Scottish Genealogy Search Toolkit

Scottish Genealogy Search Toolkit

Trace your Scottish ancestors and kin with these genealogy resources.

Scottish Records At a Glance

Search for these records at the Family History Library, ScotlandsPeople, and the General Register Office for Scotland.

Civil Registrations

  • Dates: 1855 to present
  • Privacy restrictions: none.

Research tip: The International Genealogical Index has good coverage of births and marriages from Scottish civil registration records for the years 1855 to 1875.

Parochial Registers

  • Dates: 1553 to 1854
  • Privacy restrictions: none

Research tip: GROS warns these records contain little information, but they’re the main source of vital data before compulsory civil registration. 


  • Dates: every 10 years since 1801 (except 1941)
  • Privacy restrictions: confidential for 100 years

Research tip: Beginning in 1841, censuses name every member of the household, and gave each one’s age, relationship to head of household, occupation and place of birth. The 1851 count added marital status; the 1891 census indicates Gaelic speakers.

Scottish Genealogy Resources
Learn more in our 4-week course, Scottish Genealogy Research Strategies 



  • Clans and Families of Scotland: The History of the Scottish Tartan by Alexander Fulton (Book Sales)
  • Colonists from Scotland: Emigration to North America, 1707-1783 by Ian Charles Cargill Graham (Clearfield Co.)
  • Discover Your Scottish Ancestry: Internet and Traditional Resources by Graham S. Holton (Roberts Rinehart Publishers)
  • Gathering the Clans: Tracing Scottish Ancestry on the Internet by Alan Stewart (Phillimore & Co.)
  • A Genealogist’s Guide toDiscovering Your Scottish Ancestors by Paul Milner and Linda Jonas (Betterway Books)
  • The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith (David Brown Book Co.)
  • Rooted in Scotland: Getting to the Heart of Your Scottish Heritage by Cameron Taylor (Luath Press)
  • Scottish Ancestry: Research Methods for Family Historians by Sherry Irvine (Ancestry)
  • Scottish Roots: The Step-By-Step Guide to Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors by Alwyn James (Luath Press)
  • The Scottish Family Tree Detective: Tracing Your Ancestors in Scotland by Rosemary Bigwood (Manchester University Press)
  • Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry by Kathleen B. Cory (Genealogical Services)


British Isles Family History Society USA

2531 Sawtelle Blvd., PMB 134, Los Angeles, CA 90064

General Register Office for Scotland

New Register House, 3 W. Register St., Edinburgh EH1 3YT, Scotland

National Archives of Scotland

H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes St., Edinburgh EH1 3YY, Scotland

National Library of Scotland

George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EW, Scotland

The Scottish Genealogy Society

15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL, Scotland


 From the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine

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