Wha dae ye think ye are?

DOUGIE MacLean may be best known for his anthem Caledonia, but another song from his prolific output contains the lines "I'm talking with my father, he's talking with his son, / And I don't need to look any further for the one I have become…"

Sir Paul McCartney's long winding road to his ancestors

HE IMMORTALISED the Mull of Kintyre in song and now it can be revealed that Sir Paul McCartney has Scottish roots.

More top stories

Jane Godley: Dutch comfort in finding out about your boring ancestors

GENEALOGY is fascinating and now also a big business, thanks to the internet. I got hooked myself and decided to find out more about my own roots. The official Scotland's People site is wonderful for accessing on the web and isn't that expensive. The downside is finding out that your grandparents, great-grandparents and their parents were rather dull, poor and most of them got married just in time to give birth!

DNA test may solve the name game for outlawed MacGregors

THEY were once the most feared and persecuted clansmen in Scotland - forced to renounce their ancient ancestry or face execution.

Online link to ship migrants

FAMILY tree researchers can now go online to trace relatives who emigrated from Britain by sea last century.

Branch out: brush up on family tree

MANY Britons have "surprisingly little" knowledge of their family history, with more than half having no idea where their grandparents were born, according to a survey by an ancestry website.

Ship comes in for Scots seeking emigration histories

SCOTS can now track down long-lost relatives who left the country during more than a century of emigration, thanks to a genealogy website. which made headlines this year when it put the earliest UK phone books online, is now offering searchable records of passengers on 100 million transatlantic crossings from 1820 to 1960.

Border crossings

In researching my family history it would appear that one of my ancestors travelled a lot, presumably on business. Would he have had to have a passport and if so where might I find details of this? I Wood (by e-mail)

Start of a long search

AN ANCESTOR of mine was born in Scotland around 1780. I learned this by looking at the 1851 England census, which gave his age then as 71. I have no information as to which town or part of Scotland he came from. Is there a shortcut to searching the records? M Wright (by e-mail)

Official Records

In Scotland, the main public bodies that you need to help in a search are based in Edinburgh. You may also benefit from visiting towns and villages connected with your family. If this is not an option, then don't lose heart, there is plenty of scope to search on the internet, and there are a number of organisations who you can pay to trace your roots.

Yourself and family sources

IT IS ironic that the more dispersed and disassociated from family and home we become, the greater appears to be our need to know who we are and where we come from. Genealogy is becoming more and more popular as a leisure-time pursuit, as people dig deep in their search for ancestors.


You now have a number of tools to start you on your quest. But before you rush off and lose yourself in the distant past, here are a few words of warning about names.


If you are one of the reported 40 million people worldwide with Scots ancestry, then tracing your lineage has an added dimension.To search you really need the names of your Scottish ancestors, where they came from in Scotland, when they emigrated and where they lived when they arrived. Find out the name of the ship they travelled on and the departure and arrival port.

New heritage centre for the Highlands

INVERNESS will be the home to a new £4 million heritage centre, it was announced today.

Preach into the past

Q AN ancestor of mine was a church minister in Scotland. Can I find out more about him from the records of the Church of Scotland? P Walker (by e-mail)

Tracing roots worth £300m to Scotland

THE value of ancestral tourism in Scotland is set to double in the next five years to more than £300 million, according to VisitScotland.

Kilt-ban student flies in to trace his tartan roots

A TEENAGER who was banned from wearing his kilt to a high school dance has been flown to Scotland by a United States radio station to trace his roots.

Croft original

Q I have been told that my ancestors were crofters in the north of Scotland in the 19th century prior to coming to Canada. Are there any records of crofters that might help me substantiate this family story?

Genealogy clinic

Q I believe that one of my ancestors was a solicitor or advocate in Scotland. Is there a difference and is it possible to trace the career of a lawyer in Scotland in the 18th or 19th century? R Heslop (by e-mail)

Scotland's 1841 census goes online

A CENSUS of Scotland's people carried out in 1841 has been made available online for the first time, as part of a groundbreaking five-year project.

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