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Scottish Genealogy Research & Advice
We at Electric Scotland don't carry out any tracing of ancestry, family histories, etc. We can point you in the right direction however. In here we tell you about Electric Scotland's own resources and also point you to great resources on the web.

  • Family Tree
    This is the Family Tree newspaper which was produced by the Odom Library in Moultrie, Georgia. The newspaper is no longer produced but back issues are available to read here and contain loads of genealogy information.
  • MyHeritage
    MyHeritage is the leading global discovery platform for exploring family history.

Scottish Genealogy Research - Expert Q&A


  • Electric Scotland's Site Search Engine
    We have implemented a customized search engine which is incorporated within our site header which defaults to searching our site. This is a great facility to search for names and so just look at the top of any page on the site and you'll find it there or go to our dedicated search page.
  • Getting started with your Family Tree
    A quick guide from the Family Tree on how to get started building your own Family Tree with some sample forms to help you get started.
  • Beth Gay's Genealogy video talks
    Editor of Beth's Newfangled Family Tree is doing a series of talks on genealogy subjects giving helpful advice.
  • Ancestral Research
    A series of articles about searching for your roots which will be added to over time.
  • DNA Weekly
    Are you looking to see what percentage Jamaican you are? Do you want to find new branches of your family tree? We’ve done all the hard work for you and compared the best DNA test kits online.
  • Genealogy and DNA
    An article by Alan McKenzie
  • Concerning some Scotch Surnames
    This is a pdf of a book by Cosmo Innes where he explores the origin of Scotch surnames.
  • Personal and Family Names
    A Popular Monograph on the Origin and History of the Nomenclature of the Present and Former Times by Harry Alfred Long, Glasgow School Board (1883) (pdf)
  • Family Names
    From The Irish, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman and Scotch considered in Relation to their Etymology by Thomas G. Gentry (1892) (pdf)
  • List of civil parishes in Scotland
    This is a list of the 871 civil parishes in Scotland
  • MyHeritage
    Learn more about our Scottish records at this Facebook Live with Chris Paton! on YouTube
Electric Scotland's Mini Bios Section
On Electric Scotland we created a Mini Bios section where we take wee stories about people of Scots descent. Arranged alphabetically, you can see all our entries at: 

The idea behind this section is so that folk can tell us about their relatives. I've never found that dates of people's marriages, deaths and births is all that interesting. However, when I learn a bit about someone's family background like what they did and where they lived then I find that much more interesting. So.. if you have a family story about your relatives that you'd like to share simply email it into me and I can put that up on the site. In many ways this will become an historical resource for future generations to read and learn from. You can also attach pictures which I'll include on the page.

So if you have interesting information on your ancestors and would be willing to share then email it into us and I can get in up on the site. I might note here that if everyone on our mailing list sent us in one article each year we'd currently have around 6,500 new articles for you to read each year.. that's 550 a month!!!

You might also check out the Henderson Family as there is a very good account of the problems found in doing genealogy research and ways around some of them.

Electric Scotland Resources
We carry an historical account of most of the major Scottish Clans and Scots-Irish Clans so do check out these pages. Also check the online book History of the Gael which gives excellent background reading as well as some details on individual Scots and Irish families.

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Beth was the editor of the Odom Library Family Tree newspaper for some 15 years and now that publication is no longer she has started up her own version in .pdf format so it can be both read online or printed out.

In addition you should check out our Scots Descendants which are significant lists of individuals.  Also check out other pages such as American History and Canadian History and Scots Around the World. In addition there are many references to Clan Chiefs in our General History of the Highlands. Which of course is why we suggest making extensive use of our site search engine :-) We have also just started a page for Web Links to other sites that we consider offer valuable information on Scots and Scots-Irish connections and genealogy research.

Searching for Your Canadian/Scottish Ancestors by Larry Luickbie is an excellent resource with many tips and links to other resources.

Scottish Parochial Registers (pdf)
This is a book about the state of the state of the Scottish Parochial Registers and gives valuable information as to what you can find and when by referring to them.

Genealogical Collections
Concerning Families in Scotland made by Walter MacFarlane 1750-1751

Discovering Your Scottish Roots
Tony Reid, an experienced Scottish genealogist, has provided us with an interesting introduction to Discovering your Scottish Roots which also contains an example search demonstrating the information you can get for a 185.00 search fee.

For many "exiled Scots" the only link with their home country is their name, so its understandable that they attract great importance to it. Electric Scotland enthusiasts might therefore be interested to discover the origins and meanings of such names.

Scottish Families is a database of some 14,000 Scottish names all related either by blood, marriage, or direct or indirect descent. This is the work of professional genealogist Gregory Lauder-Frost. Should your name show up in this work then it could save you a tremendous amount of searching.


Prime Scottish Resources

  • Black's Surnames of Scotland
  • ScotlandGenWeb
    This site is part of the WorldGenWeb Project and is the local resource index page for Scottish Research.
  • GenUKI Scotland
    The genealogy pages for Scotland and they have a separate Surnames list listed by region.
  • The Scottish Genealogy Society
    The aims of the Society are to promote research into Scottish family history and to undertake the collection, exchange and publication of material relating to genealogy.
  • The Scottish Association of Family History Societies
    The Scottish Association of Family History Societies was founded on 4th October 1986 to enable individual societies to communicate with one another. Its membership has grown and now includes all established family history societies in Scotland, as well as several national and regional bodies throughout the world.
  • GenUKI
    The main site for listings of British and Irish genealogy.
  • General Registry Office of Scotland
    Should you be coming to Scotland this site will help you find out how to use
    New Register House to do a search for your family from their comprehensive records.
  • Statistical Accounts of Scotland
    The two Statistical Accounts of Scotland, covering the 1790s and the 1830s, are among the best contemporary reports of life during the agricultural and industrial revolutions in Europe. Learn more about the area in which you or your ancestors have lived, or use this key source to study the emergence of the modern British State and the economic and social impact of the world's first industrial nation.
  • StreetMap
    This site provides detailed road and street maps of the UK and is also a good place to find place names.
  • Maps 1846 and 1899
    This is a free resource of old maps for the periods between 1846 and 1899.
  • Hebridean Connections
    Excellent resources for tracing your roots to the Western Isles.
  • The Court of the Lord Lyon
    Where you need to submit proof if you are claiming chiefship of a clan.
  • Scottish Words
    a glossary of archaic Scottish terms, as well as a number of Modern Scots words and phrases, useful for genealogical research. Legal terms, words linked to property and possessions, found in wills and testaments.
  • Scottish Archive Network
    Internet access to the written history of Scotland
  • Borders Family History Society
    The objects of the Society are to promote genealogical studies and family history in the Border counties (Roxburghshire, Berwickshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire) of Scotland.
  • Heraldry
    Resources for finding out about coats of arms, etc.
Other Web Sites
Throughout our Clan pages we list other web sites that provide decent amounts of information on each Clan. While our own pages do give worthwhile information there will be others that do give more on a particular clan and is why we've included links to these sites. These pages are constantly updated so do check back from time to time.

Books that can help
You can also search for books at the University of Glasgow.

There are several books generally available through libraries which are good reference material and we list these below in the hope it will help you find more information on your roots:-

"Heraldry in Scotland" by J H Stevenson (James Maclehose & Sons, Glasgow, 1914)

"Scots Heraldry" by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney (Oliver & Boyd, 1956 & Johnston & Bacon, 1978) You can purchase it here

"Simple Heraldry" by Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk and Don Pottinger (Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., 1953). You can purchase it here

"Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands" by Frank Adam, ed. Sir Thomas Innes of Learney (8th edition) You can purchase it here

"The Highland Clans" by Sir Iain Concreiffe of that Ilk (Barrie & Rockliff, 1967) You can purchase it here

"Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia" by George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire (Harper Collins, 1994) You can purchase it here (Reckoned to be the major work on Scottish clans)

"Heraldic Standards and other Ensigns" by Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg (Oliver & Boyd, 1959)

"Scottish Family History" by Margaret Stuart and Sir James Balfour Paul (Oliver & Boyd, 1930).

"Scottish Family Histories" held in Scottish Libraries, by Joan P S Ferguson (Scottish Central Library, Edinburgh 1960, and revised edition compiled by Joan P S Ferguson assisted by Dennis Smith and Peter Wellburn, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1986)

"The Surnames of Scotland" by George F Black (New York Public Library, 1946)

Check here for Scottish Research Books that you can purchase and Sources for Research in Scottish Genealogy provided by the Library of Congress.

Other Sources of Information
You should also check out local libraries as they either have their own genealogy section or can point you to a local organization.

Do also check out our Armorial Bearings page for information on Clan Crests and Badges.

We do know that it takes a lot of time to check out your roots and the more information you have such as date of birth or death the better chance you'll have of tracing your ancestor. I'm told that Scottish birth certificates can contain more information than is usual in that they can give information on grandparents as well as parents so well worth checking into.

Reliability of Published Sources
This is an article that alerts you to the reliability of published resources.

Other Web links
Orkney Genealogy Web Site, Try out the site for Irish Name information.

We hope some of this helps and wish you every success in finding your roots.

Professional Genealogists
We recommend one company that we believe offer excellent value for money:-

Return to our Clan Menu


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