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Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center

Scottish Guide

How to Begin

Many Americans have Scottish roots, whether they descend from 18th and 19th century settlers emigrating directly from Scotland, or from Scots-Irish emigrants from Ulster. In either case, successful research in Scottish records will depend upon determining an approximate date of birth or marriage for the Scottish-born ancestor and identifying the place of origin. This task is easier for the 19th century emigrant because of the abundance of resources in Scotland, including civil registrations of vital records from 1855. Those searching for earlier emigrants have fewer sources available and must rely on church books, legal records, and other public documents. Sometimes members of the same parish in Scotland settled together in the New World; thus, beginning researchers should also fully examine American records, such as county histories, death certificates, obituaries, church registers, and family Bibles for clues.

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Using the Department Catalogs

There are several ways of identifying books on Scotland and the Scots in the library’s online catalog found at Look under Scotland followed by the name of a record type; for example: Scotland. Directories. One can also look under a subject, or under a specific place, author, or title, if known. An extensive collection of Scottish records is found under the heading, Scottish Record Society. The online catalog allows for flexible keyword searching, and includes most all of the department's book collection. Dial-up access is available at (260) 489-7087. One should also check the Family History Library Catalog at for other references. Researchers with further questions about the collection or catalogs should ask a librarian for assistance.

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Research Guides

The Genealogy Department contains a large collection of guides for doing Scottish genealogical research. Many include helpful bibliographies for further study.

Bigwood, A. Rosemary. Tracing Scottish Ancestors. Edinburgh: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999. /Gc 941 B488t/

Bloxham, V. Ben. Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland from the Earliest Times through 1854. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1970. /Gc 941.0004 Sco8aa/ A guide to church records by parish, with dates and Family History Library film numbers.

Burness, Lawrence R. A Scottish Historian's Glossary. Aberdeen: Scottish Association of Family History Societies, 1997. /Gc 941 B933s/

Cory, Kathleen B. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996. /Gc 929 C792t, 1997/ A good, basic guide which discusses research at New Register House and other repositories. Includes illustrations of records, a lengthy appendix with addresses and a list of parishes with register dates.

Irvine, Sherry. Your Scottish Ancestry: A Guide for North Americans. 2nd ed. Orem, UT:, Inc., 2003. /GC 929.1 Ir19y/

Jonas, Linda and Paul Milner. A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage. Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 2002./Gc 929 J69g/

Kitzmiller, John M. In Search of the Forlorn Hope: A Comprehensive Guide to Locating British Regiments and Their Records (1640-WW1). 2 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Manuscript PublishingFoundation, 1988. /Gc 941 K65i/ Covers Scottish regimental records.

Moody, David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990. /Gc 929 M77sc/ A guide for weaving family with local history; includes a bibliography.

_________.Scottish Local History: An Introductory Guide. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990. /Gc 929 M77s/ Descriptions of local record sources. Bibliography included.

Robinson, Mairi. Concise Scots Dictionary. Aberdeen: Univ. Press, 1985. /Main 427.9411 C74/

Scotland: A Genealogical Research Guide. Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Library, 1987. /Gc929 Sco75/ A guide to Scottish research in the Family History Library.

Simpson, Grant. Scottish Handwriting, 1150-1650. Edinburgh: Bratton Publishing Ltd., 1973. /Main 421.7 Si5s/ A guide for interpreting Scottish handwriting styles in early records.

Sinclair, Cecil. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Scottish Record Office. Rev. ed. Edinburgh: Stationery Office, 1997. /Gc 929 Si62t/ A definitive guide,including descriptions of vital, legal, and military record holdings.

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Gazetteers & Maps

Gazetteers are useful for locating places in Scotland and determining the relevant record-keeping jurisdictions to which they belong. The following list of sources can help the researcher obtain more information about the ancestral place of origin, once it is determined.

Bigwood, A. Rosemary. Index to Parishes (with Related Sheriff Courts, Commissary Courts and Burgs). Edinburgh: The Author, 1993. /Gc 941.0004 P488i/ Lists all parishes and includesinformation about where the associated court records can be located.

Findlay, James. Directory to Gentlemen's Seats, Villages, &c. in Scotland. Edinburgh: Kennedy, 1843. /Gc 941.003 F49d/ Includes a directory of land owners.

Gardner, David E., et al. Genealogical Atlas of Scotland. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, Inc., 1962. /Gc 941.003 G76g/ Contains county maps with a key to towns and villages.

Groome, Francis. Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical. 6 vols. London: Mackenzie, 1895. /Gc 941.003 G89o/

Lewis, Samuel. Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. 2 vols. London: S. Lewis, 1846. /Gc 941.003 L58t/ Includes descriptions of towns and villages in 1846.

Ordnance Survey of Great Britain, Scotland: Indexes to the 1/2500 and 6 Inch Scale Maps. Kerry, Wales: David Archer, 1993. /Gc 941.003 G79or/

The Parishes, Registers and Registrations of Scotland. Aberdeen: Scottish Association of Family History, 1993. /Gc 941.0004 P219/

Smith, Frank. A Genealogical Gazetteer of Scotland. Logan, UT: Everton, 1971. /Gc 941.003 Sm5g/ A detailed list of towns and villages, including Church of Scotland and nonconformist chapel register dates.

There are also a number of very good Internet sites for locating town and parish names. The UK and Ireland web page is one such site:

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Passenger & Emigration Lists

Numerous directories of Scottish immigrants have been compiled for the United States and Canada. Many of these provide clues about places of origin in Scotland. In addition, passenger lists from U.S. ports, beginning in 1820, are relatively complete and available on microfilm.

Cameron, Viola Root. Emigrants from Scotland to America, 1774-1775. Baltimore: Southern Book Co., 1959. /Gc 929.122 C14e/

Dobson, David. Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775. Baltimore: Clearfield, 1990. /Gc 929.122 D65di/ More than forty volumes of reference material on Scottish immigrants have been compiled by David Dobson. For additional titles, check the online catalog under his name and limit the search to the Genealogy Department.

_________.Directory of Scots in the Carolinas, 1680-1830. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. (G.P.C.), 1986. /Gc 975.6 D65d/

_________.Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America, 1625-1825. 7 vols. Baltimore: G.P.C., 1984- /Gc 929.122 D65d/ U.S. and Canadian immigrants with arrival date and origin.

_________.Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783. Baltimore: G.P.C., 1989. /Gc 929.122 D65o/

_________.Scots on the Chesapeake, 1607-1830. Baltimore: G.P.C., 1992. /Gc 975 D64s/

Filby, P. William. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1981-present. /Gc 929.11 F47pa/

Whyte, Donald. A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation. Toronto: Ontario Genealogical Society, 1986. /Gc 971 W62d/

_________.A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to the U.S.A. 2 vols. Baltimore: Magna Carta Book Co., 1972-86. /Gc 929.122 W62d/

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Vital Records

Many Scottish vital records before 1855, including church records and tombstone inscriptions, have been indexed and published. In addition to the records listed below, church registers from Melrose, Linlithgow, Durness, Dumbarton, and Dunfermline, and marriages in Edinburgh, 1595 1800, have been published in the Scottish Record Society series (Gc 941.0004 Sc087s).

International Genealogical Index. Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. / /

Maxwell, Archibald S. Scottish Society of Friends, "Quakers": Register of Births, Proposal of Marriage, Marriages, and Deaths, 1647-1878. Aberdeen: Genealogical Research Services, n.d./Gc 941.0004 M45s/

Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscription Series. Scottish Genealogy Society, 1969-. /various call numbers/ An extensive collection of tombstone inscriptions, available at present for the following areas: Angus, Kilmarnock, Spey, Upper Donside, Upper Deeside, Kincardineshire, Sutherland, Berwickshire, Dumbartonshire, Isla Munda, Peebleshire, West Lothian, Perthshire, Fife, Stirlingshire, Kinross-shire, Clackmannanshire, and Lanarkshire. Check the catalog under the name of the shire or place.

Surname Index to Christenings/Marriages in Old Parochial Registers to 1855 (O.P.R.). Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Department. /microfiche/ An extensive index to baptisms and marriages from Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) church registers to 1855.

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Probate, Land & Legal Records

The Scots were not permitted to dispose of their real property through wills until the last half of the 19th century. Instruments for disposing moveable property were called "testaments" and include the Testament Testamentar, when one died intestate, and Testament Dative, when one died testate. Testaments were probated in a specific Commissary Court before 1823. To determine the proper jurisdiction, consult the following:

Gibson, Jeremy. Wills and Where to Find Them. London: Phillimore, 1974. /Gc 942.0004 G35w/

Indexes to many testaments before 1800 have been published in the Scottish Record Society Publications (Gc 941.0004 Sco87s). Included are testaments from the following areas: Edinburgh (1601-1700); Aberdeen (1715-1800); Glasgow (1547-1800); St. Andrew's (1549-1800); Argyll, Caithness and Peebles (1674-1800); Brechin (1576-1800); Dumfries (1624-1800); Dunblane (1539- 1800); Dunkeld (1682-1800); Lauder (1561-1800); Lanark (1595-1800); Moray, Orkney and Shetland (1684-1800); Stirling (1607-1800); and Wigtown (1481-1800).

Because real property could not be inherited through wills, heirs had to prove their right to the land. The act of proving this right, or of transferring the land to another grantee, is known as a sasine. Many sasine records before 1780 have been indexed and published in a series of volumes by the General Register House (Gc 941.0004 Sc084i). The following areas are included: Argyll, Dumbarton, Bute, Arran, and Tarbert (1617-1780); Berwick and Lauderdale (1617-1780); Banff (1600-1780); Aberdeen (1599-1660); Lanark (1618-1780); Kincardineshire (1600-1657); Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Annandale (1617- 1780); Ayr, Kyle, Carrick, and Cunningham (1599-1660); Caithness (1646-1780); Edinburgh, Haddington, Linlithgow, and Bathgate (1599-1660); Elgin and Nairn (1617-1700); Fife and Kinross (1603-1660); Inverness, Ross, Cromarty, and Sutherland (1606-1780); and Forfar (1620- 1700). A yearly index to Scottish deeds (1663-1694) is included in this series. Several other useful compilations of probate, land and legal records have been published:

Dobson, David. Scottish-American Court Records, 1733-1783. Baltimore: G.P.C., 1991. /Gc 929.122 D65s/

____________.Scottish-American Heirs, 1683-1883. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1990. /Gc 929.122 D65sco/

____________.Scottish-American Wills, 1650-1900. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991. /Gc 929.122 D65sc/

A List of Persons Concerned in the Rebellion ...7th May 1746. Edinburg: Scottish History Society, 1890. /Gc 941.0006 Sco1p, volume 8/ A list of rebels from the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, with occupation, residence, acts of rebellion, and legal disposition. An important volume, since many rebels emigrated to America.

Scotland Owners of Lands and Heritages, 1872-1873. Edinburgh: Murray & Gibb, 1874. Murray & Gibb, 1874. /Gc 941.0004 Sco8s, oversize/ Lists all owners of one or more acres of land in 1872.

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Surnames, Clans, Nobility & Heraldry

Some of the guides below discuss the history of clans and the use of heraldry. They may help the researcher narrow the geographic area of search in Scotland for an uncommon surname. Check the Genealogy Department's catalogs under the name of the family for previously compiled genealogies on individual Scottish families.

Adam, Frank. Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands. Edinburgh: Johnston, 1960. /Gc 929.122 Ad13d/ An excellent general guide to clans and tartans.

Black, George F. Surnames of Scotland. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. /Gc 929.4 B56s/ The definitive work, with extensive etymological references.

Ferguson, Joan P. S. Scottish Family Histories Held in Scottish Libraries. Edinburgh: Scottish Central Library, 1960. /Gc 016.929122 F38s/

Gayre, Robert. Roll of Scottish Arms. 2 vols. Edinburgh: The Armorial, 1964-69. /Gc 929.80941 G25r/ Lists armigerous persons of the 17th and 18th centuries with description of arms.

Paul, James Balfour. Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. Edinburgh: W. Green, 1903. /Gc 929.80941 P28o/

__________.The Scots Peerage. 9 vols. Edinburgh: Douglas, 1904-14. /Gc 929.7201 P28s/ The principal published record of nobility, arranged alphabetically.

Scott, Hew. Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae. 9 vols. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1915-54. /Gc 941.008 Sco8f/ Biographies of Church of Scotland clergy since the Reformation.

Stuart, Margaret. Scottish Family History: A Guide to Works of Reference on the History and Genealogy of Scottish Families. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1930. /Gc 016.929122 St9s/ Abibliography of hundreds of genealogical books and articles on Scottish families.

Way, George. Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1999. /Gc 929.122 Sco87wa/

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The Genealogy Department houses a collection of some Scottish and Scottish-American genealogical periodicals. Check the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) under the name of the Scottish family or locality for citations to relevant articles. Most periodical titles are now listed in the online catalog. A useful guide to serial publications is the following:

Stevenson, David and Wendy B. Scottish Texts and Calendars: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications. London: Royal Historical Society, 1987. /Gc 016.941 St4s/

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Audio Cassettes

Audio cassettes of Scottish lecture subjects at national genealogical conferences can be checked out at the Genealogy Reference Desk by any patron. Check with a librarian if you want to know about these tapes.

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