Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy



National Archives of Scotland, HM General Register House, Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YY
(Formerly the Scottish Record Office.)

Access Open to the public, but you will need some official identification (driving licence, passport) on your first visit, when you will be issued with a readers’ ticket (valid for up to three years). Not all records are stored on site, so 24-48 hours notice may be required for some records to be brought to the search room. It is best therefore to check in advance the location of the records you are interested in.
Register House Plans: This series contains over 100,000 hand-drawn and printed maps and plans, which come from various sources: government departments, agencies and other public bodies, nationalised industries, the courts, churches, landed estates, businesses and other private organisations. It also includes copies of plans held privately or by other archives and libraries. Computerised searches of the catalogue can be made in the Search Rooms.
Property records: Register of Sasines records the sale and purchase of heritable (landed) property: the General Register, covering the whole of Scotland (1617-1868); Particular or County Registers (c.1617 to current); Burgh registers (c.1681-1963). Notaries Protocol Books (1510-1936) record sasines of people from all walks of life. (Some have been published by the Scottish Record Society.) Retours and Services of Heirs record the entry of heirs to their property from c.1545. (Some are available in print.) Some estate records of landed families.
Taxation records: hearth tax 1690s; 18C window tax etc.; Valuation Rolls list proprietors, tenants and occupiers 1855-1975.
Burgh Records: The records of some burghs, such as Perth and Stirling, are deposited in local archives. Many have been printed by the Scottish Burgh Records Society.
Church Records: The kirk session records of parish churches, mainly from the mid-17C.
Wills from the 16C to the present day. (Indexes to 1800 published by the Scottish Record Society).
Texts and calendars by the Scottish Record Office are listed in Mullins with additions in Stevenson.
National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL

Collection of topographical drawings.
Catalogue National Gallery of Scotland, Catalogue of Scottish Drawings.

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Access Not generally open to the public, or to undergraduates. Access is restricted to those whose needs cannot be met by other libraries.
Collection The Manuscript Division holds a number of monastic cartularies, the papers of John Rennie and family and estate papers from most parts of Scotland, including those of the Sutherland estates, and the Saltoun and Minto papers. There is also a large map library.
Catalogue National Library of Scotland, Catalogue of Manuscripts Acquired since 1925, 3 vols (1938, 1966, 1968).
Online Catalogue The online catalogue of MSS is currently limited in scope, but a list of the main MSS collections is available.
National Monuments Record of Scotland, John Sinclair House, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 9NX

Collection of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
Online Catalogue The Commission’s database can now be searched online via CANMORE. It holds the details of thousands of archaeological sites, monuments and historic buildings, with an index to drawings and MSS.
National Register of Archives for Scotland

Compiles records of collections of private papers in Scotland, both those still held in private hands and those now deposited in local archives and libraries. Copies of the Register can be consulted in the search rooms of the National Archives of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Quality House, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London.


Scottish Archives Network is in the process of converting the top level catalogues of 50 archives in Scotland into electronic format. Some are already available online.

Some national repositories in England have collections covering the whole of the British Isles

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