Frequently Asked Questions

Why hire someone

Researching your Scottish Roots has never been simpler with so many resources now online and accessible wherever you are in the world from the comfort of your own home. However it is still a time consuming and potentially costly hobby and you can go down many blind alleys before you find your ancestors and their story.

Many of us don’t have that time. You may want the research done as a gift for someone else or for a special event so time is limited. You may be unfamiliar with the Scottish records and don’t know where to start. You may be on the other side of the world and need help with the Scottish names and places. Or, you may simply be stuck with your own research and need a fresh pair of eyes to look over it, make suggestions or find answers.

Hiring someone to carry out your research or assisting you with it can be the answer to all of these problems. A researcher born, brought up and based in Scotland who knows the country well can give valuable help in your search cutting through a potential minefield of records without the cost being prohibitive.

What records are there

Statutory Records.

Registration became compulsory in Scotland in 1855 with the introduction of Statutory Registration. Birth, death and marriage certificates are available making it possible to follow your family back from the present day to 1855. The early certificates often give information which takes the search back beyond then. These certificates give a great insight into peoples’ lives beyond just the dates of events.

Old Parish Records. 

Before 1855 registration wasn’t compulsory and the registers were kept by the Church of Scotland. This meant that many births, marriages and deaths were not registered and even where there are entries these don’t contain the same detail as in the Statutory Records. However they are still a rich seam of information for many families. 

Census Records.

A Census has been carried out in Scotland every ten years since 1841. Census details are only released after 100 years so at present the Census’s that are available for Family History research are 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911. These are an invaluable aid in Family History research as from the Census you can not only find the family member you might be interested in but all the others, family members or not, who also stayed at the same address. In the Census you can also find information such as place of birth, occupation and ages which can help you find out much more about your family.

Wills, Testaments and Monumental Inscriptions.

Although it was not common for many people in the 1800’s or early 1900’s to leave a will or have a gravestone there are still many records available for those who did. Finding a will or a gravestone for a member of your family can often be a great help in finding other family members who may be mentioned. 

Local History Archives.

Many local authorities within Scotland have Local History sections in their libraries and these often hold a wealth of documents, books and other information which is invaluable in the search for family history. They generally hold copies of local Post Office Directories, Valuation Rolls and Voters Rolls in addition to many more general resources such as Local History books and photographs which can help to give a clearer picture of where your family lived and worked. Universities also have archives which often contain records of businesses and organisations your family member might have worked for or been a member of. These are often not indexed enough to allow you to find an individual name and can’t be accessed online so research can only be done in person. 

Time taken for research

Research within the Statutory Register period from 1855 to the present day and in the Census years can proceed quite quickly and a lot can often be found within a few hours. In the period before that searches in the Old Parish Registers can take longer. This also applies when searching in Local Archives. Generally research is slower with older and unindexed records. 

What will I get?

A full report will be prepared for all research projects undertaken. This will include full details of all records examined, complete transcripts of all certificates and census records relating to the project together with a full report on your family. Also included will be details of any unsuccessful searches undertaken as it is often as useful to know where your ancestors weren’t as well as where they were. This report can be sent to you by email or post as you require.