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Clan MacLea.co.uk

The Official Home of the Clan McLea - the Highland Livingstones

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Ancestry Research

One of the main purposes of a Clan Society has to be assistance in researching family history.  This area is being developed.  In our Links page you will find many references.

Without doubt an excellent starting point is our own forum.

The National Archives of Scotland despatch this very informative email in response to any enquiries.

National Archives of Scotland
HM General Register House
Princes Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3YY


Scottish Genealogy: First Steps

To trace information about your ancestors using our sources you will need to know in advance where they lived in Scotland (ie, the town or parish), and their dates of birth, marriage and death. It would also be very helpful if you knew their religious denomination.
Because of these considerations, the best place to begin Scottish genealogical research is normally not with us but at the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS). That organisation holds the Church of Scotland's Old Parish Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1553-1854, together with the Statutory Registers of births, marriages and deaths from 1855 to the present, and census returns from 1841. Hopefully, these will provide the essential skeleton of a Scottish family tree, which you may then be able to flesh out with information from the records held by us. GROS has a website at http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/ and a further pay-per-view site at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ through which you can consult many of their indexes, see digitised images of many of the records and order copies. 
You may also wish to consult the International Genealogical Index (IGI), which has been compiled by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). A copy may be available at your local library and further copies are also held at the family history centres run by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The website maintained by the GSU http://www.familysearch.org/ allows access to the resources for family history built up by them. Similarly, you may care to visit http://www.genuki.org.uk/, a site that acts as a virtual resource for family history in Great Britain and Ireland. 
The site http://www.familyrecords.gov.uk acts as a portal to link many of the British government archives and other organisations that hold information of interest for English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish family history. 
Our own site has several sections that will be of use to genealogical researchers http://www.nas.gov.uk/family_history.htm.


Births, Deaths and Marriages 
We do not hold either the Old Parish Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1553-1854 or the Statutory Registers of births, marriages and deaths from 1855 to date. These records, as well as those of the Census in Scotland, are held at the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) in Edinburgh. They have a website at http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/ and a further pay-per-view site at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ through which you can consult many of their indexes, see digitised images of many of the records and order copies. 


Wills and testaments
We do hold Scottish wills and testaments from 1514 to 1991 and details of these records can be found on our website at http://www.nas.gov.uk/miniframe/fact_sheet/wills.pdf. Those for the years 1514 to 1875 inclusive are now being digitally imaged by the Scottish Archive Network. This is a Heritage Lottery funded project in which NAS and the Genealogical Society of Utah are partners. Copies of these images are available for purchase at http://www.scottishdocuments.com/content/default.asp. You can register at this site to receive updates about progress. The site currently contains a full index to these testaments. NAS no longer provides copies of testaments for the years 1514-1875 and enquirers are requested to wait for the release of the images on the above site. 
We still provide copies of testaments after 1875 but before we can search for particular entries we need clear details of the name, date and place of death of the deceased. While we are happy to search for one or two entries in this way, however, we will not search for lists of names and you will have to do this yourself either personally, through a friend or by hiring a researcher http://www.nas.gov.uk/miniframe/family_history_FAQ/faq10.htm 
Testaments after 1992 are held by the Edinburgh Commissary Office, 27 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1LB.


Emigrants
The NAS holds very few original records listing emigrants http://www.nas.gov.uk/miniframe/fact_sheet/emigration.pdf. Over the years, researchers have tried to fill this gap by using a variety of sources to compile and publish lists of Scots known to have emigrated. Inevitably, however, these lists catch only a tiny percentage of the people who left these shores. Unfortunately, even for Britain as a whole, very few lists of emigrants survive before 1890. Those which do (together with complete lists after 1890) are held at the Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, England. Their website at http://www.pro.gov.uk will give details. Often more information survives at the point of arrival than at the point of departure, so it might be worth your while contacting the appropriate national (or local) archive for further advice. You will find details in The World of Learning 2001 (Europa Publications, London, 2000) ISBN 1 85743 084 0. This book should be available in your local reference library.


Scottish Surnames
The best-known work on Scottish family names is George F Black, The Surnames of Scotland (New York, 1946 and still in print). You can use this book to find if your surname has Scottish connections.


Clans and tartans
The National Archives of Scotland cannot provide information about the association of surnames with particular clans. You will find useful website links at http://www.scan.org.uk/directory/usefullinks.htm.


Places
If you are looking for information about a particular place in Scotland, there are several publications which provide a lot of useful details, such as major landowners, estates, trades, and geographical information. Below is a list of some of these:
Ordnance Survey Gazetteer, 6 vols., by Francis H. Groome (Edinburgh, 1883).
Statistical Account of Scotland, 3 Series, numerous volumes compiled by the ministers of the Church of Scotland, various editors (Edinburgh, 1791-1799, 1845 and 1987). Also available on the internet at http://edina.ac.uk/statacc/ .
A Directory of Landownership in Scotland c 1770, edited by Loretta R. Timperley Scottish Record Society, (Edinburgh, 1976). 
Index of Scottish Place Names, by General Register Office, Scotland (HMSO, Edinburgh, 1981).
These publications, along with others, should be available through any good library.
You may also wish to consult the gazeteer compiled by the Scottish Archive Network: http://www.scan.org.uk/knowledgebase/search/gazetteer_indexnew.asp
Last updated 22 May, 2008