What do I need to provide?

It is necessary to pinpoint where in Scotland your ancestors lived, We would need the approximate date of an event which would have been recorded for your furthest back ancestor, ie a marriage or birth and where in Scotland this happened. Additional information such as the names of siblings or the names of the children would be useful.  This should then let us find the family.   If you only have the ship that they emigrated on and the date it is possible this might be sufficient, but is less likely to be enough.


How far back back will my tree go?


Most families can be traced back to the late 1700s with certainty. Before this the records are more variable.  The ability to trace your family depends on various factors 


  • The availability of local parish records, the dates for these vary enormously as does the quality.

  • The family name, a common name in the area makes it difficult to distinguish one person from another when the only information is the name, eg there were several Walter Scotts born in the small parish of Ettrick in a span  of three years to fathers with the same name before Statutory records making it difficult to distinguish one from the other with any certainty.

  • Family occupation.  If your ancestor was a landholder, merchant, lawyer, Minister or tradesman then there will be more records than if they were farm workers or labourers. 


Am I guaranteed to get a family tree?


With the best will in the world some families cannot be found.  From 1855 the statutory records in general provide a reliable source but depend on the people involved providing true details which for various reasons did not always happen.Pre 1855 the parish registers  vary and in some cases are non existant.  Many did not subscribe to the established Church and these registers may not be available.  Census records should provide details but some folk seem to have hidden from the census taker.  


From the Statistical Account of Scotland 1834 - 1845  Lilliesleaf Parish


"The Parochial Register were regularly kept so far back as 1648; but having been allowed to get wet, apparently from lying in a damp situation they are now parely illegible from decay.  They appear to contain nothing of public interest."


The earliest record available today from Lilliesleaf parish is from 1737, so at least 100 years of records were lost