Scot Free
11/20/2009
Tracing your Scottish ancestry is a breeze with our beginner's guide to genealogy in the land of kilts and clans.
 
You don't have to be a genealogy buff to recognize that Scottish heritage is tightly woven into America's cultural fabric. We're not just talking about a fondness for plaid or the popularity of golf and movies such as Brigadoon and Braveheart. With 9.2 million people claiming Scottish and Scots-Irish ancestry, Scottish-Americans are not only the United States' eighth-largest heritage group — they outnumber the 5 million Scots in Scotland nearly 2-to-1.

That adds up to plentiful research opportunities for those who want to trace their Scottish family trees. When I began researching my Hume/Home family, who left Edinburgh for Spotslyvania County, Va., in 1740, I had no idea of the depth and breadth of Scottish records online. For someone who specializes in US genealogy, it was thrilling to make the jump over the pond and discover a rich heritage dating back to the 1200s. You can make that exciting leap, too, by following the advice in this guide.

In the rough