Notes for those who might wish for help
We do not have a professional genealogist, so we cannot "do" any genealogy for anyone. Nevertheless there have been several people who have made enquiries and whom we have been able to help to a substantial extent by examining what they have done so far and by pointing them in the right direction(s) and so in recent years, we have had a significant number of successes. We also have extensive contacts and can often find the right person to get in touch with, often cutting through what appears to be an intractable problem very quickly.
When you have completed the tasks below and still want some help or advice, please:
email us using the contact form with "genealogy" in the subject header.
Make sure that you give a full resume of (a) what you have done as well as (b) background family lore etc.
Please advise us whether you are a member of any of the Clan Grant Societies.
Some enquiries have betrayed a very fundamental lack of understanding about clans in general, other enquirers seem to assume that we know personally every single Grant family which ever lived and so often it is quite hard to pitch a response in the right tone and so we hope that this page will provide an outline of the basics. The obverse side of this is that while we will take seriously any enquirer who tells us at the beginning that they have indeed read and heeded the contents of this page, it is not fair to expect us to take seriously those who do not.
"The Grant DNA Project"
The first thing to be recommended to anyone seeking to trace their Grant ancestry is to arrange for a male-line Grant relative to join the Grant DNA project. This will establish from the outset whether or not you are a member of either of the chiefly lines or "mere" clansman, like the majority. It may also throw up relatives you did not know about and they may be able to fill in portions of your trees which you did not know existed.
For an introduction see Adrian Grant`s Brief History of the DNA Project or visit The Grant DNA Project Website and follow the links to read all about what has been established so far and to join the project. If at any stage you do write in, please let them know where you stand viz a viz this project.
Second you should purchase family tree software which is GEDCOM compatible. It is hard to make specific recommendations here, as different packages offer different freebies which may or may not be relevant to yourself, but one good package is Family Historian. It is helpful to have your family tree set up in GEDCOM format because then you can email copies easily.. Several people have sent images or .pdf files or even reports generated by a Family Tree package, but frankly these are a real pain as too often it is very difficult to isolate the section one wants to study etc.
If for whatever reason you cannot send a GEDCOM file with your query, then it really is vital that you include full details of many family members - not just a few telegraphic details of the line you think you are researching.
See also Grant Family Trees to download Grant GEDCOM files.
Third there are several elementary things to do exhaustively:
(a) Check through all the census records available. In the UK this means every ten years back from 1901 to 1841 and there are also many censuses available in former dominions etc. Some of these are available online and others you can purchase on CD.
(b) Check through the civil registration records of births marriages and deaths for all relevant details back to 1855.
For Scottish records you can do this online via www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
For other UK records check the national Archives at Kew: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk . This may involve writing in.
(c) For records prior to the development of Civil Registration it is necessary to consult the Old Parish Registers (OPR). These are available parish by parish so it is often helpful to use parish references from the earliest civil registration documents you have. These are available from the same sources.
(d) For those whose ancestors emigrated, there are now extensive passenger lists available online. Try sites such as www.findmypast.com
Fourth you will probably want to exhaust anything else in local archives:
Many Grants will have ancestry in Strathspey or Glenurquhart or Glenmoriston. The Local Authority officers for Highland Council and for Moray Council are very helpful and knowledgeable, but they do have many requests for their help. However they will be able to offer a list of charges and an estimate of when work can be done. Better still you can arrange to visit and do the work yourself under their tutelage.
So that is the basic groundwork you should be able to do without our intervention. But there is more!
(1) If you want to know about the chiefly family line the complete family trees listed in Sir William Fraser`s 1883 "Chiefs of Grant" is available in GEDCOM format and can be downloaded from the history sub-site via this link: TREES
The associated biographical details are not yet attached.
(2) For Local knowledge it would not be wise to overlook the famous Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society - if only to get good advice http://www.anesfhs.org.uk/
This will be of especial relevance to the descendants of several Grant families who settled within their bailliewick.
(3) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been very helpful. They have established the International Genealogical Index (IGI). Their volunteers at their Family History Centres are very helpful - and knowledgeable - and you can access their online presence at http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp
These records may not be error free, but they are very useful none the less. If a problem did seem to emerge from it, it seems likely that this might be fairly easily resolved.
(4) Some background knowledge about the local area where the ancestors came from can often be useful. In Scotland there were two "Statistical Accounts for Scotland" drawn up by parish ministers, one in the later 1700s and the other in the middle 1800s. These are available online. Use this link http://stataccscot.edina.ac.uk/static/statacc/dist/home and choose "Browse Scanned Pages"
(5) If, having done all this, you are faced with a problem, the best thing to do is to formulate a hypothesis with a feasible timescale attached.
Bear in mind also traditional naming patterns. It was normal for many generations to name:
(a) the Eldest son after the paternal Grandfather
(b) the second son after the maternal Grandfather
(c) the third son after the father
(d) the eldest daughter after the mother
(e) the second daughter after the paternal grandmother
(f) the third daughter after the maternal grandmother.
There are also exceptions:
- On the death of a child, the next one of the same sex might often be named after the dead one.
- Many high born children were named after illustrious godparents - and many Grants were named after the chief of the day or his heir apparent
- It is not unknown for two siblings to be given the same name!!
(6) For those in Australia and the Americas our sister societies have deep wells of expertise and if your search is about ancestors in those countries you are best joining the local society and consulting them. Use the menu link or click here
(7) It is, of course, possible to engage professional genealogists/researchers. One or two such have been in touch with us touting their services. Unfortunately we do not have any basis for knowing how reliable any of these people are and so we cannot make specific recommendations. The following links are, therefore, no more than a starting suggestion
Good Luck with your ancestor hunting. We hope you will share and we look forward to helping where we can.
Notes for those who might be willing to contribute and/or offer help:
Please get in touch via our contact form.
GEDCOM Files are always welcome - though they may sit for quite some time before being used.
We are particularly anxious to develop family trees for
(a) Canadian Métis and other descendants of Cuthbert Grant
(b) Black and other Caribbean Grant families whether of pure African stock or interbred with planters, surgeons etc.
(c) In the case of the Siol Lewis (Cherokee descendants of Ludovick Grant) we look forward to working with the Cherokee Nation to add to the substantial work they have undertaken already and to try to complete the link back to the chiefly line.
Please let us know if you have any special knowledge or background or even just enthusiasm you can offer. In particular if you would like to suggest improvements or extensions to the advice offered below please let us know.
The Clan Grant Centre Trust