Scottish research can be similar to tracing families in England and Wales, with General Registration records of birth, marriage and death, together with census returns creating the basis for nineteenth and early twentieth century research.
As in England and Wales, the latest census available to genealogists with Scottish ancestry is the 1911 census. Later enumerations are governed by one hundred year confidentiality rulings. Once a family has been found here, they can be tracked back using earlier decennial census returns.
Alongside census records, General Registration birth, marriage and death certificates are also available for Scottish research. Unlike England and Wales, Scottish General Registration only began in 1855, rather than 1837. However, this is somewhat made up for in the level of detail given within Scottish certificates.
In England and Wales, only the father’s name is given on a marriage certificate, whilst Scottish marriage records also include the mother’s forename and maiden surname. Likewise, with Scottish death records both parents names are given for the deceased. This is particularly useful, as English and Welsh records do not include this information on a death certificate, which can make the death of one John Jones hard to distinguish from another John Jones living in the same place.
Prior to General Registration and the first census of 1841, Old Parish Registers, or OPRs, are the next genealogical resource to consider in Scotland. These are records of the Established Church, and the particularly useful aspect of OPRs is that they have most been indexed and digitised. Thus relatively comprehensive searches can be made for the whole country of surviving Church of Scotland records, whereas in England and Wales indexing of Anglican parish registers can be patchy.
New to genealogy? Why not contact us for assistance on your Scottish ancestry.