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A Guide to Genealogical Sources in the West of Scotland

Although many records are now available on-line, it remains a fact that most records are still off-line, held in various archives, libraries, family history societies and other repositories. These off-line records might contain the key for you to break down a “brick wall” or to enhance your knowledge of your ancestors’ lives such as their housing, education, employment, worship, or health.  Often the location of these documents is a variable consequence of business failures, local government re-organisations or church amalgamations. How do you know which records survive and where you might find them?

In 2006, long term member Ian F. Brown produced a comprehensive index to all sources in West Central Scotland, private and public, available to family researchers. In his own words he said:

“the object of The Guide is to provide those researching genealogy and family history in the West of Scotland with the detailed sources which in my opinion, they might reasonably make use of in their research. The aim has been to put these sources in a form convenient to use, both as to type and area, and to cover as many sources as possible, extending right down to local societies and indicate where each of these sources may be found.”

GWSFHS Journal, June 2006

This work seeks to set out in detail the source material which a genealogist or family historian researching in the West of Scotland might use. The coverage is broad and as well as dealing with the usual Births, Marriages, and Deaths etc., Censuses and Testaments or Wills, it also embraces most of the other available genealogical source material right down to the local society or club. It will therefore be of most use to those seeking to put flesh on their family trees by finding out more about their ancestors and their relatives than just their names.

There are eight volumes – An Index, a General Set of Sources and six area sources. It took Ian nearly fifteen years to accumulate and check all the data. This is a labour of love and a major reference work. It is a daunting set of tomes to consult – but once you start it is extremely well laid out and easy to use.

  • Volume A – an overview of sources and Index
  • Volume B – sources common to the whole of the area or to more than one of the areas
  • Volume C – covers sources in Argyll and Bute
  • Volume D – covers sources in Ayrshire
  • Volume E – covers sources in Dunbartonshire
  • Volume F – covers sources in Glasgow (Barony & Regality/the Old Mediaeval City plus those areas absorbed by the city as it expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries)
  • Volume G – covers sources in Lanarkshire
  • Volume H – covers sources in Renfrewshire.

When originally published in 2006, the set was £60.00 plus p & p. and each volume was sold separately for £8.00 plus postage and packing.

We now offer a PDF impression of each volume priced at £20.00 for the set or £4.00 for an individual volume, with Volume A supplied for free with each purchase. You will be able to download your purchase directly from our website to your computer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material surveyed was only up to the date as of first publication, locations & telephone numbers etc. might have changed. Post pandemic, many repositories still have restricted opening hours. We recommended that you contact them prior to any visit.

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