Scotland Archives and Libraries
- 1 Archives
- 2 National Archives
- 3 The Registrar General
- 4 The British National Archives
- 5 Regional and District Archives
- 6 Special Archives
- 7 Published Inventories, Catalogs, and Schedules
- 8 Libraries
- 9 Inventories, Guides, Catalogs, and Directories
Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for Scotland.
If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about its collection, hours, services, and fees. Ask if they require you to have a reader’s ticket (a paper indicating you are a responsible researcher) to view the records, and ask how to obtain one.
Although the records you need are in an archive or library, the Family History Library may have printed or microfilmed copies of them.
In Scotland, several types of repositories have records of value to the family historian.
Scottish Record Office. This office collects government, legal, and other records for which they are the most suitable repository. You need a reader’s ticket to use its collection.
Scottish Record Office
HM General Register House
Edinburgh EH1 3YY
Guides to this record office are:
Sinclair, Cecil. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors:A Guide to Ancestry Research in the Scottish Record Office. Edinburgh, Scotland: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990, 1994.
The National Inventory of Documentary Sources includes other inventories and catalogs from this record office.
The Registrar General
This office contains:
- Records of births
- Deaths from 1855 to the present
- Old Parochial Registers.
General Search Unit
New Register House
Edinburgh EH1 3YT
The British National Archives
This office collects records of the British government (such as parliamentary papers) and law courts from 1086 to the present. It is in England but has many Scottish records. You need a reader’s ticket to use its collection.
The National Archives
Ruskin Avenue, Kew
Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU
A guide to this repository is:
Bevan, Amanda, and Andrea Duncan. Tracing Your Ancestors in the Public Record Office. 4th. ed. London, England: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1990. (FHL book 942 A5p no. 19 1990.)
Regional and District Archives
Regional and district archives collect records about the areas that they cover. These archives may have valuable records to help you in your search for your ancestors.
The Scottish Records Association has published a brief summary (datasheet) of the holdings of regional and district archives. To find the number of the datasheet for the archive you want, see the back page of:
Scottish Records Association Conference Report. No. 15 1990. Edinburgh: Scottish Records Association, 1983-. (FHL book 941 J55s No. 15 Oct 1990.) The book call number for the datasheets is FHL book 941 J55d No. 6.
To obtain addresses for the regional and district archives, consult the following books:
Foster, Janet, and Julia Sheppard. British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the United Kingdom. 3rd ed. New York: Stockton Press Ltd., 1995. (FHL book 942 J54f 1995.)
Libraries in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. 18th edition. London, England: The Library Association Publishing Limited, 1992. (FHL book 942 A5lu.)
Dunsire, Gordon, and Brian Osborne, eds.'''Scottish Library and Information Resources. Motherwell: Scottish Library Association, 1991. (FHL book 941 J54s.)
City, occupational, and ecclesiastical archives also hold family history information. The holdings and services of these places vary widely. The book, British Archives, listed under "Regional and District Archives," gives more information about special archives.
Published Inventories, Catalogs,
Most archives have:
- Periodicals that describe their collections and how to use them.
If possible, study these guides before visiting so you can use your time more effectively.
National Library of Scotland
This library houses manuscript material relating to Scotland, such as:
- Historical documents
- Family papers
- Archives of organizations
- A reader’s ticket is required.
National Library of Scotland
Department of Manuscripts
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EW
University libraries house:
- Family papers
- Estate records
- Other historical Material
- Genealogical material
Three main university libraries are:
Aberdeen University Library
Manuscripts and Archive Section
Aberdeen AB9 2UB
University of Edinburgh Library
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Public libraries collect many published sources such as:
- Local histories
- City directories
- Family histories
- Parish registers
Some libraries collect completed indexes and published materials from the local family history societies. The books mentioned in the previous section, "Regional and District Archives," also list addresses of public libraries.
Local History Libraries
Local history library staff collect and write histories of the people and places in their locale. Addresses for the local history libraries are available in:
Malcolm Pinhorn. Historical, Archaeological and Kindred Societies in the United Kingdom: A List. Isle of Wight, Scotland: Pinhorns, 1986. (FHL book 942 C4h 1986.)
Inventories, Guides, Catalogs, and Directories
The Family History Library Catalog lists many published inventories, guides, catalogs, and directories for archives and libraries under:
SCOTLAND - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
SCOTLAND, [COUNTY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
SCOTLAND, [COUNTY][CITY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
A microfiche collection of inventories, calendars (lists), and finding aids for British archives, libraries, and museums is:
National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This repository provides a detailed listing of the:
- Sometimes individual documents contained in various collections
- Document numbers, which you can use to order copies of the documents you want.
These calendars are invaluable in helping you determine which documents may be useful to your research.
A name and subject index to this collection is:
Index to NIDS, National Inventory of Documentary Sources. London, England: Chadwyck-Healey, 1986-. (FHL fiche 6341118; FHL compact disc 1313 no. 10.)
You can find the inventories and calendars by looking in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under one of the following headings. Then, find the specific archive you are interested in:
SCOTLAND - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS - INDEXES
SCOTLAND, [COUNTY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS - INDEXES
SCOTLAND, [COUNTY], [CITY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS - INDEXES
The inventories and catalogs included in the National Inventory of Documentary Sources are listed as finding aids. To see a complete list of the record offices, archives, and repositories included in the National Inventory of Documentary Sources look in the Author/Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog on microfiche under:
NATIONAL INVENTORY OF DOCUMENTARY SOURCES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND.
A guide to the archives and libraries in Great Britain is:
Foster, Janet, and Julia Sheppard. British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the United Kingdom. 3rd ed. New York: Stockton Press Ltd., 1995. (FHL book 942 J54f 1995.) This guide lists:
- Major records
- Publications of various repositories in the United Kingdom.
It is indexed by county and by type of collection.
You can find what information the Family History Library has on these repositories and their holdings by looking in the Family History Library Catalog under:
GREAT BRITAIN - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
SCOTLAND - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
SCOTLAND - [COUNTY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
SCOTLAND, [COUNTY], [CITY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
A cooperative effort made by many genealogical and historical societies to list databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for parishes and counties.