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Trace Scottish ancestry

The family records you need to trace Scottish roots

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Niall Cullen
14 January 2020

Does your clan have Scottish origins? We'll help you find them.

Findmypast is home to the fastest-growing collection of online family records from Scotland. Add to that our extensive collection of Scottish newspapers, and you have yourself a veritable treasure chest of material to help you find highland relatives.

Search Scottish records

Here's a quick guide to the records that will help most as you discover your Scottish family story.

Scottish birth, marriage and death and parish records

There are several useful collections you can explore to find the most important milestones in your Scottish family's lives including:

Scotland Births & Baptisms 1564-1950 - Millions of records covering nearly 400 years of Scottish history. Each record contains a transcript of original sources and you will usually find out names, dates, locations and parents' names.

Scotland Marriages 1561-1910 - This comprehensive collection of records will help you uncover a union of two branches of your Scottish family.

Scotland Billion Graves Cemetery Index - If your ancestors were buried in Scotland, use this regularly-updated index to find the precise location.

Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Registers - Part of our ground-breaking Catholic Heritage Archive and only available on Findmypast, these rich records cover all eight Catholic dioceses in Scotland and date as far back as the early 1700s.

Scottish cemetery records

You'll even be able to view a photograph of their headstone online, saving you a trip to the cemetery.

Historical Scottish newspapers

Our British Newspaper Collection is one of the most important resources you can search for your Scottish family.

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The intuitive search tools all you can narrow your selection by date and county. Be sure to check back on what's new as we add more newspaper pages from Scotland and the across the UK regularly.

Scottish census records

Scotland is covered in our British census records from 1841-1901. The censuses are the perfect way to track your family's evolution over generations. They'll tell you your ancestor's name, address, birth year, occupation and more. Not sure of a relative's name? You can also enjoy the added benefit of searching the censuses by address.

Scottish military records

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers from Scotland are included in our comprehensive British Army Service Records. You can filter your search by country and county to narrow your results to exactly what you're looking for. There are many British Army regiments with origins in Scotland including The Scots Guards, The Royal Scots Fusiliers and The Highland Light Infantry.

Unique Scottish family records

Expand your Scottish family tree further by exploring some lesser-known record collections:

Scotland Registers & Records are a varied array of social histories and parish records covering everything from the parish of Alloa to the Black Watch.

Scotland, Paternity Decrees 1750-1922 can help you break down pesky genealogy 'brick walls' by discovering illegitimate ancestors.

Scotland Pre-1841 Censuses and Population Lists takes you back further with early census information for several Scottish parishes.

Scotland, Post Office Directories are perfect for tracing Scottish business owners or tradespeople and include a myriad of directories from across the country.

Where else to look?

Findmypast is not the only resource available to help you build your Scottish family tree. ScotlandsPeople is the official Scottish government genealogy website and holds comprehensive collections of civil and church registers, censuses, land records and more. Combining ScotlandsPeople with Findmypast will most likely yield the most-well rounded Scottish family history research.