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UNLOCKING YOUR SCOTTISH FAMILY HISTORY . - Taking you back to 1891 and beyond. An AYRLOOM 2000 Presentation. WHY IS SCOTTISH FAMILY HISTORY EASIER TO TRACE?. - because of the five maxims of Scottish Family History.

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- Taking you back to 1891 and beyond





- because of the five maxims of Scottish Family History

1. there is a vast number of people throughout the world who can claim Scottish ancestry so this has created a level of interest which ensures an investment in the preservation of records

2. the Scottish female retains her maiden surname all her life which allows a cross reference to be made to her husband’s surname for positive identification of her marriage, death or children

3. Scottish records can be accessed (world wide) far more easily and economically than any others

4. the registration system in scotland provides the ultimate key for all research with a computerised index to births, marriages and deaths after 1855, and to all recorded births/christenings and marriages/proclamations prior to 1855

5. the naming pattern is a basic principle within the Scottish family


Start off by obtaining as much detail as possible from living relatives and writing it down. Use an ANCESTRY CHART and FAMILY RECORD SHEETS to keep all the information.

The next stage is to confirm everything by checking it against a birth, marriage or death certificate and then to trace as many other certificates as possible.

you can obtain details on a certificate in several ways
You can obtain details on a certificate in several ways -
  • From the local Registrar in the place in which the event took place
  • By doing a search in the office of the local Registrar or in one of the district centres which have details of certificates for a wider area
  • By post from the Office of the Registrar General in Edinburgh or by doing a search there

From a Birth Certificateyou will find out the date and place of the parents’ marriage which will allow you to find their Marriage Certificate

From the Marriage Certificate you will find out the ages of both parties and the names of both sets of parents (including the mothers’ maiden name) which will allow you to find birth certificates and from there further marriage certificates

Similarly from a Death Certificate you will find the age of the deceased and the names of both parents

glasgow city council

Glasgow Genealogy Centre

Glasgow City Council

22 Park Circus,


Tel. 0141 287 8364

what does the centre do
What does the centre do?

The Glasgow Genealogy Centre was originally set up by the old Strathclyde Regional Council to offer facilities for its own area similar to those to be found in the General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh

what facilities does it offer
What facilities does it offer?

The centre has six computer terminals linked to the national index of Scottish births, marriages and deaths and twelve microfiche/film readers.

(The computerised index to christenings and marriages in the Scottish Old Parish Registers and the index to the 1891 Census are also available)

A complete set of microfiche copies of the certificates of birth, marriage and death from 1855 - 1992, microfilms containing the 1841 - 1891 Census and microfilms of all available Old Parish Records are held covering the pre-1996 Strathclyde Region - this includes Argyll, Ayrshire, Bute, Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire.

visiting the glasgow genealogy centre
Visiting the Glasgow Genealogy Centre

A visit to 22 Park Circus is convenient and worthwhile. On your first visit the staff will familiarise you with the layout and the use of the computer terminals. This simple introduction has been produced to make that visit even more productive.

Up to twelve researchers can be accommodated at one time with each person being allocated an individual microfiche/film reader and each computer terminal being shared between two.
before you go
Before you go -
  • Always telephone in advance and reserve a place. Normally you can expect a booking within a week depending on the season.
  • Make sure you are well prepared with all relevant charts to hand and notes of all the certificates wanted. With some experience it is possible to extract details of up to 40 certificates in one day.

Kirkbride Kirkyard, near Dunure, Ayrshire


Where do you go next?

(Facilities available in your local district)

The Censuses from 1891 back to 1841

There is a comprehensive computerised index to the 1881 Census published by the Mormon Church which is widely available. Every person who was alive and resident in the country on the night of the census should appear somewhere on this index

There is also an index to the 1891 Census on microfiche and some indexes to earlier censuses but these contain only basic information

Monumental Inscriptions

The inscriptions on the gravestones of many churchyards have now been transcribed and published. These are an invaluable source for Family Historians


The I G I – International Genealogical Index

The IGI is now available in several formats. On microfiche at a large number of libraries etc., on CD-ROMS at any LDS Family History Centre and now on the Internet at

The best way to access the IGI is using the Family Search programme with the CD-ROMS at a Family History Centre. This allows you to search for spouses and then all the children and print them off

Remember – the IGI consists of SUBMISSIONS ONLY so there is no guarantee that the event you are looking for will have be there although the record might exist

The IGI contains a large number of births and marriages from 1855 to 1876 and is very helpful when preparing for a visit to a Registrar’s office to look for certificates.


This is widely available on microfiche and also on CD-ROM at any LDS Family History Centre (ask for “Scottish Church Records”) or on the Internet at

Only births/christenings and marriages/proclamations have so far been indexed. If the record exists you should be able to find it easily through the index


To help you on your way -

By Rosemary Bigwood –

A concise guide to all you need in starting off your search for your Scottish Family History.

£6.95 from all good bookshops and libraries

Pick up a pack of forms to help you transcribe information and keep your records


Remember –

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted !