“Cait An Do Dh’Fhurich Sennair Mo?”

“Where Did My Grandfather Live?”

by Jock Sutherland

The aim of our genealogy project is to identify the ancestor who emigrated from the historical clan territory. What is needed is a linking piece of evidence (e.g. a document) that names a parent of the person in question. This linking is needed down each generation, and without it, no genealogy is proved.

There is a multitude of books that describe the many ways to conduct your genealogical research in North America, however, when it comes to “bridging the Atlantic Gap”, those books are, on the whole, quite worthless; they give no information about how to proceed with research in the British Isles. The farther one gets into British sources, the more one realizes that they do not address the uniqueness of the Scottish systems of documentation.

Also, there are books that purport to “Find your Scottish Ancestors”. While these books are of some benefit, one soon discovers that they seldom address the areas that were traditionally Gaelic, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Of course these are the areas that concern us most since that is where the traditional Clan Sutherland territories lie.

To help you in the midst of these difficulties, we have prepared a “decision flow chart” that provides a step-by-step methodology for discovering where that elusive ancestor lived. The knowledge of that place of residence is essential, since all of the Scottish records are segregated by parish. Parishes were once religious entities, but have now become administrative jurisdictions with no connections to the church.

Instructions for Flow Chart

Sources of Genealogical Information

ScotlandsPeople is the official government source of genealogical data for Scotland. It is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information with almost 50 million records to access. is dedicated to assisting people with their British family history research.

A great source of genealogical information is the Sutherland Mailing List at RootsWeb. This mailing list is for anyone with a genealogical interest in the county of Sutherland, Scotland. For more information, visit their website at

(NOTE: As of February 10, 2018, Rootsweb is offline for updating)