Tracing Family History in Balfron

Balfron Heritage Group is fundamentally a Local History Society. We DO deal with Family History enquiries related specifically to the village/parish but, over the years, as interest in Family History has grown, the Heritage Group has eveloped its resources and is now in a strong position to assist anyone in this area of research through

The Group runs a Family History workshop in Balfron Library on alternate Tuesday afternoons throughout the year. Our area Family History organisation is Central Scotland Family History

There are now many sites available to assist the Family Historian but care should be taken when using some of the sites as transcripts are often misspelt and individual family trees accessible on some sites can be inaccurate and must be confirmed from more than one source.

New Register House – just off the east end of Edinburgh’s Princes Street – is the ‘home’ of Family History research in Scotland. New internet access to census records, etc., has not diminished the numbers who enjoy the building and love to browse the actual archives.

It has the added bonus of a day in Scotland’s lively capital city.

For Family History researchers abroad or those who prefer to work from home Balfron Heritage Group recommends – the on-line version of the Records.

Scotland's People

 Guidelines & Expertise

We realise that if you have traced ancestors back to Balfron you already have some expertise in Family History research. The guidelines below are specific to the use of ScotlandsPeople – how you should prepare, what to expect and what you will see.

Before you begin…

Make sure you have your credit to hand (and a limit in mind … It can be quite addictive!). Make sure, too, that you already have all the information handy about the person you are researching.

Those lo-tech tools – pen and paper – are also useful.

Getting started…

On the HOME PAGE of the site NEW USERS REGISTER HERE takes you to a straightforward registration page. When you complete this, a password will be e-mailed to you.

You are now ready to begin. For a £6 payment (check Access Charges on the home page in case of amendments to this.) you will get 167 hours access to the site and 30 ‘credits’ to use for searches.

You can then choose Registers of Birth/Marriage/Death or Census and fill in the details you already know (e.g. Surname [ESSENTIAL], Forename, Year Range, etc.) on the grid provided (See Image 1 – below left) and press the green search button to begin.

The list of people meeting the criteria you have set will appear on the new screen (See Image 2 – below right). Select the most appropriate to view. Each ‘view’ will cost you one credit. (If you wish to view the birth, marriage or death certificate, or census record each will cost 5 credits.) Your credits will usually expire well before your hours.

If the record you have chosen is for the person you are researching, check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page from the tool Bar to decide which way of imaging and printing suits you best. Next time you visit the site you can view all your previous searches at no additional cost.


At a later stage you might waste credits looking at the same record again.

If you want the actual document/certificate you can click ORDER to add it to your ‘Shopping Basket’ at a cost of £10. (NB Early i.e. pre-1856) Scottish marriage documents are only copies from Parish Registers and do not give that additional family information which might be the clue to the next stage of your search.

Information available at ScotlandsPeople (If any of this is erroneous or out of date, please let us know on

At present the database includes the following indexes availbale to download. Details relating to all of these areas can be found on the Scotland’s People site (above):

  • Statutory Registers of births 1855-1918.
  • Statutory Registers of marriage 1855-1943
  • Civil Registers of deaths 1855-1968.
  • Old Parish Registers of births/baptisms and marriages 1553-1854 although fewer are available before 1688 and many parishes did not keep a full account of births and marriages. Fewer still maintained a death record. Many parishes did have Mort Cloth records but these are not recorded on the Scotland’s People website.
  • Census Records (every ten years) from 1841 to 1911.
  • Valuation Rolls from 1855-1940
  • Will and Testaments are available 1513-1925

It is possible to search on the following in all of these indexes:

  • Surname.
  • Forename(s).
  • Year of registration.
  • Event type (birth/baptism, marriage/banns, death, census).
  • Sex (male, female, unspecified).
  • District.

Additional searches in specific indexes:

  • Old Parish Registers indexes – search on county.
  • Old Parish Registers births/baptisms – search on parents’ names.
  • All marriage/banns indexes – search on spouse’s name.
  • Civil Registers of deaths 1865-1926 and census records – search on age.

It is possible to search for up to five years before and after the year of registration or age typed in, but you will find detailed advice given on the ScotlandsPeople Website on the best ways to search the data­base.

(Information initially from “DISCOVER YOUR SCOTTISH ANCESTORS” © Graham S. Holton and Jack Winch and updated by BHG)