All good bookshops carry a selection of genealogy and family history books but look out for ones that are about Scottish research in particular as many dates and records differ from the rest of the United Kingdom.
The ancestral tourism web site for Scotland can be found at www.ancestralscotland.com
For family history research the ideal starting point is your own family, especially relatives and older friends who may all be able to provide useful information. Documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates, school records, photographs, scrapbooks, family bibles etc. can provide clues and help to build a fuller picture of your family’s history.
These are the main resources for family history:-
The census gives details of everyone living (or visiting) at an address and has been taken every 10 years from 1841 to 1901.
Old Parish Registers (OPRs)
Church of Scotland registers contain details of baptisms, marriages and burials prior to 1855 when civil registration was introduced.
Birth, marriage and death certificates from 1855, Wills from 1513 – 1901, OPRs from 1538 – 1854 and the Census from 1841 are available on-line through ScotlandsPeople www.scotlandspeople. gov.uk. Vouchers are sold at various libraries. Please check with staff for details. The Moray Council Library and Information Service are able to offer discounted vouchers for new users and are also offering family history courses to help you to get the best from the ScotlandsPeople website. Please contact Elgin Library on 01343 562600 or email Elgin.firstname.lastname@example.org
International Genealogical Index (IGI)
Index compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from baptism and marriage registers of the Church of Scotland. It is also available on-line at www.familysearch.org
Many of the local heritage groups have excellent photograph collections.
Valuation rolls 1855 – 1990 record the address, owner and occupier or tenant of a property. They were produced annually and, where they survive, provide useful details of property and occupants in the periods between the censuses.
Produced annually – these are useful in finding those who were eligible and had registered to vote, especially in the period between censuses. They give names and addresses and are available from 1835 to date (with some gaps).
Microfilm copies of all local newspapers from 1827 to the present day are available in the Local Heritage Centre. Newspapers are continually being indexed including biographical information and entries from the “deaths” and “marriages” columns.
Microfilm copies of interment registers for cemeteries in Moray from 1845 are available at the Local Heritage Centre.
All gravestone inscriptions in Moray up to c. 1980, (and in many cases up to the present day), have been recorded and every personal name indexed. A plan of each graveyard denotes the location of each stone.
Non-Established Church Records
Microfilm copies of the registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths for some of the non- established churches, including Catholic and Episcopal, are available at the Local Heritage Centre.
Microfilm copies of school admission and leavers registers, 1872 – c. 1970 are available at the Local Heritage Centre.
Poor Law Records
Microfilm copies of poor law registers 1845-1930 are available at the Local Heritage Centre. They contain information on individuals who received poor relief and may also include details of their families.
The Local Heritage Centre holds the records of the burgh towns of Moray 13th century to 1975 – Aberlour, Buckie, Burghead, Cullen, Dufftown, Elgin, Findochty, Forres, Keith, Lossiemouth & Branderburgh, Portknockie and Rothes. These – contain a wealth of social history concerning the development and care of towns and townspeople including planning, crime, health and welfare.
Private Archive Collections
The Local Heritage Centre holds many collections of legal records, business records, family, estate and personal records dating from the 16th century. Many of these collections have been catalogued and indexed.
The local heritage groups will also have specialist collections and be able to help with special topics e.g. History of the fishing industry, farming and social history.