Scottish Genealogy Books

    To Speed Your Genealogy Research

                   Reviews by Marti Rasmussen

Tracing your Scottish Ancestry, by Kathleen Cory. Published by Polygon, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1991.  186 p.  Includes an Index and five Appendixes and a Step By Step Guide.

Available at Ames Public Library in Genealogy Reference section – Call NO. 929.3411/COR

This little volume is a welcome introduction to the intricacies of the Scottish Records but is now quite out-of-date due to the use of the Internet to track down many of these records.  You open the book to a county map of Scotland, which will get you oriented to where your ancestors lived if you know that.  A second map on the next page is a good map of Princes Street in Edinburgh with an arrow directing you to the National Library and shows where Scottish Record Office (Register House or S.R. O. on this map) was located when the book was published.  I have not been there recently and can’t vouch for its current accuracy.

   There is some information on different Census Records, and a chapter on “Other Records” which include various Tax Records, Burgess and Guild Records etc.  A section with illustrations of various types of records alerts you to what to expect.   But probably the most useful section is Appendix I  which is a “glossary of occupations, terms and contractions found in Scottish records and census returns.”  Appendix III lists parishes, counties and commissariots to aid researchers in finding various locations of records.  This information may be online in a more convenient form.  

With exceptions noted above, this and for those with some information about their ancestors but needing guidance about their next steps










© 2010 Story County Genealogical Society.

Scottish Local History: An Introductory Guide, BY David Moody.

Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD. 1994.  178 p. Index.  Available at Ames Public Library in the Genealogy Reference section – Call No. 941.1/MOO

 The author was Bibliographical Services Officer and Local History Librarian at East Lothian District Libraries in Scotland when this book was written.  It is a great introduction to local Scottish history, but mainly shows present day readers how much the Internet has changed how we research the local and family history. Much of what he explains how and where to find in local archives and libraries is Now online. 

 However Moody’s description of various records at published archives he describes the different categories thus:

“A transcript is a full text.

A calendar is a précis usually in English, full enough for most purposes to replace original documents.

A list is an enumeration of items composing a class of records with minimal descriptive information.

A descriptive list is a list of brief abstracts of the documents.

An index is an alphabetically arranged guide to people, places or subjects in the records.

A catalogue is a calendar, list or descriptive list containing items from different origins but on similar subjects, or hands of a specific institution or person”. 

 The next section of this book may be the most useful to current family historians by demonstrating methodology of local historical research by emphasizing three topics:  “The Family and Community emphasizing oral history techniques and family history; Dwellings and Buildings which covers land records, deeds, property registers and Settlement studies which introduces the study of a town, or parish. The bibliography included as notes for these chapters may lead you to some local history resources you might not have noticed or found using online listings. 

 As an “Introductory Guide” this book may lead you to new insights into the role of the local government archives and records in finding your Scottish ancestors. And its emphasis on methodology of taking notes and using these records is an important reminder for better use of these resources.