If you believe your ancestors came to America from Scotland, the first step would be to confirm that with records in the place where they settled. If the specific place of origin in Scotland is unknown, then further research on the ancestors in the U. S. may need to be conducted to look for clues. A death certificate or marriage record may state the town of birth in the old country. A church record of death or burial might also reveal this crucial information.
Fortunately, the Scots were conscientious about recording and maintaining genealogical records. If your Scottish ancestors emigrated between 1855 and 1901, they may be found in the Scotland civil registration records. The civil registrations include birth, marriage and death records. These records usually provide the names of both parents, including the mother’s maiden name. Census records of Scotland are also available in this same time frame.
Many Scots immigrated to the U. S. before 1855, even arriving in the early colonial era. They clustered mainly in Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas. Tracing these ancestors back into their Scottish homes in the earlier time period is more difficult, and does require the skills of a professional genealogist. Heritage Consulting has excellent professional researchers with decades of experience in Scotland’s records. They also have access to subscription websites that contain digitized images of key records. They understand how the records are kept in various geographical areas, where records have been lost and where they have survived, and the customary Scottish naming patterns.
The Family History Library has all of the surviving records of the Church of Scotland on microfilm, and they are indexed. These church records include births or baptisms and marriages. There are also some Catholic and Episcopal church records available, as well as Nonconformist records. Probate records, including wills and inventories, are available from 1513 to 1901, and are indexed. Our Scotland research specialists are familiar with these records, and how to utilize them to solve difficult genealogical research problems.