Highland Ancestors

Highland family history research and how HFHS and this website can help

There are a number of books that serve as a good introduction to family history research in Scotland. Alwyn James, “Scottish Roots” (Edinburgh, 2002), and Kathleen B. Corey, “Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry” (Edinburgh, 1996; Baltimore, MD, USA, 2004), show how it’s done, and Bruce Durie, “Scottish Genealogy” (2007), deals both with methods and sources. The Scottish National Archives also publish a survey of the many sources of information to be found in their holdings: “Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: The Official Guide” (Edinburgh, 2009). An increasing number of those holdings are being digitised and made available to Scottish family historians online, along with all the basic records held by GROS (General Register Office Scotland), via www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk – the pioneering service that puts Scotland in the forefront of online genealogical research. Elsewhere online, the Scottish sections of GENUKI  (http://www.genuki.org.uk) comprise a very comprehensive guide to sources throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while www.cyndislist.com is the ultimate worldwide guide to genealogy on the web.

For tracing ancestors in the highlands some additional knowledge is required – about the history of the Highlands, the nature of clans, Gaelic names and their “translation” into English, etc. Help with such subjects and sources of further information about them can be found on my own website, www.highlandroots.org, in addition to that given here on the Highland Family History Society [HFHS] site. As you’ll see from the Resource pages of this site, HFHS compiles and publishes genealogical material relating to the Highlands that is not available via ScotlandsPeople or the national and local archives – such Registers of the Free Churches, Transcriptions of Monumental Inscriptions [MIs] in Highland burial grounds, and family histories researched by our members.

In many ways our members – of whom there are over 650 around the world – constitute our greatest resource, and we aim to make their accumulated knowledge available through our quarterly Journal and via this website so as to help others with their research. New members of the society are therefore encouraged to give full listings of their research interests when they join – or better still to write about their family history in the Journal – and in this way get in touch with hitherto unknown cousins in other parts of the world who may be able to add new pieces to their genealogical jigsaw. This site aims to contain comprehensive indexes to the listings of members’ interests, queries submitted by them and by others, and articles published in the Journal; but not all of these indexes are yet complete.

HFHS works closely with Highland Council’s Archive and Family History Service (see their own website)in whose headquarters we are based - though we are financially and organisationally entirely independent of Highland Council or any other body. They employ two professional genealogists and some of the microfiche and microfilm records that they use belong to the society, and our small but expanding library (see our online catalogue) complements their extensive collection of books on Highland history and genealogy. Our desk in the Family History Search Room in the Highland Archive Centre is staffed regularly, though not all the time; and when it is not, officers or knowledgeable local members of the society are always willing to meet visitors by appointment at the Centre to help or advise them in their research (see Archive Centre page for further details).   

As part of this interactive and collaborative process we encourage members to contact us with ideas about what else the society might do to help those researching their Highland family history – and how this website might be made more informative or user-friendly. 
Email info@highlandfamilyhistorysociety.org.

 Guidance notes prepared by Graeme M. Mackenzie MA (Cantab), Chairman of HFHS

home events publications resource membership useful links contacts