Research and enquiries
Where do I start?
It's always better to work backwards from the known to the unknown. Start your family history search by talking to your oldest relatives and look at family records such as birth, marriage and death certificates, bibles and wills. You could consider joining a local family history society.
Once you have worked out the facts of a basic family tree with as many names, dates and places as possible, you can start to look at original records. These will allow you to check your information, flesh out the bare facts and lead you back to earlier generations.
Much of our material relates particularly to St Andrews and North East Fife.
- Copies of the Census returns for Fife, 1841-1901, are held on microfilm.
Census returns for St Andrews, 1841-1871, have been transcribed and indexed.
The Church of Scotland Kirk Session records of the congregations of the former presbyteries of Cupar and St Andrews are held here. They contain communion rolls, lists of heads of families, details of illegitimate births, payments to the poor, and records of baptism, marriage and burial. We also hold Presbytery records and archive material from a number of secession and independent churches.
These include information on former staff and students of the institution from the 15th century onwards.
The University's Biographical Register 1747-1897 is now available online https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/biographical-register, containing information St Andrews alumni, officers and graduates.
Burgh Records for North East Fife
These can include lists of inhabitants, voters and population, apprenticeship, burgess and property valuation rolls, and craft and guildry records.
Other manuscript holdings relating to trades include volumes from St Andrews baxters, cordiners, fleshers, and hammermen (1548-1861).
The burgh register of sasines for St Andrews (1673-1809) has been microfilmed.
Family and estate papers
This could include, for example, rentals and tacks (leases) or genealogical compilations, family history notes etc. You will need to know the farm or estate on which your ancestor lived.
Trade and Post Office Directories for St Andrews
Scottish Newspapers – we hold bound editions of papers, including: St Andrews Citizen (1870 to date), Fife News (1870-1937), Fife Herald (1822-1937)and Fifeshire Journal (1833-1892).
Others include Fife Family History Society Publications, local lists and indexes, maps, and an extensive general reference collection.
Our databases and catalogues are constantly under development.