Client Testimonials

Wow, that is impressive, Keith! If you have this much information on every family branch I will be delighted
(M C, England)


Thank you so much for all of this information, I never realised that I had so many living relations in Scotland. I have managed to make contact with one of them and am hoping to meet up with them later this year.  My sister is intrigued that she could be married to someone for over forty years and be close to all of his family and not know any of this
(M A, Vancouver)

A really big thank you for all your efforts in tracing my Scottish Ancestry. The professional, but personal way you conducted this research, was excellent and I now consider you to be a very good friend.(S S, Canberra)

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Family History Research Primary Sources

I am fortunate that all the most essential sources for Scottish family history research are held in Edinburgh, where I am based. These are the most frequently used sources:

Statutory Registers

From 1855 onwards in Scotland, it has been compulsory to register all Births, Marriages and Deaths. These very detailed records are known as the Statutory Registers. Generally this is my starting point in genealogical research.

Old Parochial Registers

My principal source of information for ancestors in Scotland who lived, married and died before 1855 is the Old Parochial Registers - usually known as the OPRs.

Whilst the information given in the Statutory Registers is uniform, the quality and quantity of that provided by the OPRs varies enormously from parish to parish.

Some registers may date from the 1500s, others do not begin until the 1800s, while many have substantial gaps, were badly kept, or have suffered the ravages of time!

In addition, since registration in the OPRs was not compulsory, many people chose not to make use of them at all; members of Episcopalian and Roman Catholic congregations were particularly reluctant, as the OPRs were the records of the Established Church of Scotland.


The first detailed Census of the whole of Scotland was taken in 1841; it gives the full name of each person, their occupation, ages to within five years and whether or not they were born in the county.
Subsequent censuses, taken at ten year intervals are designed to give the relationship of each person to the head of the household, the exact age and the parish of birth.

Comprehensive name indexes are available for all Scotland for the 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 Censuses.

1911 Census now available!

This census includes for the first time the number of children in each marriage, together with the number of children still alive as at 02 April 1911. An excellent reference point to ensure that all children of that generation are identified and their history traced.

Scottish naming custom

I often rely on Scottish naming custom to guide me. According to tradition in Scotland, the eldest son and second daughter were named after their paternal grandparents, the second son and eldest daughter after their maternal grandparents.

Although this custom was widely followed, there were, of course, always individual and local exceptions, but naming patterns remain a useful guide for searches in earlier times.

Wills (testaments)

Most of our ancestors struggled to earn a living for themselves and their families, and few were lucky enough to own much property in the form of valuable possessions, money or land. For those lucky few, a National index is now maintained.

Visit Edinburgh

Thinking of visiting Edinburgh ?

McKenzie Clan

Clan Mackenzie Official Site

Continental Air

Direct flights to Edinburgh
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