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Scotland

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"Scotland is bounded by the north by The North Sea; and on the east, by the German ocean; to the south-east, by the liberties of Berwick, and by England; on the south, by the Solway frith (sic) and the Irish sea; and on the west, by the Atlantic ocean. The line of its boundary on the south-east from a point 3 miles north of Berwick to the head of the Solway frith at the embouchure of the Sark, measures, inclusive of sinuosities, about 117 miles. This line has very numerous but not great windings; and, over great part of its length, is very capricious, and not physically marked. The curious reader may trace it by reference to our articles on the counties of Berwick, Roxburgh, and Dumfries, whose southern boundary-lines are identical with this. Popular language is utterly at fault in speaking of Scotland as the part of Britain which lies north of the Tweed; that river running in the interior till 18 miles before it reaches the sea, and having on its left bank, for the last 4 of these miles, the liberties of Berwick. Scotland, as to its mainland, lies between 54° 41’ and 58° 41’ north latitude, and 1° 43’ and 5° 38’ west longitude; and, including its islands, it extends to 60° 49’ north latitude, and 8° 55’ west longitude. 

The greatest length of the mainland, in a line due north, or very nearly so, is from the Mull of Galloway to Cape Wrath, and measures 274 miles. The greatest length of it in any possible direction is from the Mull of Galloway to Dunnet-head, and measures 280 miles. its breadth, from St. Abb’s head in Berwickshire to the point of Knap in Argyleshire, is 134 miles; from the mouth of the South Esk in Forfarshire to Ardnamurchan-point in Argyleshire, is 137 miles; and from Buchanness in Aberdeenshire to the extremity of Applecross in Ness-shire, is 146 miles. North of the Moray frith, the greatest breadth, from Duncansby-head to Cape-Wrath, is only 70 wiles; and the least from the Dornoch frith to Loch-Broom, is 36. The whole country is so penetrated by friths and inlets of the sea, that it constantly and very widely varies in breadth, and has no spot which is upwards of 40 miles inland. The area, partly as ascertained by the Ordnance survey, partly as computed on the best other authorities, is 19,639,377 statute acres, or about 30,685 square miles. This excludes all sea-inlets below low-water mark, but includes about 155,000 acres of inland lakes. The Ordnance survey has long been in progress, and, at the end of 1864, had completed 15,400 square miles. The report to the Board of Agriculture made the area, exclusive of water, to about 18,944,000 acres, or 29,600 square miles; and estimated the cultivated lands at 5,013,450 acres,—the uncultivated at 13,900,550."

From the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by Rev. John Marius Wilson, 1868.

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Archives & Libraries

Scotland - Archives and Libraries - links and information.

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Bibliography

Scotland - Bibliography - links and information.

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Biography

Scotland - Biography - links and information.

There are many books which might be useful here, but some include:

  • The Scottish Nation: or the surnames, families, literature, honours and biographical history of the people of Scotland by William Anderson, published in 3 volumes between 1866 and 1877.
  • A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen by Robert Chambers, first published in 1835 at London.
  • Chambers Scottish Biographical Dictionary, edited by Rosemary Goring, and published at Edinburgh by Chambers in 1992 (468 pages)
  • Dictionary of National Biography, published since 1885 and also on CD-ROM. The latest edition, the Oxford DNB published 2004 is available online. Searches are free, detail biographies can be obtained by paying, but many libraries have subscriptions which can often be used by library card holders from their home computers.
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Business & Commerce Records

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Cemeteries

  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorates the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Their cemeteries, burial plots and memorials are a lasting tribute to those who died in some 154 countries across the world. Details of Commonwealth war dead are recorded so that graves or names on memorials can be located. Cemetery details are provided, including cemetery plans and photographs.
  • The Scottish Genealogy Society has published many booklets of monumental inscriptions and also has a large collection of lists at its library in Edinburgh. Many local societies are publishing lists for their own areas. See individual counties for more details (where available).
  • The Find-a-Grave page gives details of the graves of the rich and famous together with biographical information.
  • The Carved Stones Adviser Project is to survey the condition of stones and burial grounds in Scotland, seeks volunteers to make surveys, and gives advice on recording the condition and information on grave stones. It is a project of The Council for Scottish Archaeology and Historic Scotland.
  • The Scottish War Graves Project
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Census

Scotland - Census - links and information.

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Chronology

An interactive Timeline of Scottish History provided by the National Library of Scotland.

The Scottish History Timeline provides an alternative route to access the Gazetteer for Scotland.

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Church Directories

  • Scottish Post Office Directories Overview of church directories published by the Post Office and private publishers in Scotland between 1773 and 1911.
  • Scotland's Churches Trust The website of Scotland's Churches Trust opens the door to Scotland's story by exploring living traditions of faith across the country.
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Church History

Scotland - Church History - links and information.

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Church Records

Scotland - Church Records - links and information.

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Civil Registration

Scotland - Civil Registration - links and information.

  • Recording Angels: Scottish Registrars since 1855, by the National Records of Scotland, throws light on how the registrars worked, as knowing more about the history of the records that they created can sometimes help family historian with their research.
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Colonisation

  • Darien Colony - An expedition of five ships was sent on 14 July 1698 to create a Scots colony on the Isthmus of Panama. It was hoped that the colony of ‘New Caledonia’ would generate trade with the Far East. Some believe that this tragic endeavour led to Scotland believing it could not survive without English assistance, thus leading to the 1707 Acts of Union.
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Correctional Institutions

  • Crime and Punishment published by The National Records of Scotland examines the nature of crime and punishment in Scotland between the 16th and 20th centuries. 28 pages, ISBN 0 870874 33 1.
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Court Records

Various court records are held at The National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. These records include records of testaments and inventories, as well as civil and criminal court records.

Court Records held by the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

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Description & Travel

There are many websites which can be helpful for finding out about Scotland, whether you are planning to visit or not. Here are just a few of them (in no particular order):

  • Scotland.org
  • Scottish Tourist Board
  • About Scotland
  • Travel Scotland
  • Historic Scotland
  • Introducing Scotland from Lonely Planet
  • Friends of Scotland - Aspects of contemporary Scotland including culture, education and business, a website supported by government.
  • Statistical Accounts of Scotland - not just statistics, "Accounts of Scottish life from the 18th and 19th centuries" with a mass of descriptive information on a parish-by-parish basis.
  • The Old Home Town has photographs and comments about various communities, which include Cromarty, Orkney, Invergordon, Tain, Fortrose and Rosemarkie, Inverness.
  • Geograph is a co-operative project aiming to put a photograph from every 1 kilometre grid square of the UK and Ireland free on Internet. At November 2014 it has almost 4,223,000 images covering 82% of grid squares including photos of churches, and many town and village centres and streets.
You can see pictures of Scotland which are provided by:

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Directories

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Dwellings

  • The DiCamillo Companion to British and Irish Country Houses aims to list details of every country house ever built. There is a mass of information about history, architects, owners, estates, access, use as film sets, etc. You can search by county or town, as well as by house or owner name, etc.
  • Raising the Bar, an introduction to Scotland's Historic Pubs, by Historic Scotland.
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Emigration & Immigration

  • For general information see our United Kingdom and Ireland Emigration and Immigration page.
  • For a published guide on the subject, see Scots Overseas - A Selected Bibliography by D. Whyte, published by the Scottish Association of Family History Societies.
  • Scottish Archives Network provides an article My ancestor was an emigrant with good information and links, and a searchable database for the Highlands and Islands Emigration Society.
  • Iain Kerr has written an article entitled Scots-Irish and the Clearances - The movement of people between Scotland and Ireland - an onward emigration to North America, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Cultural Impact of the Highland Clearances
  • The Stonemason by Douglas MacGowan is based on Donald Macleod's Chronicle of Scotland's Highland Clearances. Douglas MacGowan had a good website on the clearances, but as of June 2005 it seems not to be available.
  • One mailing list dealing with Scots emigrants to a specific area of the world is Cape-Fear-Scots. Browse up and down from there to see other email lists for Scots emigration.
  • Ellis Island was the main place of entry of immigrants to the United States. "It has been estimated that nearly half of all Americans today can trace their family history to at least one person who passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island." The American Family Immigration History Centre with partners including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provide a searchable database of immigrants, and much background information.
  • Pier 21 in Halifax was Canada's "front door" for immigrants, troops, and evacuees from 1928 to 1971. It was opened as a museum in 1999, and has a website with photos of ships, accounts by immigrants, and a good page of links to immigration websites in Canada and other countries.
  • British and Irish Immigration to New Zealand 1840-1914 from NZHistory.net includes Regional origins of Scots migrants.
  • The Scottish who came to Australia on Electric Scotland - extracts from this book by Malcolm D Prentis, published 1983 or 1987 in the Australian Ethnic Heritage Series from AE press. There are many databases and records of immigrants to Australia, e.g. to New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria.
  • Highland and Island Emigration Society Archive Almost 5,000 people who left Scotland to make a new life in Australia between 1852 and 1857 are recorded in the archive of the Highland and Island Emigration Society in National Records of Scotland. This all-new database (2019) supersedes the transcript that has been available through the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) website. The entries and images are all free to search and view.
  • Trove (The National Library of Australia) provides free access to over 460 million books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archive collections. An amazing resource including over 700 Australian newspapers, this collection, digitized by Trove (The National Library of Australia), covers newspapers from 1803 to the mid-20th century. Each Australian state and territory is represented, although the bulk of the collection consists of newspapers from New South Wales and Victoria.
  • Scottish Strays Marriage Index is provided online by the Anglo-Scottish Family History Society. Members and others have contributed details of marriages outside Scotland where one partner was from Scotland.
  • Some Border Marriage Index Strays from Berwickshire, Dumfrieshire, Peebleshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire, containing names extracted from the Marriage Index (1853-1895) of Victoria, Australia.
  • Researching From Abroad - a GENUKI guide, largely addressing researching from North America.
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Encyclopaedias & Dictionaries

  • For a general guide to Scotland, see Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland, edited by John Keay and Julia Keay and published by Harper Collins in 1994. 1046 pages, ISBN 0 00 255082 2.
  • A useful resource for Scottish genealogists is Lawrence R. Burness' A Scottish Historian's Glossary, published by the Scottish Association of Family History Societies.
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Gazetteers

  • The GENUKI Gazetteer covers the whole of England, Scotland and Wales and can be searched by place-name (or part of a place-name) or Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (six-figure, e.g. NZ183848). If there are multiple place-names matching the name you enter, you will initially be presented with a drop-down list of the matching place-names.
  • Scottish researchers may also be interested in the online Gazetteer for Scotland. A joint venture between the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, it has (at Nov 2014) over 22,400 entries. The Gazetteer for Scotland is a vast encyclopaedia, featuring details of towns, villages, bens and glens from the Scottish Borders to the Northern Isles. The first comprehensive gazetteer produced for Scotland since 1885, it includes tourist attractions, industries and historical sites, together with histories of family names and biographies of famous people associated with Scotland.
  • Our Summary of Scotland's Places (link temporarily disabled while corrections are being made) connects to selected links on ScotlandsPlaces, giving quick access to maps showing county and parish locations.
  • See also the Names, Geographical section on this page.
  • Gazetteer of British Place Names - Notes for Historians and Genealogists. The Gazetteer of British Place Names, whilst intended primarily as a contemporary gazetteer, is also a valuable resource to historians and genealogists.
  • Places in Scotland which lay in a registration county of a different name to their historic county in the 1861 Census.
    At the time of the 1861 Census of Scotland, some parishes lay in more than one county. For the purposes of the Census of 1861 each parish was considered to be wholly a part of a single registration county. A table lists the parishes concerned, their relationships and their assigned registration county.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

FETLAR-AND-NORTH-YELL, a parish, in the county of Shetland; containing 1745 inhabitants, of whom 761 are in Fetlar, 36 miles (N. by E.) from Lerwick. This parish, which is situated nearly at the northern extremity of the Shetland Isles, consists of the island of Fetlar and the northern part of that of Yell. The former is bounded on the north by the channel separating it from the islands of Unst and Uyea, on the south by the wide channel which divides it from Whalsey island and the Mainland, on the east by the German Ocean, and on the west by Colgrave Sound, separating it from the island of Yell. North Yell is bounded on the west and north by the Northern Ocean, and on the east by the firth called Blue-Mull Sound, which divides it from the island of Unst. Fetlar measures about seven miles in length and four in breadth, comprising 786¾ merks of land under cultivation (a merk being about three quarters of an acre), and between 10,000 and 12,000 acres which, with the exception of 1200, are undivided common. North Yell is six miles long and five broad, and contains 634 merks of cultivated, and from 12,000 to 15,000 acres of uncultivated land. The situation is bleak, and the surface hilly; but there are no lofty elevations, the highest grounds not rising more than 300 feet above the level of the sea, and being, in each district, alternated with tolerably fertile valleys. Both the islands are singularly irregular in figure, and the coast is indented with fissures, creeks, and bays of various extent. Of the last the principal in Fetlar are those of Aith, Tresta, Strand, Mowick, Funzie, Gruting voe, and Urie bay, where a kind of pier has lately been erected; but none of these are considered safe harbours. North Yell, in this respect, has much the advantage: the bays of Basta voe and Cullivoe form excellent retreats and landing-places; besides which, it has the bays of Papal and Gloup voe.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

LINGA-MUCKLE-AND-LITTLE, isles (two), in the parish of Stronsay, county of Shetland. These are small islands, one lying to the north-west of Stronsay; and the other, which is the larger, and sometimes called the Holm of Midgarth, situated in the channel of Linga sound. This channel has two entrances to its convenient harbour, severally northward and southward; and through the latter, which is the wider entrance, large vessels may pass, with the assistance of a pilot, and find safe anchorage in four fathoms of water. On Muckle Linga are the ruins of a chapel.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

MOUSA, an island, in the former quoad sacra parish of Sandwick-and-Cunningsburgh, parish of Dunrossness, county of Shetland j containing 12 inhabitants. This island lies close to the east coast of the Mainland, and at the entrance of Aith's Voe; it is also called Queen's Isle, and is about a mile in length and three quarters of a mile in breadth. The village of Cunningsburgh is distant from it, north-westward, about two miles. In this island is a most perfect specimen of an ancient Scandinavian fortress, or, as some call it, Pictish castle. It is nearly entire, and in .shape resembles a dice-box: its height is about forty-two feet, and, over the walls, its diameter fifty feet; the walls are about ten feet in thickness, and hollow in the middle. The fort stands on the shore, and seems to have been a place of defence. Opposite to it are the ruins of another castle of the same description, round which are still visible the sites of a number of small houses.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

MUSA-ISLE. See Mousa, in the county of Shetland.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

EILEAN-NAN-NAOMH. See Tongue, county of Sutherland.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

KEANLOCHBERVIE, or Kinlochbervie, a district, in the parish of Eddrachillis, county of Sutherland; containing 1028 inhabitants, of whom 105 are in the village, 14 miles (N. by E.) from Eddrachillis. This place is situated on the western shore of the county, on the north side of Loch Inchard, and near its mouth: the coast is much indented. In the interior are numerous lakes; and the district, generally, partakes of the mountainous character of the land in this quarter. The Duke of Sutherland is the sole proprietor; and under him the aspect of the country, though still rugged, has been vastly improved within the last few years. Keanlochbervie was separated, for ecclesiastical purposes, from the rest of the parish, some years ago; and as that arrangement was afterwards set aside, it is proposed by the Court of Session to again erect it into a quoad sacra district. It is in the presbytery of Tongue and synod of Sutherland and Caithness, and the patronage is vested in the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £120, paid from the exchequer; and there is a good manse, with a glebe of some acres. The church was erected in 1828-9, at the expense of government; it contains 350 sittings, and is of sufficient height to be enlarged by galleries. The members of the Free Church have also a place of worship. A school was built and endowed in 1845.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

KINLOCHBERVIE. See Keanlochbervie, in the county of Sutherland.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

PORTSKERRAY, a village, in that part of the parish of Reay which is in the county of Sutherland, 13 miles (W. S. \V.) from Thurso; containing 3/1 inhabitants. This village is situated on the bay of Bighouse, about a mile eastward of the village of Melvich, and on the turnpike- road from Thurso to Tongue. It is inhabited chiefly by persons engaged in the fisheries, which are carried on here to a considerable extent. The scenery is enlivened by the windings of the river Halladale, which flows near the western extremity into the bay, where a small harbour has been formed, affording secure shelter to the vessels employed in the fishery. Cod, ling, turbot, skate, whiting, haddocks, flounders, sand-eels, and occasionally smelts, are taken; and a herring and a salmon fishery have been established some years with success.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

REANLOCHBERVIE. See Keanlochbervie, in the county of Sutherland.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

STORE. See Stoer, county of Sutherland.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

KILMORIE, a parish, in the isle of Arran, county of Bute, 24 miles (S. W. by W.) from Saltcoats; containing 3455 inhabitants. This place, which occupies the western portion of Arran, and derives its name from the dedication of its ancient church to the Virgin Mary, is in all its historical details identified with the parish of Kilbride, which occupies the eastern portion of the island. Kilmorie is bounded on the south by the Firth of Clyde, and on the west by the sound of Kilbrandon, which separates it from Cantyre, and is from six to ten miles wide. It extends from Largybeg Point, in the southeast, to Loch Ranza in the north-west, and is thirty miles in length and six miles in breadth, comprising an area of nearly 93,000 acres, of which 8300 are arable, and the remainder hill pasture and waste. The surface is generally mountainous, and diversified with hills interspersed with deep and narrow glens; the lands are watered by numerous rivulets descending from the heights, and some of the rivulets are of great rapidity, forming in their course a variety of beautiful cascades, of which the falls of Essmore and Esscumhan are the most prominent. The highest of the mountains is Beinn-Bharfhionn, or " the white-topped mountain", so called from its summit being usually covered with snow, and which has an elevation of more than 3000 feet above the level of the sea. There are several lakes in the parish, the principal of which are Loch Tanna, about two miles, and Loch lorsa, about one mile, in length; they are both very narrow; the former abounds with trout, and the latter with salmon. Trout are also found in the rivulets, all of which afford good sport to the angler.

1851 - Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis

CUNNINGSBURGH. See Sandwick, in the county of Shetland.

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Genealogy

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Handwriting

  • Two useful guides for reading old Scottish documents are
    • Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700 - a self-help pack by Alison Rosie, published by the Scottish Records Association, 1994 with ISBN 1 870874 04 8.
    • Scottish Handwriting 1150-1650 by Grant G Simpson, published by Aberdeen University Press, 1986 (140 pages), ISBN 0 900015 41 1 (Hardback), 0 08 0345 16 6 (Paperback).
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Historical Geography

GENUKI is organised on the basis of historic counties. The following associates the more modern administrative areas with the GENUKI pages which cover those areas.

Boundary Changes in Scotland, 1889 Transcriptions address the boundary changes in Scotland arising from the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889. Links are provided to the "Explanation of Orders" for each of the Scottish counties.

Administrative Areas of Scotland describes the changes introduced in 1975.

A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland by Samuel Lewis. Contains detailed topographical accounts of places, parishes and counties in Scotland. Originally published in two volumes, here given together.

Ordnance Survey Name Books - Ordnance Survey name books (or 'original object name books') provide information about place names and building names on the first edition Ordnance Survey mapping which took place in the mid-19th century. Images of the original handwritten records, plus associated transcripts. Arranged by county and parish.

Parishes and Districts at ScotlandsPeople and Scottish Counties and Parishes: Their History and Boundaries on Maps at the National Library of Scotland both provide some general information on parishes, quoad sacra parishes, districts, etc.

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History

Scotland - History - links and information.

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Inventories, Registers, Catalogues

National Records of Scotland - Manuscript catalogues and guides.

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Jewish History

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Land & Property

  • Many land and property records are held at The National Archives of Scotland of which probably the main ones are the Registers of Sasines, recording the transfer of ownership of land.
  • Registers of Scotland keep Scotland's National Land and Property Registers.
  • Alan Stewart's book Gathering the Clans - Tracing Scottish Ancestry on the Internet has a very helpful section on land records.
  • Retours of Services of Heirs (1544-1699) and Services of Heirs in Scotland (1700-1859) are now available on CD from the Scottish Genealogy Society. (These are new computerised versions of the long out of print standard reference works for inheritance of landed property in Scotland, from the 16th century to the mid 19th century. Not every inheritance was properly registered, sometimes the transfer was much more informal, but these indexes to surviving inheritance records are invaluable for genealogists researching Scottish landowners, big or small.)
  • British Listed Buildings - an online database of buildings and structures that are listed as being of special architectural and historic interest.
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Language & Languages

Scotland - Language and Languages - links and information.

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Law & Legislation

  • Most legal records in Scotland are held at The National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. Green's Glossary of Scottish Legal Terms may be of interest to anyone researching these records. It can be purchased through a number of family history societies and will be found in many libraries.
  • Published listings of lawyers include:
    • The Faculty of Advocates in Scotland 1532-1943 edited by Sir Francis J. Grant, published by Scottish Record Society, 1944.
    • The Lord Advocates of Scotland by George W.T. Omond, published in 3 volumes (1883-1914).
    • History of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen edited by John A. Henderson, published by New Spalding Club, 1912.
    • History of the Society of Writers to H.M. Signet (including list of members from 1594-1890), published by the Society of Writers to H.M. Signet in 1890.
    • The Register of the Society of Writers to the Signet, published at Edinburgh in 1983 (lists members up to recent times).
    • Scottish law list, published 1848-1849.
    • Index juridicus: the Scottish law list from 1852 onwards.
  • Scots Legal Glossary - a table listing some Scots legal terms, some Latin, that are used in legal documents and some obsolete terms that may be encountered by genealogists researching their Scots ancestry.
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Maps

  • A guide to Scottish maps, their history and so on, was published by the Scottish Library Association in 1991. The Scot and His Maps by Margaret Wilkes is extensively illustrated and includes a further reading list at the back. It is 48 pages long and its ISBN 0 900649 81 X.
  • Both the National Library of Scotland and The National Records of Scotland have large collections of maps and plans. About 800 maps from the period 1560-1928 are available online. Local archive centres and libraries around Scotland will often hold maps for their areas.
  • Scotland under Robert The Bruce is a printed map produced by John Garnons Williams, which maps Scotland with the spellings of place names and clan names as they were at 1314, the year of Robert the Bruce's victory over the English at Bannockburn. The map shows over 600 place-names and 170 clan names in their earliest forms.
    (The former URL is no longer active.)
  • Map of Scotland by S. Lewis & Co., London, circa 1840
  • Betts's New Map Of Scotland, circa 1847
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Medical Records

  • Hospital Records Database A Joint Project of the Wellcome Trust and the National Archives. This database provides information on the existence and location of the records of hospitals in the U.K.
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Merchant Marine

  • See the United Kingdom and Ireland Merchant Marine page in GENUKI.
  • See the Scotland Merchant Marine page on the FamilySearch Wiki.
  • David Dobson has written many books about Scottish maritime history, including lists of mariners and his Scottish Maritime Records, 1600-1850 - a guide for Family Historians, published January 1997 by Clearfield, ISBN 9780806347172 (available at Amazon and Waterstones).
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Migration, Internal

R. Houston's article Geographical mobility in Scotland, 1652-1811: the evidence of testimonials, published in the Journal of Historical Geography 11, 4, (1985) pp. 379-394, describes a study of geographical mobility using the records of testimonials recorded in the Kirk Session records of 16 parishes in Lowland Scotland.

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Military History

  • Many Scottish service records are held in The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) in London. See also the military sections of the main UK and Ireland page in GENUKI.
  • British Library - Organisations and Resources for British Military History Research.
  • Commemorating Scotland's War, a number of events led by the University of Edinburgh commemorating Scotland's contribution to the First World War.
  • Scotland's WW1 Timeline.
  • Scotland's Heroes - the 74 Victoria Cross winners of WW1.
  • Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle. 
  • The Battle of Arras, 1917.
  • The Munitionettes ("the Canary Girls") - the work of women in the First World War.
  • The Quintinshill Disaster, 22 May 1915. 
  • Scotland's War - Scotland’s War (1914-1919) has been established to advance and disseminate knowledge of Scotland’s WW1 history and  to enhance our understanding of the War and its consequences.
  • The Scottish Military History Society is an association open to anyone with an interest in Scottish Military history and genealogy. It exists to encourage the study of the Scottish Regiments of the British Army and the Commonwealth. The website contains the fully transcribed Glasgow Rolls of Honour for the First and Second World War, and records the Lineage and Uniforms of the Regiments of Scotland from the 1660's to the present day.
  • Civilian Internment in Scotland during the First World War - a regional case study of civilian internment during the First World War, by Stefan Mantz.
  • Jim Beckett has compiled a number of booklets listing Scots soldiers serving in the British Army. There are copies at the Scottish Genealogy Society - see the Military section of the library catalogue.
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Military Records

  • National Records of Scotland - Military Records
  • UK Military Family History (UKMFH) - UK Military Family History and Genealogy.
  • RAF WW1 Casualties - The Royal Air Force Museum has launched a new website, "Casualty Forms" that enables visitors to explore the casualty forms of officers of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force who served on the Western Front and in the Middle East during the First World War. The forms include information on casualty details, postings, periods of leave, promotions and decorations. Some may also have information on place of burial and name of the officiant. Much of the information on the forms may NOT be recorded in the personnel files held at the (UK) National Archives.
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Names, Geographical

  • Scottish Personal Names & Place Names - A Bibliography is a general guide to books on Scottish personal and place names. It was published by the Scottish Genealogy Society in 1993 and may be purchased through their online ordering system.
  • See also the Gazetteers section.
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Names, Personal

  • Scottish Personal Names & Place Names - A Bibliography is a general guide to books on Scottish personal and place names. It was published by the Scottish Genealogy Society in 1993 and may be purchased from them.
  • Guides to forenames and surnames include:
    • Scottish Forenames by Donald Whyte, published by Birlinn Ltd, 1996 (205 pages), ISBN 1 874744 72 6
    • Scottish Christian Names by Leslie Alan Dunkling, first published by Johnston & Bacon (Books) Ltd., Stirling, 1978, ISBN 0 7179 4249 4.
    • The Surnames of Scotland by George F. Black, published by Birlinn Ltd, 1993 (838 pages), ISBN 1 874744 07 6.
  • Scots often named children by following a simple set of rules. Don't use these as a firm guide (there were often variations, for all sorts of reasons) but you may find that some of your ancestors used these too:
    • 1st son named after father's father
    • 2nd son named after mother's father
    • 3rd son named after father
    • 1st daughter named after mother's mother
    • 2nd daughter named after father's mother
    • 3rd daughter named after mother

 

See a list of books related to Scottish Names.

See a list of books related to Scottish Clans.

See a list of books related to Scottish Clans and Tartans.

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Naturalisation & Citizenship

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Newspapers

  • The Mitchell Library in Glasgow holds an extensive collecti​on of local and national newspapers, most of them available on microfilm.
  • Guide to Scottish Newspaper Indexes This searchable list provides details of Scottish newspaper titles that have an index.
  • A number of publications give information about old Scottish newspapers, including where they can be found today:
    • Directory of Scottish Newspapers by Joan P.S. Ferguson, published by the National Library of Scotland in 1984.
    • NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in Scotland, published by the British Library in 1994.
    • The Waterloo Directory of Scottish Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900 edited by John S. North, published in 2 volumes in 1989 by North Waterloo Academic Press, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
  • Online Newspapers - Scotland provides links to Scottish newspaper websites.
  • Abyz Web Links Inc have provided many links to Newspapers, News Media and News Sources relating to Scotland.
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Nobility

  • For a classic guide to the peerage in Scotland see Sir James Balfour Paul's The Scots Peerage published in 9 volumes between 1904 and 1914 in Edinburgh. (Now available on CD from the Scottish Genealogy Society.)
  • A recent guide to tracing noble ancestors, particularly in Scotland, is Jeremy Duncan's Tracing Your Royal Ancestors, ISBN 0 947749 004, published in 1994 at Perth (31 pages).
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Occupations

  • A useful guide is D.R.Torrance's Scottish Trades, Professions, Vital Documents & Directories, published by the Scottish Association of Family History Societies.
  • For information on sailors in the past, see the Merchant Marine section.
  • Three useful work-related publications. The first is a general study of work in Scotland since 1800. The other two are specific works about farm servants in Lowland Scotland.
    • Industrial Nation: Work, Culture and Society in Scotland, 1800-Present by W.W.Knox, published by Edinburgh University Press in 1999.
    • Farm Servants and Labour in Lowland Scotland 1770-1914, edited by T.M.Devine, published by John Donald Publishers Ltd. in 1984.
    • Herds and Hinds: Farm Labour in Lowland Scotland, 1900-1939 by Richard Anthony, published by Tuckwell Press Ltd. in 1997.
  • The National Library of Scotland Scottish Book Trade index lists the names, trades and addresses of people involved in printing in Scotland up to 1850, and is fully searchable.
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Orphans & Orphanages

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Periodicals

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Politics & Government

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Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Hospitals in the Highlands of Scotland. Jim and Stephen Leslie have researched and written on hospitals in this area, and have published booklets on the hospitals on Skye, and in Lochaber and Nairn, with another on Inverness due for publication in 2016.
  • Peter Higginbotham’s Workhouses is a brilliant database of poor law buildings in Britain.
  • Our NHS Scotland has an overview of the establishment of the National Health Service.
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Population

  • A useful work is Scottish Population History from the Seventeenth Century to the 1930s, edited by Michael Flinn and published by Cambridge University Press in 1977.
  • Another work in this field is James Kyd's Scottish Population Statistics which was published by the Scottish Academic Press in 1952 and reprinted in 1976.
  • Here are some population figures for Scotland throughout the ages.
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Postal & Shipping Guides

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Probate Records

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Public Records

  • National Records of Scotland - The National Records of Scotland store records of births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships, divorces, (including stillbirths) - they’re also responsible for the Scottish national archives, which contain government documents and public records.
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Religion & Religious Life

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Schools

  • "A Happie and Golden Tyme" published by The National Records of Scotland looks at education in Scotland since the fourteenth century. It includes facsimile copies of original records. 20 pages long, ISBN 0 870874 15 3.
  • School and Education Reports at the National Records of Scotland. 
  • Schools. Pupils and Teachers in Glasgow and the West of Scotland - records at the Mitchell Library.
  • Scotland Street School Museum - Scotland Street School was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh between 1903-1906 for the School Board of Glasgow. Now a museum, it tells the story of 100 years of education in Scotland, from the late 19th century to the late 20th century.
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Social Life & Customs

  • Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave by Margaret Bennett is full of information about life in Scotland, from childbirth through to death and burial. Polygon, 1992, ISBN 0 7486 6118 2.
  • Two publications by The National Records of Scotland which look at aspects of social life in Scotland in the past are Hatches, Matches and Despatches (16 pages) and Feast to Festival (27 pages). The first of these looks at customs surrounding birth, marriage and death in Scotland. The second looks at entertainment, from the medieval times right through to the modern day.
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Societies

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Statistics

  • For a social and economic record of the parishes of Scotland, together with masses of statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland which was compiled in the 1790s and reprinted in more recent years by EP Publishing Limited of Wakefield, England.
  • Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s; and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared since the Second World War.
  • The online version of The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799 and 1845.
  • The Old Statistical Account of Scotland (1791-1799) is also available free on Electric Scotland as a series of downloads.
  • Statistics from Scotland's Census are available at the National Records of Scotland. These are used by central and local government, health authorities and other organisations to allocate resources and plan services.
  • For population figures see the Population section above.
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Taxation

Many taxation records are held at The National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh.

  • Historical Tax Rolls  - Carriage tax rolls, cart tax rolls, clock and watch tax rolls, consolidated schedules of assessed taxes, dog tax rolls, farm horse tax rolls, female servant tax rolls, hearth tax records, horse tax rolls, inhabited house tax, land tax rolls, male servant tax rolls, poll tax rolls, shop tax rolls, window tax.
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Town Records

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Visitations, Heraldic

  • No visitations were made to Scotland and the records of grants and matriculations of arms only begin in 1672.
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Voting Registers