Fiona's Finding Service Scotland
Searches all Edinburgh sources, including many not available online
● Aristocracy and Landed Gentry may have kept all sorts of records, passed down with the title or property, which may have been deposited in the National Archives at some point.
● Newspaper announcements of births, marriages, engagements, obituaries and deaths may contain extra information that is not on the official records. (Down to the colour of the bridesmaids' dresses).
● Wills and testaments may give much information about the family of the testator, as well as the property bequeathed. Many may have a complete inventory drawn up after the death.
● Some families may have a family history written by (or for) some distant ancestor at a time when this was fashionable. (These may not always be 100% accurate, and were often produced to flatter the pretensions of a rich man). Many of these were published in a very small limited edition, and sometimes the only copy left is the one in the National Library of Scotland.
● Some families may have been tenants or employees on an estate whose records have been preserved by their landlord's family.
● Tenants' names may also appear on Valuation Rolls produced for Land Tax purposes - though only the head of the household would be named.
● Non-conformist Church Registers that are availabe include Baptist, Congregational, Episcopalians, Free Church, Methodists, Roman Catholic, Quakers, Unitarian, United Free Church and many of the other short-lived Presbyterian splinter-groups. Some are very incomplete. Some may contain lists of members or communicants. These are not necessarily kept in Edinburgh, but if not then the Register House can obtain them.
● Kirk session minutes (of all denominations) may mention many parishioners, though they tend to deal mainly with the parents of illegitimate children. There may be details about where newcomers have moved from, or where emigrants were aiming for.
● Parish Poor Relief records give details of orphans, infirm and elderly, from the days before the Welfare State.
Electoral Rolls between 1832-1918 listed a person's qualification to vote - i.e. that they owned or rented property over a certain value. These were not always preserved.
● Many Royal Burghs preserved records of their burgesses, and many guilds preserved records of their members. These may give many details about the person's admission to the organisation, their apprenticeship, their relationship to existing members, etc.
● Some professions - particularly medical Doctors and Ministers of the Church of Scotland, kept full records of all their members.
● Trade Directories list anyone running a business in the larger cities, from 1750s. They may give more specific details about your ancestor's occupation than other sources. They may even have an advertisement for his business.
● Some employers, particularly the railway and coal mining companies, kept records of employees. After nationalisation, these were collected by British Rail and the National Coal Board. After privatisation, they were deposited in the General Register House.
● School and University Old Boys' Directories may give many details about the later careers of their alumni.
Note - these sources are incomplete, and there is no guarantee that your ancestors were mentioned in any of them anyway. You have to pay per hour of searching, not by how many I find.
The staff of the places where these records are kept will not do searches for you, and will only supply copies of any document that you already know about. It is up to you to send somebody there to read through the books (which exist only on paper, and usually hand-written).