Scotland is one of the few countries whose genealogical records are almost entirely online and well indexed
Boundaries and Territory
- Scotland changed its county boundaries significantly in 1975. Click here for a great website to trace the evolution of its boundaries.
- Scottish census has been taken every ten years since 1841 (except 1941).
- The 1841 census rounded down the ages of people 15 years and older to the nearest five years. So a 78 year old would have been recorded as 75.
Church of Scotland Records 1538-1854 are called Old Parochial Registers (OPR). They are the primary source of birth and marriage information before government registration began.
Parishes rarely kept death or burial records.
Most records kept at the local parish and most parish record are in Latin.
Local parishes kept Kirk session records, which include information not found in parish registers, such as information about illegitimate births, alleged fathers and mortcloth fees. You will need to visit the parish archive itself to find out if these records exist.
Scottish first names typically follow a pattern:
- First son is named for the father’s father,
- Second son is named for the mother’s father,
- Third son is named for the father,
- Fourth son is named for the father’s brother,
- First daughter is named for the mother’s mother,
- Second daughter is named for the father’s mother,
- Third daughter is named for the mother, and
- Fourth daughter is named for the mother’s sister.