Recent Investigations

An American based client was shocked to discover that two of her cousins had been brutally murdered in 1911 by their father, for which he was subsequently hanged. A full account of this investigation was published in the Scotsman (see Stolen Lives), which revealed how the University of Edinburgh still held the boys remains following their illegal acquisition by pathologist Sir Sidney Smith in 1913. Following the story's broadcast on the BBC's Reporting Scotland the university responded magnificently, arranging for their release, requiem mass and cremation on behalf of the client.

A Largs based client was amazed to find out for the first time that her grandmother had been awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1919 for her help in sending parcels to military and civilian prisoners of war in Germany, during the First World War.

During research for BBC Radio Scotland's "Digging Up Your Roots" series, we made an emotional discovery for one of the programme's contributors, when he learned of the existence of an aunt that he had never heard of. 

A current life peer was discovered to have strong connections to several merchant families in 19th century Glasgow, though a bankruptcy by one of these firms would set his family on a course that would see him eventually reach the House of Lords.

An Egyptian based client was found to be found to have roots in the 15th Century pre-Reformation Cupar Abbey, with ancestors from both the distinguished Playfair and Rogers families.


Family Records and Archives

   The starting point for your Scottish family history research will usually be found within the country's two foremost archival repositories - the ScotlandsPeople Centre and the National Archives of Scotland. Both are situated within adjacent buildings on Edinburgh's Princes Street.

The ScotlandsPeople Centre

The ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh holds a vast amount of records, many of them indexed and digitised. These include vital records (civil and parish), from 1553 to the present day; the decennial census from 1841 to 1901; The Public Register of All Arms and Bearings; Monumental Inscriptions; and many other major genealogical assets

 The ScotlandsPeople Centre is open Mondays to Fridays from 9.00am to 4.30pm. Entry fee is £15.

The National Records of Scotland

The National records of Scotland (previously the National Archives of Scotland) is adjacent to the ScotlandsPeople Centre and holds an impressive collection of archive material that can help bring your family history to life. These include records of the dissenting presbyterian churches (Free Church of Scotland etc); Kirk Session Registers (Established and Non-Established Churches); Court Records in Scotland (including Criminal Trial Papers); wills, testaments, inventories and sasines (land transfer records); maps & plans, valuation rolls and tax records; and family and estate papers


If you live overseas, the NRS has very helpfully put its entire catalogue online at



The buildings are open between 9.00am and 4.45pm, and access is free.