Scotland Protocol Books

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Protocol books are notebooks which lawyers in Scotland, known as Notaries Public, were required to keep as a record of their work. These are very few in number, and most have been poorly completed, but the better examples have been published, either by the Scottish Record Society or by local heritage-type societies. The surviving books date from the late 1400s up to the 17th century.

Before using protocol books learn something about the medieval legal structure of Scotland. Most burghs (local councils) employed notaries to record all their legal transactions.

Before using this record search other records of sasines - land transfers - as most entries in protocol books are of this type. You should also refer to the Register of the Great Seal (records of charters granted under the authority of the king), as there may be links between the two types of record.

Where to find Protocol Books. Almost all original protocol books are held by the National Records of Scotland, in Edinburgh. As these are best read in printed format, in English rather than Latin, You should refer to the volumes published by the Scottish Record Society and some local societies.

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