What do I do once I am ready to search for my ancestors in Scotland?
Finding your Scottish Ancestors in Scotland is fun and exciting. There is something very special and moving when you begin to find your Scottish Roots. The “Scotland’s People” website is a big help and a good place to begin.
“Scotland”s People” is owned and operated by the Scottish Government ans is a fee based site that provides access to many Scottish Genealogical Records. To open an account you must register and pay 5£ after that this site is pay as you go. This is a site that is packed with digitalized records;
These Records Include:
1. Statutory Records – The statutory registers comprise the official records of births, marriages and deaths in Scotland from 1 January 1855 when civil registration replaced the old system of registration by parishes of the Established Church (Church of Scotland). From 1855, registration became compulsory, regardless of religious denomination, and followed a standard format for each record type. More information was required in order to register an event, particularly at the start of the new system.
2. Old Parish Registers – Prior to 1855 each Parrish kept their own records. The records are often quickly referred to by the initials “OPR”. The quality of information contained in the Parish registers is dependent upon the person responsible for doing the recording. Birth and marriages are most consistently recorded, however, deaths are often neglected. If you need death information cemetery records, wills and probate records are helpful in filling in this information.
3. Catholic Registers – Baptismal registers often record dates of birth as well as baptism. Both dates have been extracted for the index available via ScotlandsPeople. The earliest record available dates from 1703, but the majority of the records do not begin until the 1790s, mainly for the major cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Marriage registers rarely record much more than the names of the individuals being married. The earliest record available dates from 1736, but the majority of the records do not begin until the 1800s, mainly for the major cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Catholic Parish registers usually record the date of marriage, often with the information that the banns of marriage have been duly proclaimed. Usually only the marriage date will appear in the index. Death, burial and funeral records are similar in their coverage to that found in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland (OPR). There are only 23 volumes of deaths, burials or funerals with a further 49 general registers, containing deaths, burials or funerals. Coverage is very sparse, with the total number of deaths, funerals and burials in the period 1782-1959 being only 17,560.
4. Census Records – Census Records are available from 1841. The 1841 Census was the fifth decennial census of the population of Britain, but the first useful census to family historians, in that names of individuals within households were recorded, along with ages, occupations and places of birth.
5. Valuation Roles – The Lands Valuation Act, 1854 established a uniform valuation of landed property throughout Scotland. Assessors compiled annual valuation rolls listing every house or piece of ground, along with the names and designations of the proprietor, tenant and occupier. , Occupations of occupiers are frequently but not always included. Valuation rolls rarely list any other residents in a property. For the early years after 1854, there is little detail about properties whose annual rental value was less than 4 pounds, unless they were on long leases. These records can be helpful, but usually have less detailed information than census records.
6. Scotland’s People also has an excellent collection of wills, testaments and probate records which can be very helpful as they not only provide death data, but also can provide information regarding personal and other family relationships.