For whatever reason they left, ancestry is proudly held and immigrants have held proudly to their clan system, homeland roots and family tree. For those with a sense of belonging to the worldwide family of Scots, improved communications, transport and the web have made genealogy even easier to research than before.
Where to start this daunting task? Like a jigsaw or a map, just find a start point and you'll soon be unlocking secrets, finding ancestors, unfolding a fascinating social history, mapping their movements, discovering their trades, similarities with your life, discovering their problems, feeling their sadness and realizing their joy. They will come alive in a way you can't imagine, becoming compelling and immensely rewarding. Captivated it might lead you home to Scotland to discover more, to see the birthplace, and to walk in the homeland.
Being of Scottish descent is fortunate as our national records are believed to be the best and most intact worldwide. Extraordinary data collection from parish records (pre 1855), and at new Records house in Edinburgh (since 1855) means the resource there, holds an immense bank of invaluable information. Birth, marriage and death records, and census records are all held. Clan records have been maintained and preserved with worldwide interest and assistance, from clan descendants and societies.
This immense resource is now largely available via the internet, and much can be started from home. Numerous genealogy specialists can be employed by those with less time. For others who need some essential local knowledge with name spelling, place names, parish boundaries and the like, a visit may be preferred and registry offices are happy to assist. Specialist history and archives in libraries may be required in case of forced emigration and they are all available locally.
Cultural pride, emotional ties, or clan reunions, may be the reason to come. Perhaps the ‘Year of Homecoming 2009’ will be your reason. So start your discoveries now and whatever the connection, retracing footsteps is a rewarding journey you'll find quite unforgettable.