Are you Scots?

Scotland's National Tourism site Visit Scotland offers tons of useful and interesting information, both historical and current.  They also have an excellent site dedicated to Scottish Ancestry where you can search your clan name.

Finding Your Ancestors in Scotland before 1855

Check out this site Family Search Scottish family roots before 1855  \


Scotland Census Search  

The Scotland government has taken a census every ten years since 1801 except for 1941.

The actual census records exist from 1841 to 1911.  

The first full census surviving in its entirety is 1841 but bits and pieces of earlier documents  for 1801, 1811, 1821 and 1831 exist.  

Census records can be viewed online at Ancestry.uk, the Scotland's People and Find My Past websites ( all fee-based sites).  

Some census data is available free at FreeCEN  and more is being added as volunteers complete transcriptions.  


This database is compiled directly from the original Ship’s Passenger Manifests. It records Irish, English, Scottish, and Welsh immigrants arriving at the main US ports.   SEARCH

Where are Physical census records stored?

If you are planning on a genealogical visit to look up records yourself, it's important to know where they are stored!  

Birth, marriage, death and census records are held in the General Register Office for Scotland.

Military records and ship passenger lists are held at the National Archives in London, England.

However, many local areas have historical records and maintain their own archive service.  

If you plan on a visit,  check with local genealogical sources and find out what is stored where.


The National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS)

The National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS) was set up in 1946 to compile a record of collections of private papers in Scotland, to encourage their care, and to make information about them available to researchers and others.

Currently, there are over 4,300 lists.


Scotland genealogical information and research tips

1895 Valuation Rolls new for May 2013, includes names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property (sometimes occupations).  

The head of the household is usually the named person, although sometimes a husband and wife might both be listed - interestingly, wives are often the named tenant in rented property.

The database is online searchable and includes digital images of the rolls. (Search is free but credits must be purchased  for view and download.)


National Records of Scotland was created through the recent merger of National Archives of Scotland and the General Registrar Office for Scotland.

Family Search Historical Record Collection Index (filter 'Scottish")  

Family Search records index including birth, marriage, death, probate, land military Records Search (free). 

You can also browse the records by location. 


FamilySearch free searchable indexes: 

Scotland births and baptisms - 1564 to 1950

Scotland marriages - 1561 to 1910

Scotland  deaths and burials are not yet available at FamilySearch free online search.

The National Library of Scotland useful resources in Scotland and online which give access to records of births, deaths, and marriages.