Scotland’s Past, Your History

Have you ever wanted to delve into your family history and find out a bit more about your origins? If so, you’re not alone.

The study of family history, or genealogy, is now one of the world’s fastest growing hobbies. With wider access to the internet, it has become much easier to trace records and discover family history resources. Researching into family history is widely acknowledged as the third most popular global internet search with census figures, birth certificates, death and marriage records from years gone by, much more readily available than they ever have been at the click of a mouse or a tap at a screen.

You might think that with so much information available online that all you need to do is sit in front of your screen, but is it? Why do an increasing amount of tourists come to Scotland to trace their roots?

Baronial ancestral home, Blair Drummond House, Stirlingshire

It’s simple. Only when you visit, can you get a true understanding of a place and its history; its stories and your place within them. So much of Scotland’s family history lives in ancient ledgers in records offices and libraries, in castles or churches, in the ruins of ancestral homes or on gravestones, that it is impossible to understand your history through the computer alone.


Only when you are looking out over a battlefield, walking a particular street or standing at the altar of a church, can you get a feel for the world your ancestors lived in. See the sights your predecessors saw, feel the air, hear the sounds on the wind. Family history is much more than a series of names and dates, it is multi-sensory.

You, like many Scotland aficionados from across the globe, might not have direct family roots, but still have an association and simply want to get a feel for the place where your ancestors lived. Searching records is all very well, but seeing and experiencing Scotland’s past first hand is the only authentic way to make your connection.

If you have roots in a particular family or clan, tracing clan history is child’s play with so many clan centres placed around the country, from the Clan Donald Visitor Centre on the Isle of Skye to the Clan Gunn Heritage Centre and Museum in Latheron, Caithness. Alternatively you could take a tour, like the Campbell Clan Tour, taking in Glasgow, Inverary and Loch Awe or the Fraser Clan Tour that takes you from Scotland’s ancient capital, Stirling to Loch Ness.

With such a wealth of cultural and industrial heritage still very much in evidence, it is easy to immerse yourself and experience your own past, connect with your kin and walk in the footsteps of your ancestors and get a real taste of Scotland.

If you are thinking about tracing your heritage and are unsure of which area of Scotland to start in, why not try Scotland’s largest online genealogical resource, the Scottish Government’s official genealogy web site

Whatever time of year you choose to make your holiday of discovery, you will find your own history waiting for you.


Clan tour itinerary suggestions can be found at


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