Family history

know your past to be able to understand your future

The Macleod of Raasay family outside Raasay House. Chief John (front row, fourth from left) stands next to his brother, Chief Donald of the Lewes, and his wife, Elizabeth. Next to Elizabeth is their son, Alasdair, Younger of Raasay, and their daughter, Hannah

“To know your future, you must know your past” – George Santayana, Hispanic-American Philosopher

If you are new to family history, where do you start? 

Though  we do not have the capacity to assist with family history research, we are very happy to provide links to some useful sets of ‘Hints & Tips’ to get you going and hope that our Clan MacLeod Genealogy section will lead you to a myriad of new resources to help you with your journey :

From the Society of Genealogists – Top 10 Tips for Starting Your Family History

From – Top tips on organising your family history research

From National Library of Scotland –  Starting your family history research

From The Archives of Ontario – Tracing your Family History

Or go to our Links & Resources page, our Publications & Research page, and other resources within our Genealogy section for lots more help in discovering your MacLeod Ancestors!

Some of the Clan MacLeod Societies across the globe have information on family history and genealogy on their own websites. Find out more through these links:

A Beginner’s Guide

Alternatively, if you’re at the very beginning of your journey, here is a short introduction on how to start researching your family history:

  1. Start with what you know. What information do you already have about your family history? This could include names, dates, places, or stories that have been passed down through the generations.
  2. Talk to your family. Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They may have information that you don’t know about.
  3. Look for records. There are many different types of records that can be helpful for family history research. These include birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, census records, and military records.
  4. Use online resources. There are many online resources that can help you with your family history research. These include websites, databases, and forums.
  5. Be patient. Family history research can be a long and challenging process. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find everything you’re looking for right away. Just keep at it and eventually you’ll be able to piece together your family’s story.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Organize your research. As you collect information, it’s important to keep it organized. This will make it easier to find what you’re looking for later on. There are many different ways to organize your research. You can create a family tree, a database, or even just a simple folder system.
  • Keep track of your sources. It’s important to keep track of the sources you use for your research. This will help you to verify the information you find and to cite your sources properly.
  • Share your findings. Once you’ve found some interesting information about your family history, share it with others. You can create a family website, write a book, or even just tell your friends and family about what you’ve learned.

Family history research can be a rewarding and fascinating hobby. By following these tips, you can get started on your own journey of discovery.

We wish you every success!



Genealogy: the history of the descent of families; the pedigree of a particular person or family

Pedigree: a line of ancestors; a scheme or record of ancestry; distinguished and ancient lineage

Family history: an extension to genealogy in which the life and times of the people concerned are investigated