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Tracing your Scottish Family Tree

Do you believe you have Scottish ancestry or Scottish roots. Do you believe that your ancestors came from Scotland? This page should help you trace or at least start to trace your family tree.

One of the best places to start is the Scottish record Office. The Scottish record Office is the government department which is responsible for the custody and preservation of the records of the government in Scotland. In addition it has taken responsibility for the custody and safe keeping of many non-government concerns, for example Church records, the records of some private families and businesses. Most of these records can be consulted by members of the public either free or for a small charge.

The Scottish Records Office occupies two buildings in the centre of Edinburgh close to both railway and bus stations. The main building is the General Register House which is situated at the east end of Princes Street, which is the main thoroughfare and main shopping area in Edinburgh.

If you are able to travel to Edinburgh, within this building you will find it two major rooms of interest. The first, is the legal search room, the second being the historical search room. You will find that searching for your ancestors or Scottish roots is regarded as historical research and you should find that this will not incur a fee. However, if you wish to see any of the records for a legal purpose then unsurprisingly you should use the legal search room and you would be charged a fee. Whilst the staff are as helpful as they can be, it is not their job to research your Scottish roots. Please do not expect them to spend all day looking for your Scottish records. The Scottish records office also has an online presence and you will find the their site at the following address

If you're unable to travel to Edinburgh or access the Internet for an extended period, the Scottish records Office also provides a postal inquiry service. Whilst postal inquiries are certainly welcome, the staff of the Scottish records office, again cannot do extended research on your behalf. This is not their role. However, they will provide advice and will answer very limited or specific inquiries. As an example of this, they may be able to provide information on, or the actual will of a named person whose area or locality and approximate or exact date of death are provided. In addition, as previously stated there are many professional researchers who are willing to undertake research on your behalf if you cannot afford the time however they will make a charge for this so please choose carefully.

Page 1 -General Background
Page 2 -The first steps
Page 3 - From 1855
Page 4 - Common Initial Problems
Page 5 - Overcoming the 1855 barrier