Please note: due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak the Centre is currently closed, but our website is still open for business.
Family group Haddington_c1910_2

Tracing your family

Family Group, Haddington c1910Genealogy, or family history research, is growing in popularity. This is reflected in the number of people who visit us from all over the world to piece together their family’s past.

When beginning to trace your family it is essential to work backwards from the present day. Before you visit us find out as much information from older family members and old documents as possible. Write down all the information you have.

When doing your research find out what information we have that may help you. Remember, we have several unique resources that cannot be found anywhere else.

There are also several websites that can help you with your research, such as Scotland’s People (we can supply you with vouchers for this) and Come and ask at the Local History Centre for a quick tutorial in how to use them. Here’s a video on getting started with Ancestry in the meantime:

10 thoughts on “Tracing your family”

  1. Valerie Meehan says:

    I am self isolating for what could be quite a few months and wonder if it would be possible to gain access to the genealogy sites that would be available to me if I had been able to come to the Family History Centre? I have a library card and am looking for a way to keep my mind active by researching family members and addresses in the area. I Is there any way this would be possible? I look forward to your reply and hope you can help. Regards, Valerie

  2. eileen says:

    Hello again,

    Is it possible to trace an ancestor through his apprenticeship?? My 3x g grandfather was a slater journeyman, his son was also a slater and his father a gardner in Haddington?

    1. HanitaR says:

      Hi Eileen,
      Please see response to your earlier post. Thank you.

  3. eileen says:

    Is it possible to trace a family member through his apprenticeship? My 3x g grandfather was a slater journeyman from Haddington. His son was also a slater.His father was a gardener in Haddington. Any hope here??
    Thank you, Eileen

    1. HanitaR says:

      Hi Eileen,
      Thank you for your enquiry. The best way to begin your family history research, as you probably already know, is via birth/death/marriage records and censuses. You can do this through the National Records of Scotland’s ScotlandsPeople website. Information about his apprenticeship may appear in these records. Best Wishes.

  4. Belinda Robertson says:

    Hi, I am in the middle of tracing my family tree and am wondering if you had any local info please on;-

    1. John Stuart Hill – 1977-1917 a golf club maker aged 23 and later a golf professional (and Sam Ryder’s 1st Gold Pro). Born in Musselburgh. His father was also John Hill 1831-1890 iligitimate son of merchant sailor ‘James Smith’…… and Mary Hill (Spiers/Spence) this is where this side comes to an end!

    2. I then have a strong history of family name ‘Hill’ who were Fisherrow Shoe Makers and wondered if you had information about the life and stories of shoe makers of Fisherrow please? My ancestors are:- Andrew Hill 1761-1806 or 1826, Thomas Hill 1732-1815, and Andrew Hill ? Dob around 1710.

    Thanking you so much,
    kind regards,
    Belinda Robertson

    1. HanitaR says:

      Hi Belinda,
      Thank you for your enquiry. We know that shoemaking became an incorporated trade in Musselburgh in 1666. Unfortunately, we do not have any ready information on your ancestors. If possible, you would have to visit our Centre and look through local history references for any info on the history of shoemakers in Musselburgh. You could also look up the archive records (any trade incorporation books/documents on shoemakers specifically) to see if there is any mention of your ancestors’ names. Do email us at [email protected] if you have any more questions or requests and we will try our best to help you.

  5. Jack Dale says:

    I would like a copy of the LOGO/BADGE for the Lothian and Borders Horse (1915) to put on a vehicle . Do you have anything suitable? , thanks

  6. HelenB says:

    We’re actually running a Family History Day soon, and will have some taster workshops on getting started doing your own family history research, and there will be a full-day course later in the year. Do come along if you’re local! Family History Day is at the John Gray Centre on Saturday, 31st August, and the taster workshops will be in the morning. I’m sure they’ll be helpful for anyone getting started.

  7. Madeline Sweasey says:

    My ancestors came from Haddington in the 1770’s. My family tree goes back to them and I would like to trace the line further back. I have the marriage details of parents – John Lawrie and Mary Lawder married at St Mary’s Haddington on 7 October 1770. Also the Baptism records for their 3 children – all at St Mary’s Richard 22 April 1773, Janet 24 April, and Robert 21 July 1771.

    I know a fair bit about Richard as he was my third great grand father, Janet I know nothing about. Robert I know served in the Navy as did Richard. What are the chances of finding more about these people and their forebears please. I have resourced all the usual genealogy sites and am stuck for further info. I am thinking of visiting the John Gray Centre during the afternoon of Wednesday 29th of Amy. Would this be convenient and do you think it would be worth my while coming – I live in Edinburgh.


    Madeline Sweasey

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