Next course: August 24th 2009 - 5 weeks - £42.99

For more information visit

Scotland's Greatest Story

"A wonderful research team, leaving no stone unturned.  I recommend them highly to anyone who is looking for family in Scotland.  If I had not contacted them when I did, I wouldn't have the wonderful information I know have.  Some things have been answered and as in Genealogy, some new questions have arised.  It's what makes this adventure so much fun."

Maureen Marella, Las Vegas, USA

About Chris Paton BA (Hons), HND, Pg.Dip. Genealogical Studies

A former television producer and director on BBC history programmes, I now work as a professional Scottish based genealogist, writer, lecturer and tutor. With my wife and two young sons I reside in the picturesque Ayrshire town of Largs, on the Western Scottish coast.


Previous media career 

After graduating from the University of Uster in 1991 (HND Design & Communication) and the University of the West of England in 1994 (BA Hons Time Based Media), I spent twelve years working as a documentary maker for both the British Broadcasting Corporation and Scottish Television, primarily working on historical series such as Secret History, Meet the Ancestors, Coast, and the aerial archaeology series Time Flyers (which I created). My television career saw me filming in a variety of locations across the world, from Italy to California, capturing the experiences of many diverse groups and individuals, including Battle of Britain fighter pilots, the modern day Ku Klux Klan, and liver and kidney transplant surgeons at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. I left the BBC after taking voluntary redundancy in February 2006, in order to pursue a career in genealogy. 


Having taken voluntary redundancy from BBC Scotland in February 2006, I undertook a Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde to further my passion for family history research, with which I have been engaged and fascinated by since 1999. Amongst my studies I completed a dissertation on the role of the handloom weaving community of Perth from 1770 to 1845, creating a database employing seldom seen privately held documents on the Weavers Incorportaion, which I have continued to develop since finishing the course.

After the certificate I studied for the Postgraduate Diploma in the same subject, with the final year dissertation this time concerning the role of the King James VI Hospital in Perth as a 19th Century feudal superior. 

I now run Scotland's foremost family history research service, Scotland's Greatest Story and write regularly for most of the British family history press.  My clients to date have been located as far afield as Egypt and Nova Scotia, and have included the cousin of two tragic murder victims and a current life peer within the House of Lords. With over sixteen years experience in historical research and the construction of story telling narratives, I firmly believe that every one of us has a fascinating story to tell, and the greatest story that we can ever discover is that of ourselves.

For family history enquiries, please visit the website at Scotland's Greatest Story, or contact us at

And for all the latest Scottish genealogy news, please visit my regularly updated blog at Scottish Genealogy News and Events.


I am a tutor with online family history and genealogy course provider Pharos Teaching & Tutoring Limited, teaching the Scottish Research Online course. 

The five week course, which costs £42.99, provides a detailed introduction to the key online databases used in Scottish family history research, as well as instruction on the most effective techniques to help you structure a plan for your research.

The next course commences on August 24th 2009. For more information please visit


A regular features and news writer for the UK's leading family history publications Your Family TreePractical Family HistoryAncestorsFamily History Monthly and Discover My Past Scotland, I am also a frequent contributor to many newspapers and magazines such as The Scotsman, The Sunday Herald, Cothrom, True Crime, and others.

I also have three book projects lined up for 2009, details of which will be announced closeer to pubication in 2009 and 2010. Along with Matt Barrett and Ann Muir, I co-wrote the book accompanying the BBC Scotland/BBC4 Scottish religious history series, The Sword and the Cross, which was presented by Richard Holloway, and on which I both scripted and directed.

On the media front, I no longer work in production, but weirdly found myself on the other side of the lens a few times since leaving. In January 2008 I was interviewed with regard to my genealogical research on the BBC 1's Reporting Scotland news programme, as well as on Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland. The story is online at Boys Remains to be Released.

I also contributed research to BBC Radio Scotland's Digging Up Your Roots family history series in 2007, and was featured in a programme within the series broadcast in January 2008, concerning an axe murder in my family that I have researched.

In November 2008 I was again featured on Reporting Scotland and Good Morning Scotland, with regards to research I have been doing on the Ruhleben POW camp in WW1 Germany, where 5500 civilians were interned. The story can be viewed online at German War Camp Remembered.

SGS Projects 

In addition to my professional genealogy service, I also research and maintains two major databases, the first concerning the First World War British civilian internment camp of Ruhleben in Germany (accessible for free at The Ruhleben Story), and the second on the handloom weavers of Perth, with a first volume of these records noe available on CD from Scotland's Greatest Story. The following is one example of the weavers' records currently being uncovered, showing that people 300 years ago were not that different to us really!

Perth the ffourth day of August 1703

Whilk day the maister couirt of the weavers of perth
being convened in the burgh all in ane voice inlays
and fynes John Huttsone weaver in perth in fforty shill.
for his abusing the present Deacon and any other of the
laite Deacons abusing and miscalling the said Deacon
Archibald and several times called the sd Deacons Ras-
kells and villainds and often times commanded them to
kiss his airs and thairfor he is fyned in other ffourty


Go on John Hutton!