Scottish Research

  • Scotland is one of the few countries whose genealogical records are almost entirely online and well indexed.
  • Church of Scotland Records 1538-1854.
    • Called Old Parochial Registers (OPR).
    • Primary source of birth and marriage information before government registration began.
    • Parishes rarely kept death or burial records.
    • Most records kept at the local parish and most parish record are in Latin.
    • Local parishes kept Kirk session records, which include information not found in parish registers, such as information about illegitimate births, alleged fathers and mortcloth fees. You will need to visit the parish archive itself to find out if these records exist.
  • Scotland changed its county boundaries significantly in 1975. Click here for a great website to trace the evolution of its boundaries.
  • Scottish census has been taken every ten years since 1841 (except 1941).
  • The 1841 census rounded down the ages of people 15 years and older to the nearest five years. So a 78 year old would have been recorded as 75.
  • Scottish first names typically follow a pattern:
    • First son is named for the father's father,
    • Second son is named for the mother's father,
    • Third son is named for the father,
    • Fourth son is named for the father's brother,
    • First daughter is named for the mother's mother,
    • Second daughter is named for the father's mother,
    • Third daughter is named for the mother, and
    • Fourth daughter is named for the mother's sister.


  • The National Library of Scotland
    • Contains more than 86,000 maps dated between 1560 - 1961.
    • Contains over 400 Scottish family history books, most dating from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
  • The Scottish Emigration Database
    • Searchable database of passengers who departed at Glasgow and Greenock in 1923.
    • Database of passengers from other Scottish ports between 1890 to 1960.
  • Scotland Marriages, 1561-1910
  • Scotland's Family
  • $ Scotland's People
    • There is some free information but most is pay-per-view.
    • One of the best databases for Scottish records.
    • Contains Vital Records from 1855-2012, OPR records.
    • Contains a probate index however the index only covers decedents, not executors, trustees or heirs.
  • The Scotsman Digital Archive - newspaper collection