Find your Scottish ancestors, local history and details of their lives with these links to online family history and genealogy resources.
General Family History Websites
- Scotlands People
From Scottish census records, Scottish wills, birth certificates and death certificates, we have a comprehensive choice of Scottish records to bring your Scotland ancestry to life. Build the complete picture of your Scottish ancestry with ScotlandsPeople.
- Scottish Indexes
Graham and Emma Maxwell, genealogists at Maxwell Ancestry, are pleased to bring you this new website with even more indexes to help you trace your Scottish family tree online. They have a large collection of indexes, from unique sources such as prison and court records to more commonly used sources such as birth, marriage, death and census records. While currently many of the records are from the south of Scotland, the Quaker records and mental health records cover all of Scotland. They will also be adding more records from other areas of Scotland soon.
- Scottish Archive Network
The project aims to revolutionise access to Scotland’s archives by providing a single electronic catalogue to the holdings of more than 50 Scottish archives.
- The National Archives
The National Archives is the UK government’s official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. They give detailed guidance to government departments and the public sector on information management and advise others about the care of historical archives.
Births, Marriages, Deaths and Parish Records
- Scotland Births & Baptisms 1564-1950
Discover your Scottish ancestor among millions of records covering almost 400 years of births and baptisms. Find their name and date of birth as well as their place of baptism.
- Scotland BDM
Scotland BDM is a place for submitting and viewing BMDs (births, marriages and deaths) for free. Sharing information this way is a great way of adding to your Scottish family history research.
- Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms
Discover your Catholic Scottish ancestors. This collection holds baptism registers from all eight Scottish dioceses and encompasses over 300 years of records.
- Roman Catholic Parish Marriages
Did your Catholic ancestor get married in Scotland? Explore thousands of Roman Catholic sacramental registers, and discover your ancestor’s wedding location and date, as well as the names of those who witnessed the occasion.
- Roman Catholic Parish Burials
Discover your Catholic Scottish ancestry with these Roman Catholic burial registers. The records will contain the location of your ancestor’s final resting place, the date of your ancestor’s burial, and, in many cases, your ancestor’s cause of death.
- Free REG
Provides free parish registers for the UK and provides information on births, marriages, and deaths.
- Find A Grave in Scotland
Find A Grave in Scotland will help you find the final resting place of a loved one or an ancestor to add to your family tree. Search by Name, Region, Date of Death etc. View Lair details, view and download headstone photographs, view arial photograph of cemetery, research famous Scots and their final resting places and get in touch with other users, perhaps even long lost relatives with common interests.
- Memento Mori (Scottish Monumental Inscriptions)
Has PDF files for many Scottish burial grounds. Now Archived, but most records still available.
- FreeCEN Scotland
This project’s aim is to provide a “free-to-view” online searchable database of the 19th century Scottish census returns.
Criminals and Convicts
- Criminal Ancestor Records
- Scottish Borders Prison Database
Search the Scottish Borders Prison Database for free and find your criminal ancestors with ease. Search by name, surname, birth year, prison or place.
- Scottish Court and Criminal Database
Were your Scottish ancestors in trouble with the law or a victim of a crime? Search from them in this Court and Criminal Database, find out details of the crime and where the trial was held.
- RootsChat Scotland
RootsChat.com is an easy to use messaging forum for everyone researching their family history roots or local history. The focus is on Ireland and the British Isles. Local Historians and Family Historians have a great deal of knowledge to share. This service is entirely free, with the hope that you, the historian and genealogy community as a whole will benefit from it. Find your roots!
- Scottish Post Office Directories
Scottish Post Office directories provide a perfect basis for researching Scotland’s family, trade, and town history. Over 700 digitised directories covering most of Scotland and dating from 1773 to 1911 are available here for you to use.
- Gazetteer for Scotland
The Gazetteer for Scotland is a vast geographical encyclopaedia, featuring details of towns, villages, bens and glens from the Scottish Borders to the Northern Isles. The first comprehensive gazetteer produced for Scotland since 1885, it includes tourist attractions, industries and historical sites, together with histories of family names and clans, biographies of famous Scots and descriptions of historical events associated with Scotland.
- GENUKI Scotland
GENUKI Scotland is an online directory and library of genealogy and family history resources and information for Scotland.
- Happy Haggis
Happy Haggis claims to be “probably the best Scottish family tree site in the world”. I’m not sure if that’s true but you can certainly find loads of information about Scottish family history plus over 2000 Scottish links listed by county.
- People of Medieval Scotland
People of Medieval Scotland is a database of all known people of Scotland between 1093 and 1314 mentioned in over 8600 contemporary documents.
There is a database which you can search or browse for individual names or document type.
- Scotlands Places
ScotlandsPlaces is a free resource that lets you explore thousands of records about Scotland simply by searching for a place name, clicking on a map or typing in your postcode. Search results bring together three national collections so that you can easily find maps, photographs and written records about your chosen place.
- Historic Maps of Scotland
Browse and view historic and ancient maps of Scotland with this excellent free resource. There are town maps, military maps, marine charts and more.
- British Military Records
- Great War Forum
The Great War Forum is a very active place to discuss and find help about your military ancestors and their war experiences.
- Naval & Military Archive
By using the ten important databases on this website it is now possible to find information on most of those from Britain who died in military service in both World Wars. Additionally, over 400,000 particulars including much biographical information of those who served is now available to view in the form of the National Roll of the Great War, De Ruvigny’s Roll Of Honour, Men of The Battle of Waterloo 1815, Boer War Casualties 1899-1902, Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations, Ireland’s Memorial Records, Naval Casualties 1914-1919 and British Prisoners of War (German Camps). In total over 1.25 million records can now be viewed on a pay per view or a subscription basis on this unique site.
- Scottish First World War Doctors
During the First World War the Scottish Medical Service Emergency Committee sent out forms to all medical practitioners across Scotland between December 1915 and 1919. The website contains information transcribed from these forms.
- Scottish Gypsies (Archived)
The Gypsies of Scotland are part of a close-knit communal people who have a shared background, but are scattered throughout the world. Their origins have been the subject of controversy throughout the centuries, but in modern times, we have discovered, from research into their language, that the gypsies originated in Northern India, from whence they spread throughout Europe and the Middle East. No one knows when the first gypsies left India or, indeed, why.
- Scotsman Digital Archive
The Scotsman Digital Archive is a subscription based website where it’s possible to search and view every Scotsman newspaper between 1817 and 1950.
- Legacy UK Obituaries
The place to find and share news of a death in the UK.
- Scottish Mining History
This is the place to find your Scottish mining ancestors. The site has over 22,000 names of those involved in mining in Scotland, including almost 15,000 fatalities.
Photos and Postcards
- Britain From Above
View historic aerial photos of Britain from 1919 – 1953. There are over 16,000 images to view which are searchable by place name or map.
Societies and Groups
- Scottish Genealogy Society
The Scottish Genealogy Society, based in Edinburgh and founded in 1953, helps with research into Scottish family and local history.
Run by volunteers, they can advise you at all stages in your research. Members and visitors will always get a friendly welcome at the Library & Family History Centre.
- British Surnames
Research the origins and distribution of your surname.
- Guild of One-Name Studies
The biggest organisation for surname research. There are thousands of surname studies available and the guild aims to bring together researchers who are interested in researching the same names.
- Surnames of Scotland
The surnames of Scotland, their origin, meaning and history.
- Scottish Surnames
The origin and signification of Scottish surnames; an online book originally printed in 1862.
- Scottish First World War Rolls of Honour
Scottish First World War rolls of honour containing listings of casualties and those who died while on active service. Includes rolls for organisations, such as schools, universities, clans, businesses and churches, as well as for places all over Scotland. Also some orders of service for unveiling of war memorials.
- Scottish National War Memorial
The Scottish National War Memorial website gives free access to the Scottish Roll of Honour which lists World War One Casualties, World War Two Casualties and Post 1945 Casualties. You can search by surname, service number and date of death.
Wills and Probate
- Scotland Will and Testament Index 1481-1807
Did your ancestors die in Scotland? Explore this index of records from the commissariat courts of Scotland from 1481 to 1807. The index will reveal the date of their last will and testament.