Books by Chris Paton

NEW BOOK: Discover Scottish Church Records

     Published in Australia by Unlock the Past  (MAY 16th 2011)     

Available from Gould Genealogy at AU $19.50

In this detailed guide, family historian Chris Paton explores the history and records of the various churches in Scotland prior to 1855, the year in which civil registration commenced within the country. He describes the theological changes imposed by the Reformation of 1560, the nature of the state's battles with the Kirk, and the Kirk's subsequent battles within itself. Most importantly, he also discusses the nature of the records generated by the various Scottish churches, how to interpret them, and above all else, how to find them.

Whether you are looking for tales of ministers carried into the air by Scotland's fairy folk, the fire and thunder of John Knox, a detailed explanation of the online offerings of the Scotlands People website, or the treasures waiting in the National Records of Scotland, this is the definitive research guide to help anyone with Caledonian connections.

Tracing Your Family History on the Internet

Published by Pen and Sword Books Ltd (Feb 28th 2011)

£10.39 (+p&p)

The internet is revolutionizing family history research. Every day new records and resources are placed online and new methods of sharing research and communicating across cyberspace become available. Never before has it been so easy to research family history and to gain a better understanding of who we are and where we came from. But, as Chris Paton demonstrates in this straightforward practical guide, while the internet is an enormous asset, it is also something to be wary of. Researchers need to take a cautious approach to the internet information they acquire. They need to ask, where did the original material come from and has it been accurately reproduced, why was it put online, what has been left out and what is still to come? As he leads the researcher through the multitude of resources that are now accessible online, Chris Paton helps to answer these questions. He shows what the internet can and cannot do, and he warns against the various traps researchers can fall into along the way.


"This is an invaluable and up-to-date handbook."

Federation of Family History Societies


"This book provides links to a staggering number of genealogical websites, and there is sure to be something here for everyone."

Who Do You Think You Are magazine


"Chris takes us on a whistle stop tour of the internet, pausing only to advise the less wary on how to avoid the pitfalls... a perfect introduction for web-going family historians"

Family Tree magazine

                Researching Scottish Family History                

Published by Family History Partnership

£7.95 (+p&p)

Researching Scottish Family History is a detailed introductory guide for those wishing to explore their Caledonian roots. Published by the Family History Partnership, the book is a packed 120 page guide to all areas of Scottish research, with information both on traditional and internet based resources.


The book starts with a basic chapter in getting started, detailing how to get the best out of talking to your relatives, ways and means to record your research and more. The second chapter continues with a guide to the institutional lay of the land, and the records repositories in both Scotland and England that will help with your research.


The next five chapters provide detailed coverage of the basic statutory, parish, census and confirmation documents used within Scottish research, as well as an in depth look at the role of the LDS church in Scottish research. The remainder of the book deals with the unique records connected to Scottish land holdings, occupational research records (including for Scots in the armed forces), the relevance and methods of DNA research, heraldry and tartans, and other useful sources.


Filled with handy tips throughout, the book also provides many useful contextual asides on various aspects of Scottish history relevant to your ancestral pursuit. Completing the book are handy appendices listing the contact details of all Scottish based county archives, family history societies and comainn eachdraidh, making this an absolute essential for your personal genealogical library.


"Researching Scottish Family History is a welcome new title from The Family History Partnership. Author Chris Paton... lives and breathes the advice here, with his enthusiasm apparent in the animated tone. At under £8 this is excellent value... A friendly and informative guide for beginners" - Your Family Tree, May 2010 (issue 90)

Coming Soon in 2011

The Mount Stewart Murder

By Chris Paton (History Press)

Additonal contributions



The Sword and the Cross: Four Turbulent Episodes in the History of the Christian Church – St. Andrews Press 2003 (with Matt Barrett and Ann Muir, all uncredited, copyright BBC)  ISBN 0 7152 0809 8


Based on the scripts of a four part TV series for BBC Scotland for which I wrote and directed - Programme 2: Knox (with Anne Muir) and Programme 4: The Godly Commonwealth.



The Family and Local History Handbook 12 (3 articles) - Robert Blatchford Publishing Ltd, 2009


i)   Weave Truth with Trust (The Handloom Weavers of Perth)

ii)  The Mount Stewart Murder

iii) The Ruhleben Prison Camp 1914-1918



The Family and Local History Handbook 13 (2 articles) - Robert Blatchford

Publishing Ltd, 2011


i) Scottish Land Records

ii) Social Networking and Genealogy


History and Genealogy Handbook 2011 (2 articles) - Unlock the Past (


i) Getting Started with Scottish Ancestry

ii) Researching Scottish Death Records