During my latest new teaching session there were quite a few learners who were trying to discover their Scottish links. Scottish records can be difficult as so many families share the same surnames and lived relatively near to each other. However, there are a few ways to check that you have the right people in your line. For example, are the names of the children concurrent with baptism parental names, in particular the mother’s surname? Also, are there any middle names? The registrration of birth, deaths and marriages has been conpulsory in Scotland since 1 January 1855.
Another clue can be found under occupations that appear on the Scottish census returns. (1851-1911). People tended to remain within their ‘born into occupational class’. It is highly unlikely that a boy of sixteen working in a mill will appear thirty years later as a lawyer. Yet the 2 differing lines may have even given their children all the same names! So double check the children’s birth year and baptism record (if you have found it), and with time you can even crossing reference with cousins and other family members to see if there is a match.
Earlier Scottish records can be found in church records and these can be found on line if they have survived. Before 1855 Scottish births, deaths and marriages and burials will be found in the church registers. However, they often contain only a simple index of names depending on the church and parish recorder. Presbyterian church records are available from 1716.
Heritage Found can help you with this research.
More information can been found at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/guides/