Want to know a little bit more about the lives of your ancestors? You might find out using any of the following collections of records.
National Records of Scotland
The National Records of Scotland, created in April 2011 when the National Archives of Scotland merged with the General Register Office for Scotland. The archives hold a wide range of public and private records, including wills and testaments, estate records, valuations, court records and church records. Some of these date back to the 12th century.
Scottish Archive Network
Use the Scottish Archive Network website to search a single electronic catalogue to historical records in 52 Scottish archives. The site also contains the answers to frequently asked questions on Scottish history, together with research tools, digital images of historical documents, exhibitions, publications and a discussion forum.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) records, interprets and collects information relating to Scotland's buildings, archaeology and maritime sites and promotes its use through educational and outreach activities. RCAHMS is one of the primary contacts for members of the public carrying out further research into their ancestry in Scotland. Having compiled a family tree, the collections contain a range of material which may help you to build a fuller account of the history of your family. In 2013, it was announced that RCAHMS would be merged with Scotland's other major built heritage agency, Historic Scotland.
Parish church records
Local parish church records can unlock many secrets for ancestral researchers. Not only was it the place where children were baptised, proclamations of marriage announced and the dead buried, it was also the centre of most social activity within the Parish. And that makes the local church a must-see on your trip to Scotland.
Although no actual records are held within local churches, arrangements can usually be made to be shown around.
The Old Parish Registers (OPRs) are held in New Register House, and the Kirk Session records are in the National Archives of Scotland, both in Edinburgh. The OPRs are also available to search online on the ScotlandsPeople website. Other records may be in local archives.
Local Studies Libraries and Archives Offices
Almost every municipal authority in Scotland has a collection of local history publications, maps and archives. These range from the vast resources available for Glasgow and the west of Scotland at Family History at the Mitchell, located in the Mitchell Library, to small collections run on a part-time basis.
Although most of these libraries are prepared to undertake a limited amount of searching on your behalf, it is far more fulfilling to visit them yourself. You could lose yourself for hours, pouring over old newspapers and photographs.
You can find more information on archives and libraries on the ScotlandsPeople website.