I can't find this guy anywhere in any of the sites I have searched, and I've searched a lot.

He is in my tree as a memory from my Grandma (it's her father) but there is no proof of him anywhere.

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    Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour for this site. Your ancestor appears to have been born just on 100 years ago so while we should be able to use his name and details here freely there are privacy considerations in our help center that will apply to his children and his wife (assuming he was married to your great grandmother) if she was younger than him. Any other details you may know about him could be helpful. To add more just click the edit button beneath your question.
    – PolyGeo
    May 27, 2015 at 2:10
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    Please could you confirm whether you've checked the Scottish Government's birth index. For more information, see: scotlandspeople.gov.uk/content/help/index.aspx?r=554&402 ("The statutory births index contains entries from the indexes to the civil registers of births for all Scotland, from 1855 until 2012.") May 27, 2015 at 10:55
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    Perhaps you are not aware that unlike other countries like England, Wales, Canada, and the US, where you can search several different websites for records online, for Scotland most of the records are accessible via Scotland's People (see the link in the comment above). It may be helpful to widen your search in case your grandmother did not know the correct year. She can only know of her own father's birth because someone else told her, and there's no guarantee she was told the correct information.
    – Jan Murphy
    May 27, 2015 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


Without knowing where you've searched -- and more importantly, how you've searched -- it is difficult to give much more than a general answer. I encourage you to read any search tips and to watch whatever tutorial videos may be available for each site you search on. It is generally better to do a wide search first and then to add more details to narrow the results. You should be aware that your ancestor's name may not be spelled exactly as you expect it to be. For one of the people in my husband's family, her name is not in the birth records -- I was only able to find her record because I looked for all the children of the same parents (which I realize you can't do, if you don't know the parents' names). I suspect it is the right family because the birth is about the right time, and the street address matches many other records I have for that family.

If you can't find the birth record itself, you may be able to find other records that have the birthdate in it. The checkist Sources of Genealogical Information is US-centric, but it illustrates the principle that you can find information in records which might not seem to directly answer your research question.

Here are some research guides for finding someone's birth in Scotland:

For finding other records, see:

FamilySearch's British Isles Team have produced online webinars about doing research in Scotland, the most recent from April and May of 2015. The recordings and handouts can be accessed via the Wiki page Online Webinars from the British Isles Team. Much of the material is for the periods before the 20th Century, but the webinars on Scotland Websites might be useful to find resources you've missed.

You don't say where your great-grandfather might have been in 1939, but if he was in the United Kingdom, you might be able to find him in the 1939 National Identity Register. The enumeration was carried out on 29 September 1939 and was the start of the records for the National Health Service. The National Archives of Scotland's website has recently been renamed as The National Records of Scotland. If you know when your great-grandfather died, you may be able to order an abstract of the information on that records. See the NRS's research guide for National Registration.

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