____________________________________________________________ The Scottish Associations of South Australia Inc.

Scottish Family History and Genealogy

Each year there are an increasing number of families who wish to learn more about their ancestors.  Fortunately in recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of old publications and records scanned on digital storage.  This information can easily be obtained through the Internet.

Major libraries and genealogy societies are also important sources of information.

In Scotland the main records which provide information concerning family history include:-

Statutory Births Deaths and Marriages

Since 1855, all births, deaths and marriages in Scotland have needed to be officially registered. 

This system of Statutory Registration provides the basis for Scottish genealogical research after 1855.  These records are the building blocks of genealogical research.


A census is an official survey to provide information about the population of the country.  The first census in Scotland was in 1801, and they have been conducted every 10 years since.  For the genealogist the first four censuses are not terribly useful, as in only a very few cases were individuals named.  Since 1841, however, the census has attempted to list every person in Scotland, along with such information as age, birthplace and occupation.  Census records are kept private for 100 years: the returns presently available to examine are 1841-1911.

Old Parochial registers

these were registers kept by local parishes of the Church of Scotland.  The oldest registers date back to the 16th century, but records for some parishes begin in the 17th century.  Baptisms, Burials and Marriages were recorded in these church books which may or may not have survived today.  The information given in the registers varies greatly over time and from parish to parish, but is generally much less than the later Statutory Registers. 

Records from other religious groups may have survived.  These groups also kept similar registers, which again vary with time, location and according to the group concerned. 

Australian records contain information on the arrival of ships carrying migrants and the passenger lists, births, marriages and deaths.

Genealogical Resource Suggestions

The following list of Genealogical resource suggestions was prepared by the late South Australian MacLeod Society President, Fraser McAskill, a keen genealogist, with additions by Alex McLeod.


Biographical and Genealogical Dictionaries

Business Records


Census Records

Change of Name

Civil Registrations


Deserters and Jumped Ship

Directories and Almanacs

(eg.Sands & MacDougal Directories)


Electoral Roles

Family Bibles

Friendly and Welfare Societies

Genealogical Charts

Government Charts

Government Inquests

Insolvency, Bankruptcy

Land Titles Records

Local Government Records

Local History Publications

Local History Societies

Manuscripts, Letters & Diaries

Maps, Gazetteers and Place Names



Occupational Records, Trades, Guilds

Parish Registers

Passenger Lists, Departures and Arrivals

Published Family Histories and Biographies

Research Directories and Indexes

Schools, University Records, Resources


Society Groups, Ethnic, Religious, Cultural

Undertakers, Monument Masons’ records

University Libraries

Wills, Probate, Letters of Administration

Use only the ones applicable to the research at hand.

Some places will charge a fee for copies

It is advisable to contact places first to check opening hours.

Where to Look?

South Australian Resource Directory within Family History South Australia

South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc.

Principal Registry Office  (Births, Deaths & Marriages)

Mortlock Library of South Australia  (within State Library of South Australia)

State Records of South Australia  (State and Local Government)

National Archives of Australia

Genealogy and History News

Family Search

Family History Service at the State Library of South Australia

Scotland's People

GENUKI UK and Ireland Genealogy


Probate Registry Offices

Interstate Libraries & Universities  

(for genealogical resources and directories for South Australia).

Your ancestors lived and created their children in past generations so you could be created as their living descendant today.