Find your ancestors in the Scottish Borders

Pile of family photographs


Scattered across the globe are the descendants of the families who lived in the Scottish Borders during the times of the Border Reivers, the Lowland Clearances and the rise of the Tweed Industry.  2017 is Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and there’s a big focus (amongst other things) on ancestry.  So here’s a rundown on the resources available in the Borders to help you find your ancestors.  To help get you started VisitScotland have produced a useful  ‘Ebook’ Discover Your Scottish Ancestry: An Easy Step by Step Guide.


How to find your ancestors

The Heritage Hub in Hawick is the key source for 800 years of archives for the Scottish Borders (Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire). The diverse collections includes:

• Extensive rugby and textile collections
• Local government and administration, police, law and order records
• Business records and accounts, including textile, fishing and farming industries
• Archives of schools, churches, charities, clubs and societies, families and
• Title deeds, maps and plans, letterheads, photographs, correspondence and diaries

At the Heritage Hub, you can research your family tree or the history of your house, investigate the lives, activities and other aspects of the people and lands of the Borders. You can investigate families, communities, places and people (famous or not), land ownership and support for the poor. A wide range of history books, major postcard and map collections and other printed sources explain, guide and add to the archive resources.


The Borders Family History Society

Based in Galashiels the Borders Family History Society, helps people with their family history primarily in the Border counties (Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire) of Scotland, as well as in adjacent counties of England and Scotland.  You can visit their  Archive and Search Room at 52 Overhaugh St, Galashiels, TD1 1DP, Scotland and join as a member.  The Society produces a range of publications and a newsletter.  More importantly it continues to document and preserve the family history of the Scottish Borders.


Scotland’s People

The Heritage Hub is also a ScotlandsPeople Centre. For £15.00 a day you can have unlimited access to one of the World’s best online sources of original family history information. There are almost 100 million records to look through for Scottish ancestry research, with census, wills, statutory birth, marriage and death, Old Parish and Roman Catholic records and a growing series of Valuation Rolls. The Heritage Hub offers an initial free 30 minute enquiry service. In the time available, they can check a record for a specific date/place and advise on sources. If you’re unable to visit, you can take advantage of the enquiry and remote research services (£25 per hour).

HUBCAT the online catalogue, contains general and detailed descriptions of archives held at Heritage Hub. With almost 70,000 records it is increasingly possible to identify sources prior to a visit.  You may also want to use the Scottish Archive Network for further information on the Scottish Borders archives.



As part of the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will incorporate ‘A Splash of Tartan’ as the theme for their 25 night 2017 production on the castle Esplanade in Edinburgh.  Each of the 25 Chiefs of Scottish Clans and Families have been invited to “host” a night, with their Clan tartan “splashed” on the castle walls. On the 23rd of August the Borders based Clan Elliot will take the starring role.

Following their starring role at the Tatoo, Clan Elliot are gathering at Redheugh, Liddesdale 24 – 27 August , 2017.  Armstrongs (and others) may wish to join in and extend the hand of friendship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *