Family History Centre,
Level 3, The Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN
0141 287 2937
Fax: 0141 287 2815

How to Research Your Family Tree

The first rule in tracing your family history is to start with what you know and work backwards.  Gather any original birth, marriage and death certificates within the family and assemble what information you can from them. Birth certificates, for example, include the names of the parents and the date and place of the parents’ marriage, where appropriate.  Using this information, you can trace their marriage certificate which will give you the couple’s ages. You can then use these dates to trace their birth certificates. 

Talk to other family members, especially older ones, who may be able to provide key names and dates. Old Aunt Jeanie might just be the answer to your prayers! Look through family photos and correspondence. Speak to other people doing family history research for useful tips and always take notes on where your information comes from!  You should sign up for a family history class and join a family history society!


The Registrars on Level 3 of the Mitchell includes all the vital records for beginning your Family History, including statutory registers of births, marriages and deaths from 1855 to date), the Old Parish Registers or OPRs (1553-1854) of the Church of Scotland and enumerated census returns (1841-1901).  The 1911 census should be available there shortly.

You can find some but not all of this information online on the ScotlandsPeople network. 

Family History Centre

You can also access microfilm copies of OPRs and census, 1841-1901, for large parts of Scotland, in the Family History Centre, Level 3, Mitchell.  Indexes are available to help you.

There are many additional resources within the Mitchell to help you find that elusive ancestor.


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