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Tuesday 28 February 2017

What records are in the National Archives of Scotland?

The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) keeps records created by Scottish government, as well as private records created by businesses, landed estates, families, courts, churches and other corporate bodies.

Records not in the NAS

The NAS is not the only repository of historical records in Scotland. Important family history records (including birth, death and marriage registers, and census returns) are held in the General Register Office for Scotland. Many of Scotland's local authorities, universities, health boards, and other corporate bodies also keep historical records and maintain archive services. Some government records relating to Scotland (including ship passenger lists and modern military records) are held by The National Archives (in London). Find out more about records held elsewhere.

Main categories of records in the NAS

Records of pre-1707 Scottish crown, parliament and government; records of the post-1886 Scottish Office and Scottish Government.

Legal registers
Registers of deeds and sasines; services of heirs.

Records of the Court of Session, the High Court of Justiciary, sheriff courts (including adoption records) and commissary courts.

Kirk session, presbytery and synod records for the Church of Scotland, Free Church, and various dissenting ('seceding') congregations; records of the Scottish Episcopal Church; copies of the records of baptisms, marriages and burials for Roman Catholics before 1855. Note that Church of Scotland baptisms, marriages and burials are held by the General Register Office for Scotland although there are a small number of records of baptisms for 1843-1860 held by the NAS.

Nationalised industries and transport
Records of the rail and canal systems, coal, gas, electricity, steel and shipbuilding industries.

Local authorities
Valuation rolls for all Scottish counties and burghs 1855-1995; records of some burghs, county councils, justices of the peace and other local authorities.

Private and corporate bodies
Family, legal and estate papers; records of businesses, societies and institutions.

Maps and plans
Maps, plans, architectural and technical drawings from government departments, nationalised industries, transport systems, courts, churches, private and corporate bodies.

Find out more about the NAS search rooms.

Find out how to carry out research remotely by searching online, or by enquiring by post, e-mail, telephone or fax.
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