Please sign in to post.

Heritage: Bill again

According to, I have a direct lineage to King James IV of Scotland. Where would I start to find out the lifestyle and other nuances of the family.

I am flying into Glasgow and will take a couple days in Edinburgh to start my adventure. So far, I am going to walk the Royal Mile and relax from my flight. I may take a day trip from Edinburgh and then I will rent a car to tour the countryside. Any suggestions for photo ops and "must see" along the way?

Thank you all so much for helping me put together this trip.


Posted by
6327 posts

I'm not sure what you mean by "lifestyle and other nuances," but here's the Wikipedia entry for your ancestor, a thorough biography with a lot of links you can follow. If you're descended from his only legitimate child, James V, you could be descended from Mary, Queen of Scots, her son James VI (who became James I of England), and through him the Stuart line of English kings and queens. Don't get too excited about this, since James IV had several children outside of marriage, so apparently many more descendants less prominent than the Stuart monarchs, most likely including you.

The article notes that James IV was born at Stirling Castle, which I believe is a day trip from Edinburgh (I've been to Edinburgh but not Stirling). He also built Holyrood Palace, still the seat of the British royal family in Edinburgh. I believe it's usually open to the public (wasn't when I was there because of some royal event). And I assume that the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh would have some artifacts and information of interest to you.

Good luck with your travel and research. And if you should discover some yet-unknown claim to the British throne, be discreet about it till you've hired the best lawyer you can find. ;-)

Posted by
1616 posts

James IV was king when the Rennaisance was beginning at the start of the 16th C. Much of what you see of Edinburgh Old Town is very much that period. Remember however, it was 500 years ago and although you might be descended from James IV, so will hundreds of thousands of people across the world by this point.

An aside, the Steward dynasty had been on the throne since 1371, giving it a legitimacy that attracted England's Henry VII to marry his daughter Margaret to James. In that time though, between the death of Robert III in 1406 and the accession of Charles I in 1625 no Scottish monarch ascended the throne as an adult. Not one. All six Kings James and Queen Mary.

Posted by
3004 posts

This is where you want to book a whole day to access every available family record in Scotland.

It's in a beautiful old building in Edinburgh.
You book in advance, and you get a computer to yourself for up to 8 hours use.
You need to bring a few details with you, such as grandparents' names birth dates, and any other family info you can dig up in advance; as then you have a starting place.
They charge you to copy stuff, so bring a big notebook to write info down as you find it.
Lots of places around about for lunch, and you can re enter after fueling up.

I spent a whole day there a few years ago, and it went by in a flash.

Posted by
6113 posts

There are so many people distantly related to royalty, that it’s rarer to NOT be related to them! There are records offices that have details of births, marriages and deaths - what do you want to learn? It’s a time consuming process tracing the generations back - my dad spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours doing it cross referencing church records, websites and obtaining copies of various certificates.

Photo opportunities - from Arthur’s Seat, head to the former royal yacht Britannia in Leith, Edinburgh Castle, the Parliament building and the cathedral.

If I only had one day’s car hire, I would head north across the Forth and visit the pretty villages of the East Neuk of Fife - Pittenweem, Elie and St Monans. My second option would be the Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies on the way to see Stirling.

Posted by
104 posts

Yep. I'm one of those 100,000 or so with roots to James and also to Henry VII, legit or otherwise:) However - and we're going again in 10 days! - the way I look at it is that in general, for better or worse almost all of my people came from these various regions in the UK, and it's fun simply to walk around in their shoes, think about what led them to flee, and so forth. In other words, I'm one of those who simply loves to travel and "soak up" my surroundings. I'd recommend that approach to anyone!

All the best,

Posted by
2382 posts

Consider the arithmetic of generational change -- every generation you go back the number of great grandparents you have doubles, such that by the time you go back 20 generations you have more than a million great great great...20 great grandparents --
and the 17th century is more than 20 generations ago, when the total population of Europe was something like 75 million --
so what I'm indicating is that if you're of European descent then you are in some small related to everyone who was alive in Europe!

Posted by
1616 posts

Someone famous or historic in the tree is always an interesting hook to look at a family tree, and help drive interest. It is interesting where one side is noble and the other.... not.

I wish I knew where the quote should be attributed, but one of my favourite quotes about history.

'History is a staircase, the sound is of hobnailed boots ascending, and silk slippers descending'

Another is to remember that anything a century and a half ago or before is a foreign country, even if you've lived in the same house your family has for centuries.