while you are out and about
Tracing Your Family
Civil registration, birth, marriage and death certificates, started in Scotland in 1855 so it is easy to trace any of your family back to 1855.
The certificates are held in THREE places:
1. The place where the event happened - Local Registrar
2. Scottish Registrar in Edinburgh - New Register House
3. By the person(s) concerned or surviving relatives, this is the best place to start.
Talk To Your Relatives
You may have a huge family resource at your fingertips - other members of your family. Get talking to them and see what you can find out.
Ask your relatives for any documents, an old family Bible or photographs that they may have hidden away. Photographs in particular can prompt memories, and it is often worth showing them to other family members, asking them to identify who is in them. If the opportunity arises, borrow to scan and copy.
Scottish civil registration certificates are now recorded electronically and printed on a portrait template on A4 sheets. In family history research terms, most certificates consulted will be older and hand written with a landscape template.
KEY LINK to find: the parent's Marriage Certificate.
KEY LINK to find: mother's maiden surname (m.s.).
Read more about Birth Certificates here...
KEY LINK to find: the birth dates of both parties.
KEY LINK to find: the two sets of grandparents!
KEY LINK to find: the mothers' maiden surnames (m.s.).
KEY LINK to find: the age of the deceased - easy to calculate their year of birth.
KEY LINK to find: the names of the deceased's parents.
Old Parish Registers
Prior to 1855, the established Church of Scotland (also Episcopal and Catholic Churches) registered the births and marriages. There was no requirement to record a death although some may be found in the form of a burial payment.
KEY LINK to find: all the family living at one address
KEY LINK to find: what they worked at
KEY LINK to find: how old they were
KEY LINK to find: their neighbours
Moray Local Heritage Centre
LIBINDX (online search)
Scottish National Archives
Buckie Fishing Heritage