Researching your Scottish family history

Maps, books, clans and genealogy

Unfortunately I can't help with any specific requests as I simply don't know anything about the subject, but I hope you will find this file useful. Please let me know if you have any resources you think should be added to this page - email me.

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: The Official Guide
by The National Archives of Scotland.
Very useful 208-page paperback book.
In-depth information including Internet resources.
To order your copy click for or
Customised tours of Scottish Castles with professional tartan-clad guides.
Clan lands research service - discover the places associated with your family name.

How to trace your ancestors - online help

Visit Scottish GENUKI which explains how and where to look for information. This is part of the UK resources page at:

Also visit the Scotland GenWeb Project which has links to many UK resources and GeneaNet.

Birth, marriage and death records are kept by the General Register Office for Scotland which offers paid online access to records such as Statutory Registers, Old Parish Registers and Census Records. You can search the Wills & Testaments database (1513-1901) for free.
The Scottish database includes 50 million records, dating from 1533-2006, including the 1841 - 1901 censuses in Scotland.
Some Scottish records are available for free online via which includes a free surname search, as well as Irish and British databases.

Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) - Internet access to the written history of Scotland.

The National Archives of Scotland web site includes details of the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS),

The Scottish Collections Network (SCONE) provides descriptions of collections held in Scottish libraries, museums and archives, and collections about Scottish topics held elsewhere provides free access to the index of over half a million Scottish wills and testaments from 1500 to 1901. If you are successful in your search, you can download high quality colour digital images of documents for a small fee. The site also contains wills of famous Scots, an index to over 800 occupations and help with handwriting and unusual words.

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland from 1791 to 1845 are now available online from EDINA (Edinburgh Data and Information Access). It gives a good idea of what it was like in the various parishes during those dates.

The Scottish Highlander Photo Archive (SHPA) is scanning old family photos.

The Scots and Canada resource is provided by Education Scotland.

Visit the Inveraray Jail web site for prisoners who were sent from there in Argyll to the Colonies. offers a rapidly-growing digital archive on Scotland's Highland Clearances. Concentrating on first-hand accounts it tells the stories of where people came from and the places to which they went. Photographs, articles, statistics, people and passenger searches and much more.

For information about heraldry, visit Burke's Peerage & Gentry International Register of Arms or The Heraldry Society of Scotland.

Glasgow University has produced a database on Medieval Scotland from 1093-1286.

The Forebears web site has research on the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic. You can search the databases to trace the geographic movement of family names.

CuriousFox - UK Local History and Genealogy Gazetteer web site with message boards for every town and village in the UK and Ireland.

As for specific places, there are many resources, here is a sample:

Also try the Scottish Genealogy Society which has a Library and Family History Centre at 15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL (closed Fridays and Sundays).


The Scottish Gazetteer is useful resource from Edinburgh University.

The National Library of Scotland also has various historical maps online including the now famous ones by Timothy Pont made in the 1580s and 1590s.

ScotlandsPlaces is a web site which compiles maps and info from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland.

A Vision of Britain Through Time (between 1801 and 2001) includes historical maps and descriptions, census reports, etc. Web site created by the Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System Project.

Old maps (circa 1850) are available courtesy of Landmark and are currently browsable by county name.

The Scottish Place-Name Society web site has some interesting research.

Old photos of various places can be searched for via SCRAN (Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network) which is an online database of 1 million heritage records from museums, galleries, archives, etc.

Resources for Learning in Scotland (RLS) is a resource base headed by the National Library of Scotland and SCRAN - involving over 100 Scottish archives and libraries.

Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches is a collaborative project which has been set up to preserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online several thousand hours of Gaelic and Scots recordings. This website contains a wealth of material such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information. The material has been collected from all over Scotland and beyond from the 1930s onwards.


Leslie A. McRae's site has useful information on not just the McRae family, but also surnames and genealogy.

The Clan Mackenzie has to be mentioned here of course since my grandmother was a Mackenzie.

Rampant Scotland has a section devoted to weblinks for Clans and Tartans.

More Scottish clan and history links......


  • Based in Moffat (Scotland), Scottish Ancestral Trail can organise itinerary, driver-guides and accommodation for those who wish to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors in Scotland.
  • is the tourist board initiative and includes clan touring itineraries.


Please note that all the links on this page are provided for information only, not as personal recommendations.