Family History

Getting started

The popularity of family history research as a recreational pastime is rapidly growing. Researching your family tree is much easier and more rewarding than you might expect. Many resources are available locally and many are free to browse.

Family research

On the following pages we have put together some advice and information on where to find out more about your Scottish ancestors. Advice is available from staff on which records to try next; sometimes you cannot see the family tree for the family forest!


How do I find the grave of my ancestor?

Falkirk Council’s Bereavement Services can tell you where a grave is located, provided you have a name and a date of burial.

How can I obtain a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate?

If your grandfather was born in Scotland you can purchase an extract of his birth entry at any local registrar's office.

Do you only have Scottish birth, death and marriage records?

Yes, but if you are looking for English, Welsh or Irish records we can advise you who to contact.

My mother was adopted, where will she obtain her birth certificate?

The ACR (Adopted Children's Register) is held at General Register Office for Scotland, therefore your mother will have to purchase a certificate from New Register House, Edinburgh. Details can be found on their website

My ancestors came from Polmont – why are there records in Stirling Council Archives as well as Falkirk Archives?

Polmont and all rural areas of Falkirk were originally part of the County of Stirling until 1975 and it is not possible to separate the original archival records which relate to the whole of the County of Stirling. So you need to look at archives in both Falkirk Archives and Stirling Council Archives.

Can you help me trace my long-lost relatives?

Sorry, we can't help you find living relatives.

I think my ancestors worked in Callendar Estates. Do you have lists of the estate workers and domestic servants?

We have not compiled lists of estate workers or domestic servants from the Forbes of Callendar Papers, but there are some references to individuals and a few letters contain lists of servants or estate workers. You will need to go to Falkirk Council Archives to see any relevant documents.

I think my ancestor worked in one of the foundries. Do you have lists of employees?

Sorry, there are very few employee records or registers still in existence. If your ancestor worked for Carron Company, you should contact the National Archives of Scotland as any surviving employee records are held there.

I want to find out the names of the people I went to school with.

Sorry, you can't see the school admission register entries for your former classmates. This is because school admission registers show private personal information – including, for example, information that a child was in a children's home, or move to a "List D" school.

My ancestor went to school in Falkirk. Where can I find the school records?

There are admission registers or leavers (lefts) registers for local schools held in Falkirk Council Archives. Under the Data Protection Act, access is restricted until the records are 100 years old.

I need evidence of where I went to school

Bring in some identification (including evidence of any change of name) and our archives staff can look up the school admission registers on your behalf and provide you with an extract. Your birth certificate and current photo ID are suitable documents, and evidence of how you changed your name, such as a marriage certificate.

My ancestor died in the Larbert Asylum. Where can I find records of this?

Health and Hospital records are held by local Health Boards. For details and contacts read our leaflet Medical Records for Family History. 

My relative served in the armed forces. How do I find a record of his service?

Most records of British armed forces personnel are held by The National Archives at Kew.


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