-::- SCOTTISH GENEALOGIST CREATING EXCEPTIONAL SCOTTISH FAMILY TREE REPORTS FOR DISCERNING SCOTS WORLDWIDE -::-
Q: What information do I need to send you so you can start researching my family tree?
A: We need the name of someone who was born/married or died in Scotland, along with the year or date and place, if known. Any additional information you have would be useful – parents, spouse, siblings, children, whether factual or anecdotal.
Q: I don’t have an exact date or place – can you still help?
A: Yes – just give us all the information that you have and we will check to see if it is sufficient to start work on your Scottish ancestry.
Q: What happens if you can’t find my Scottish ancestors with the information I have given you?
A: We would carry out a brief check to ensure that we could locate your ancestors, and if there was a problem, we would advise you at no charge.
Q: My relative was born outside Scotland, but I know he was of Scottish descent. Can you trace his ancestors?
A: Yes, we have friendly relationships with other professional genealogists in other countries who can undertake research for you and provide Our Scots with the necessary information to continue tracing your genealogy in Scotland.
Q: What areas do you cover?
A: Most of our Scottish research is carried out at New Register House in Edinburgh, where the Birth/Marriage/Death & Census records for the whole of Scotland are held.
Q: What form of payments do you accept?
A: We accept cheques in sterling, bank transfers (internet, BACS etc) or credit cards via Paypal. You can also pay us using your Paypal account if you have one.
Q: How long will it take you to research my Scottish ancestry?
A: It depends on how much research is required, although we can generally start work on tracing your Scots ancestry within a couple of weeks of taking your booking. After each research session, we report back to you with our findings and discuss the scope for further research. The average research request takes 6 weeks from booking to printing off the final report.
Q: What happens if you reach a dead end when tracing my Scots ancestors?
A: We would stop and consult you, especially if the work would be very time-consuming, unless we already have specific instructions. If there was no scope for continuing, we would explain why and charge you only for the actual time taken.
Q: Why do you provide copies of all relevant documents - birth/death/marriage/census documents?
A: The source documents form the basis of your Scottish genealogy report – they are the “proof” of your lineage. Also, it is fascinating to see your relatives’ names or signatures on old documents. Wherever possible, I obtain photocopies for scanning and inclusion in your Our Scots report.
Q: I have old family photos – can you include them in my family tree report/book?
A: We can include scans of ANY documents that you have – old letters, certificates, passenger lists and photos. These documents would also form part of the Interactive Tree on the CD that accompanies your report.
Q: Can I telephone you to discuss my Scottish genealogy requirements?
A: Absolutely – you can leave a message and we will call you back, or you can contact us between 6 and 8 pm most evenings. Tel +44 131 654 2530. Other ways to contact us
Q: Why do I need a Professional Genealogist? Surely all the records are online.
A: Some records are online but there are many other documents which are useful to the family historian which are not - records of land transactions, Kirk Session minutes, monumental inscriptions.
Repositories such as National Archives of Scotland and National Libraries of Scotland require you visit in person, or ask someone to go on your behalf. An experienced genealogist has knowledge of the range of records available in the various repositories and is able to access and consult the original documents.
Q: I’m coming to Scotland and would like to try tracing my Scots ancestry but I don’t know where to start – can you help?
A: Yes, we can offer genealogy advice and training. After discussing your aims and the information that you already have, we would meet you at New Register House and take you step-by-step through the search processes. We would be there to advise and guide you as you carry out your own research.
Q: My ancestors were not members of the Church of Scotland – is this a problem?
A: No, while it means that they will not be included in the OPR’s, the other churches also kept records which we can consult, although the detail and availability varies. For example, the RC Church records are not indexed, so it is helpful if you have quite precise details of where and when someone may have been born.
Q: Why can’t you get a Scottish birth or death certificate prior to 1855?
A: Statutory Registration (birth, marriage and death certificates, as we know them) began in Scotland in 1855. Prior to that, records of baptisms and marriage banns or proclamations were kept by the Church of Scotland – these are known as the Old Parochial Registers/Old Parish Registers (OPR’s)
Q: Can you trace living relatives?
A: It can be done, and there are companies who specialise in tracing living relatives, however I do not feel comfortable undertaking this type of work. An easy way to contact living relatives is to upload your Gedcom file to one of the genealogy websites and find other people researching the same ancestors. Your Our Scots CD which comes with your family tree report will include a copy of your Gedcom file, as researched by us, ready for upload to a website.
Q: What are Old Parochial Registers (Old Parish Registers or OPR's) and what information will you find in them?
A: See our article on Old Parish Registers
Q: What are Scottish Census records and how can they help in genealogy research?
A: See our article on Scottish Census Records
Q: What records exist in Scotland on emigration?
A: The Scots travelled and settled all over the world, however information on emigrants and migrants is sparse in Scotland. Ships’ passenger lists are available from National Archives in London from 1890, however prior to this the information held in the destination country is usually more useful.
The Highland and Islands Emigration Society was formed in the mid 1800’s to assist emigrants from Scotland affected by the potato famine and changes in agriculture and there are some records of those who sailed to Australia between 1852 and 1857.
Some applications to emigrate to Canada are available from the period 1886 to 1889, and the Crofters and Cottars Colonization Board kept records of those who went to Manitoba after 1889.
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Member of the Scottish Genealogy Society
Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists