Author Topic: Searching for your Scottish Family  (Read 2169 times)

Thomas Thompson

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Searching for your Scottish Family
« on: July 14, 2013, 02:45:01 PM »
Tips for finding your Scottish Family History from Dr. Bruce Durie

1. Decide what you want to achieve.
2. Start with someone who was alive around 1911. Information is readily available, and it's close enough to be able to check within living memory.
3. Work backwards. Someone born in 1700 may have 4,000 descendants – which lines would you chase forward? Common sense – work from a known person to earlier ancestors.
4. Talk to you relatives... but don't necessarily believe everything they say! Stories get spun, expanded, changed and often suppressed. It's a starting point for finding actual evidence.
5. Start from a census. Work back from that snapshot of a family at one place and time to marriages, births, etc..
6. Never guess and TRUST NOTHING! The ONLY worthwhile evidence is actual documents. DO NOT trust second-hand stories, FAMILY TREES ON THE INTERNET, WEBSITES, or PUBLISHED GENEALOGIES!
7. Names are NOT FIXED. Surname spellings change from one generation to the next, and were not fixed until fairly recently. Don't fret over variants. In Scotland it's typical to call someone by a second or third forename, or by a diminutive - “Sandy Brown” may have been christened “John Harold Alexander Brown”.
8. Think laterally. There is birth information in marriage and death records, and don't forget wills and testaments, land transfers, court records and so on.
9. Never despair! You are at the bottom of a very tall mountain, and sometimes it's hard going. If you hit a wall shelve it and work elsewhere such as cousins.
10. Join a local Family History Society... local experts with access to resources can help break down brick walls.

Michael Thompson

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Re: Searching for your Scottish Family
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 06:34:18 PM »
Excellent advice! My Welsh ancestors were by far the easiest to research. One of them was still alive and had visited the family church in Wales. He wrote down all the brothers and sisters and their birth dates for me. My Thompsons were much more difficult. I do have a pretty well documented lineage back to 1710, but still a brick wall about where and when they came to America. I learned many of these principles the hard way. This describes a great way to proceed.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 06:37:32 PM by Michael Thompson »
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Thomas Thompson

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Re: Searching for your Scottish Family
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 02:57:07 PM »
As promised.
Dr Bruce Durie has posted his power point presentation on the caucus web site.
It has many sources listed for on line searching of Scottish records. you will find the link on the bottom left of the home page report on the caucus .
here is the web page.

www.cosca.net