Scotland Land and Property

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Land records can help you determine where and when your family lived in a specific place. Sometimes these records will be based on inheritance, and such records will often mention two or more generations of a family. In Scotland the land system had feudal roots in which the crown owned all of the land.
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[[Image:Cottage, Pitmedden Garden - geograph.org.uk - 507812.jpg|thumb|right|350x250px]]
  
In general, there are two types of Scottish land records:
+
Land records can help you determine where and when your family lived in a specific place. Sometimes these records will be based on inheritance, and such records will often mention two or more generations of a family. In Scotland the land system had feudal roots in which the crown owned all of the land.
  
* The general register usually contains land transactions that involved more than one burgh or county. They also recorded land transactions that affected Scottish interests in other countries, such as Nova Scotia.
+
=== Jurisdictions  ===
* The particular register usually contains land transactions that involved a single county or burgh (city).
+
  
=== Sasine Records ===
+
Many courts were involved in actions regarding land. Some of the most important courts were:
  
The principle way of recording land transfer was through a document (sometimes referred to as an instrument) called a "sasine." The sasine was proof that a change of ownership had taken place.
+
*Chancery Courts
 +
*Court of Session
 +
*Sheriff Courts
 +
*Burgh Courts
 +
*Commissary Courts
 +
*Regality Courts
  
'''General Sasine Records.''' Before 1617 some general sasine records were kept in the Notorial Protocol books (registers kept by notary publics of the legal transactions they recorded). These are at the Scottish Record Office at http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/.
+
===  ===
  
Between 1599 and 1609, the Secretary of State kept some general sasine records in the Secretary’s Registers. Only seven of the original seventeen districts still exist. The Secretary’s Registers are indexed. Both the Scottish Record Office and the Family History Library have the original records and indexes (FHL book Q941 B4sp vols. 7, 16, 18, 23, 47, 55, 61; films 896586, 896590-1, 896593, 896602, 896604, and 896606).
+
=== Property-related Records  ===
  
From 1617 to 1868 general sasine records were kept in a register called the ''Old General Register''.
+
In general, there are four types of Scottish land and property records, explained in the following articles:
  
From 1869 on, sasine records have been kept in the ''New General Register''. This is available at the Scottish Record Office.
+
*[[Service of Heirs or Retours|Service of Heirs or Retours]]
 +
*[[Sasines|Sasines]]
 +
*[[Deeds|Deeds]]
 +
*[[Scotland Estate Records|Estate Records]]<br>
  
You can find Family History Library microfilm numbers for general sasine registers by looking in the Locality Search of the catalog under:
+
=== Valuation Rolls  ===
  
SCOTLAND - LAND AND PROPERTY.
+
Taxes were determined by the value of the land. These records are called 'valuation rolls' and exist sporadically before 1855. The book entitled "Directory of Landownership in Scotland circa 1770" is based in part on the valuation rolls for that year. The FHL has only a few of these records and most are listed in the NAS online catalog with the reference of VR. To learn more about these records go to [http://www.nas.gov.uk/guides/valuationRolls.asp http://www.nas.gov.uk/guides/valuationRolls.asp]<br>
  
You can also look in the following book:
+
=== Ultimus Haeres  ===
  
''Sasines, Services of Heirs, and Deeds Register''. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family History Library, 1981. (FHL book 941 R2ss; fiche 6054478.)
+
If a person died 'intestate' (without leaving a document for probate) and had no known heirs, the Crown was the 'last heir' or 'ultimus haeres.' There is no succession to or through the mother for either heritable or moveable property. If the deceased has only relatives on his mother's side of the family, including half-brothers and sisters, they could not directly inherit. However, relatives could '''petition''' the Crown to inherit a portion of an estate. Location of these petitions are handled as follows:
  
'''Particular Registers.''' The particular registers (sasine registers kept by counties) cover from 1617 to 1868. The original records are at the Scottish Record Office. The Family History Library has:
+
*Grants of petitions for moveable property before 1834 were recorded under the Privy Seal. Indexes survive in various forms including minute books.&nbsp;
 +
*Grants of petitions for heritable property before 1834 are sporadic and unindexed.
 +
*Records since 1834 are more consistent and complete and are indexed by the name of the deceased.  
 +
*The petitions are part of the collection of the Exchequer (NAS online catalogue reference E).  
 +
*The Family History Library does not have the petitions on microfilm.<br>
  
* The minute books.
+
=== For More Information  ===
* Abridgements, which give selected parts of original records for both the general register and the particular registers.
+
* Indexes of persons and places to the abridgements, on microfilm.
+
  
Royal burghs often kept their own sasine registers. Until 1681 land transactions were also recorded in the ''Notorial Protocol'' books (registers kept by notary publics of the legal transactions they recorded).
+
For more information about sasine, service of heir, deeds, and other Scottish land and property records, see the following website and books:
  
The Family History Library and the Scottish Record Office have burgh registers. The chart below lists the burgh registers available and whether the Family History Library and Scottish Record Office have them.
+
[http://www.nas.gov.uk/ National Archives of Scotland] Look at the "Guides to Records".  
  
'''Burgh Records Held by the Family History Library and the Scottish Record Office'''
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Dobson, David. ''Scottish-American Heirs 1683-1883.'' Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990. (Family History Library {{FHL|941 D2d|disp=book 941 D2d}}.)
  
{| class="plain"
+
''Encyclopedia of the Laws of Scotland.'' 16 vols and 2 supps. Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Green &amp; Son, Limited, 1926. (Family History Library {{FHL|941 P36e|disp=book 941 P36e}}.)
|-
+
|
+
|
+
|
+
|
+
|
+
|
+
| '''A'''
+
| '''D'''
+
| Forres
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| '''K'''
+
| New Galloway
+
| '''S'''
+
|-
+
| Aberdeen*
+
| Dingwall
+
| '''G'''
+
| Kinghorn*
+
| Newburgh*
+
| Sanquhar*
+
|-
+
| Annan*
+
| Dornoch
+
| Glasgow+
+
| Kintore*
+
| North Berwick*
+
| Selkirk*
+
|-
+
| Ansturther Wester
+
| Dumbarton*
+
| '''H'''
+
| Kirkcaldy*
+
| '''P'''
+
| St. Andrews*
+
|-
+
| Arbroath*
+
| Dumfries*
+
| Haddington*
+
| Kirkcudbright*
+
| Paisley
+
| Stirling*
+
|-
+
| Auchtermucty*
+
| Dunbar*
+
| Hawich
+
| Kirkwall*
+
| Peebles*
+
| Stranraer
+
|-
+
| Ayr*
+
| Dundee*
+
| '''I'''
+
| '''L'''
+
| Perth*
+
| '''T'''
+
|-
+
| '''B'''
+
| Dunfermline*
+
| Inverbervie*
+
| Lanark*
+
| Pittenweem
+
| Tain
+
|-
+
| Banff*
+
| Dysart*
+
| Inverkeithing*
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| Lauder*
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| '''Q'''
+
| '''W'''
+
|-
+
| Brechin
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| '''E'''
+
| Inverness
+
| Linlightow*
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| Queensferry*
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| Whithorn
+
|-
+
| Burntisland*
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| Edinburgh*
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| Inverurie*
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| Lochmaben*
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| '''R'''
+
| Wigtown
+
|-
+
| '''C'''
+
| Elgin
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| Irvine*
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| '''M'''
+
| Renfrew
+
|
+
|-
+
| Crail
+
| Elie and Earlsferry*
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| '''J'''
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| Montrose*
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| Rothesay*
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|
+
|-
+
| Cullen*
+
| '''F'''
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| Jedburgh*
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| Mussellburgh
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| Rutherglen*
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|
+
|-
+
| Culross*
+
| Falkland
+
|
+
| '''N'''
+
|
+
|
+
|-
+
| Cupar*
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| Forfar*
+
|
+
| Nairn
+
|
+
|
+
|}
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{| class="plain"
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Gibb, Andrew Dewar. ''Students’ Glossary of Scottish Legal Terms.'' Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Green &amp; Son, Ltd., 1946. (Family History Library {{FHL|138057|title-id|disp=book 941 P36g}}.)
|-
+
|
+
|}
+
  
{| class="plain"
+
Gouldesbrough, Peter. ''Formulary of Old Scots Legal Documents.'' Vol. 36. Edinburgh, Scotland: The Stair Society, 1985. (Family History Library {{FHL|437197|title-id|disp=book 941 B4st v.36}}.)
|-
+
|
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| <nowiki>*= The Family History Library has some burgh sasines for these burghs.</nowiki>
+
|-
+
| += The Family History Library has some burgh sasines, but the Scottish Record Office does not.
+
|}
+
  
You can find Family History Library microfilm numbers for the burgh registers in the Locality Search of the catalog under:
+
''An Introductory Survey of the Sources and Literature of Scots Law.'' Vol. 1. The Stair Society. Edinburgh, Scotland: Robert Maclehose &amp; Co., Ltd. for The Stair Society, 1936. (Family History Library{{FHL|248949|title-id|disp=book 941 B4st; film 1426033}}.)
  
SCOTLAND, [COUNTY], [BURGH] - LAND AND PROPERTY.
+
Sinclair, Cecil. ''Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Scottish Record Office.'' Edinburgh, Scotland: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990. (Family History Library {{FHL|941 D27s|disp=book 941 D27s}}.)
  
=== Services of Heirs ===
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{{Template:Pros-Scot}}
  
When lands were to be handed over to an heir, services of heirs documents were created through the following process:
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{{Place|Scotland}}
  
* A chancery court issued a brieve (document) to summon the local sheriffs to hold a jury trial.
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{{featured article}}
* The jury would determine whether the person was the legal heir.
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* The jury returned (retoured) their verdict to the chancery.
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* The chancery commissioned the sheriff to grant possession of the land to the heir and collect the fee payable to the crown.
+
  
Most people in Scotland did not own property, but the service of heirs records can be very useful if your ancestors owned their own land or houses. Some families can be traced for several generations through these records.
+
[[Category:Scotland|Land and Property]]
 
+
Inheritance land transactions should also appear in registers of sasines, especially after 1617.
+
 
+
"Special" services of heirs deal with specific land to be inherited. "General" services of heirs mention inheritances but not specific lands.
+
 
+
'''Availability of Records.''' The Scottish Record Office has the original service of heir records. The Family History Library has printed abstracts of services to heirs from 1544 to 1700:
+
 
+
''Inquisition ad capellam domini regis refornatarum abbreviatio.'' [Scotland]: n.p., 1811-1816. (FHL book Q 941 A2i; film 908847.) These records are in Latin.
+
 
+
The library also has microfilm copies of original records from 1586 to 1901. Each volume is indexed. To find the microfilm numbers, look in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
+
 
+
SCOTLAND - LAND AND PROPERTY
+
 
+
'''Indexes.''' Annotated ten-year indexes are in print for service of heir records created between 1700 and 1860. After 1860, there are annual indexes. Both the Scottish Record Office and the Family History Library have these indexes.
+
 
+
From 1700 to 1959 the indexes are in book form (FHL book Q 941 R2ch). These indexes are very valuable because they give more information than just name and page. The information can help you decide if a certain service of heir is really the one you want. The actual records are difficult to read because they are in Latin. From 1700 to 1860, the indexes are on microfilm (FHL film 990340).
+
 
+
A list of indexes to service of heir records at the Family History Library is in:
+
 
+
''Sasines, Services of Heirs, and Deeds Register.'' Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family History Library, 1981. (FHL book 941 R2ss; fiche 6054478.)
+
 
+
The following book will be of special interest for people in North America using Scottish service of heir records:
+
 
+
Dobson, David. ''Scottish American Heirs 1683-1883''. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990. (FHL book 941 D2d.) This work names every Scot who is listed in the service of heirs records who has a North American tie.
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<div><center>
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{| class="MsoNormalTable"
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|-
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|
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<span>&nbsp;</span>
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&lt;center&gt;<span>Time Period</span><center></center>
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|
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<span>&nbsp;</span>
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<center><span>Kept by</span></center>
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|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
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<center><span>Records</span></center>
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|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
<center><span>Availability</span></center>
+
|-
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>1530-1700</span>
+
 
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>Chancery</span>
+
 
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>Summary &amp; Index Retours <span>&nbsp;</span>(1530-1700)</span>
+
 
+
<span>Printed Abstracts (in Latin) – called--</span>
+
 
+
''<span>Inquisitionum an Capellum Regis Retornatarum Abbreviato</span>''
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>NAS; FHL</span>
+
 
+
<span>NAS; FHL British Q 941 <span>&nbsp;</span>A2i &amp; film 908847</span>
+
 
+
<span><span>&nbsp;</span></span>
+
 
+
|-
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>1700-1959</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>Chancery</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>Retours (each volume indexed)</span>
+
 
+
<span>Indexes 1700-1959</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>NAS; FHL (1700-1901)</span>
+
 
+
<span>NAS; FHL British Q 941 R2ch</span>
+
 
+
|-
+
|
+
<span>1700-1860</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>Chancery</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>Indexes</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>NAS; FHL film 990340</span>
+
 
+
|-
+
|
+
<span>1855-1955</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>Chancery</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>Abstract of Services</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>NAS; FHL film 1441082</span>
+
 
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
|-
+
|
+
<span>1860-1929</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>Chancery</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>Indexes 1860-1929</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>NAS; FHL fiche 6068606</span>
+
 
+
|-
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>1586-1901</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>Chancery</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>Retours--Each volume indexed</span>
+
 
+
|
+
<span>&nbsp;</span>
+
 
+
<span>NAS; FHL film 231260</span>
+
 
+
|}
+
&lt;/center&gt;</center>
+
[[Category:Scotland]]<br>
+
</div>
+
<span>Note:<span>&nbsp;</span>Also found in Sheriff Courts, Regality Courts and Burgh Courts.</span>
+
 
+
=== Register of Deeds ===
+
 
+
The Register of Deeds is another type of land record. In the strictest sense of the word, the register of deeds was used to preserve any legal, written agreement. In addition to land transactions, you will find marriage contracts, contracts of partnership, contracts of sale, bonds, and so forth.
+
 
+
If a land transaction was recorded with a deed, you should also find a reference to the transaction in Sasine records.
+
 
+
Before 1532, deeds are scattered through the Notarial Protocol books. In 1532 when the Court of Session was established, the deeds were recorded in the session and the register was called ''Acta’ Dominorum Concilii et Sessionis''. In 1542 it was changed to the Acts and Decreets, which covers up to the year 1581.
+
 
+
The actual ''Register of Deeds'' begins in 1554, but deed transactions were not regularly recorded until 1661. The 1554 register was kept in three series.
+
 
+
The first series goes from 1554 to 1660 and is indexed from 1555 to 1595. The Family History Library has minute books (brief extracts of originals) that begin on 1542 and go to 1660. You can use these extracts instead of indexes.
+
 
+
The second series, from 1661 to 1811, has three sections: Durie, Dalrymple, and Mackenzie. (These are the names of the officer that kept the registers.) You will need to search all three sections.
+
 
+
The Scottish Record Office has the original records and available indexes. The Family History Library has:
+
 
+
* Printed indexes from 1661 to 1696 (36 volumes).
+
* Copies of manuscript indexes from 1770 to 1811, granters (grantors) only.
+
* Minute books from 1661 to 1770 for the Mackenzie section and from 1661 to 1772 for Durie and Dalrymple.
+
 
+
The third series is from 1812 onward. Manuscript indexes are available for the whole period. The indexes, the original records, and minute books are available at the Scottish Record Office. The Family History Library has indexes from 1812 to 1851 on microfilm.
+
 
+
To find deed records at the Family History Library, look in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under SCOTLAND, LAND AND PROPERTY. The following book also lists film numbers:
+
 
+
''Sasines, Services of Heirs, and Deeds Register''. (FHL book 941 R2ss; fiche 6054478.)
+
 
+
You will also find deeds recorded in sheriff courts, commissary courts, and burgh records. Many of these have been deposited in the Scottish Record Office. Most are not indexed, so you will have to search them year by year.
+
 
+
=== For More Information ===
+
 
+
For more information about sasine, service of heir, deeds, and other Scottish land and property records, see the following books:
+
 
+
Dobson, David. ''Scottish-American Heirs 1683-1883.'' Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990. (FHL book 941 D2d.)
+
 
+
''Encyclopedia of the Laws of Scotland.'' 16 vols and 2 supps. Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Green &amp; Son, Limited, 1926. (FHL book 941 P36e.)
+
 
+
Gibb, Andrew Dewar. ''Students’ Glossary of Scottish Legal Terms.'' Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Green &amp; Son, Ltd., 1946. (FHL book 941 P36g.)
+
 
+
Gouldesbrough, Peter. ''Formulary of Old Scots Legal Documents.'' Vol. 36. Edinburgh, Scotland: The Stair Society, 1985. (FHL book 941 B4st v.36.)
+
 
+
''An Introductory Survey of the Sources and Literature of Scots Law.'' Vol. 1. The Stair Society. Edinburgh, Scotland: Robert Maclehose &amp; Co., Ltd. for The Stair Society, 1936. (FHL book 941 B4st; film 1426033.)
+
 
+
Sinclair, Cecil. ''Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Scottish Record Office.'' Edinburgh, Scotland: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990. (FHL book 941 D27s.)
+

Revision as of 21:49, 19 December 2012

Cottage, Pitmedden Garden - geograph.org.uk - 507812.jpg

Land records can help you determine where and when your family lived in a specific place. Sometimes these records will be based on inheritance, and such records will often mention two or more generations of a family. In Scotland the land system had feudal roots in which the crown owned all of the land.

Contents

Jurisdictions

Many courts were involved in actions regarding land. Some of the most important courts were:

  • Chancery Courts
  • Court of Session
  • Sheriff Courts
  • Burgh Courts
  • Commissary Courts
  • Regality Courts

Property-related Records

In general, there are four types of Scottish land and property records, explained in the following articles:

Valuation Rolls

Taxes were determined by the value of the land. These records are called 'valuation rolls' and exist sporadically before 1855. The book entitled "Directory of Landownership in Scotland circa 1770" is based in part on the valuation rolls for that year. The FHL has only a few of these records and most are listed in the NAS online catalog with the reference of VR. To learn more about these records go to http://www.nas.gov.uk/guides/valuationRolls.asp

Ultimus Haeres

If a person died 'intestate' (without leaving a document for probate) and had no known heirs, the Crown was the 'last heir' or 'ultimus haeres.' There is no succession to or through the mother for either heritable or moveable property. If the deceased has only relatives on his mother's side of the family, including half-brothers and sisters, they could not directly inherit. However, relatives could petition the Crown to inherit a portion of an estate. Location of these petitions are handled as follows:

  • Grants of petitions for moveable property before 1834 were recorded under the Privy Seal. Indexes survive in various forms including minute books. 
  • Grants of petitions for heritable property before 1834 are sporadic and unindexed.
  • Records since 1834 are more consistent and complete and are indexed by the name of the deceased.
  • The petitions are part of the collection of the Exchequer (NAS online catalogue reference E).
  • The Family History Library does not have the petitions on microfilm.

For More Information

For more information about sasine, service of heir, deeds, and other Scottish land and property records, see the following website and books:

National Archives of Scotland Look at the "Guides to Records".

Dobson, David. Scottish-American Heirs 1683-1883. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1990. (Family History Library book 941 D2d.)

Encyclopedia of the Laws of Scotland. 16 vols and 2 supps. Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Green & Son, Limited, 1926. (Family History Library book 941 P36e.)

Gibb, Andrew Dewar. Students’ Glossary of Scottish Legal Terms. Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Green & Son, Ltd., 1946. (Family History Library book 941 P36g.)

Gouldesbrough, Peter. Formulary of Old Scots Legal Documents. Vol. 36. Edinburgh, Scotland: The Stair Society, 1985. (Family History Library book 941 B4st v.36.)

An Introductory Survey of the Sources and Literature of Scots Law. Vol. 1. The Stair Society. Edinburgh, Scotland: Robert Maclehose & Co., Ltd. for The Stair Society, 1936. (Family History Librarybook 941 B4st; film 1426033.)

Sinclair, Cecil. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Scottish Record Office. Edinburgh, Scotland: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990. (Family History Library book 941 D27s.)