ABERDEENSHIRE - Archives and Libraries


Contents of this page:

Aberdeen City Archives

Aberdeen City Council maintain the archives for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City.
There is a computer system called CLIO available here (personal callers only - appointment required) which can be used for searching many of the records.
The archives are divided between the Town House and Old Aberdeen House.  The principal records held at each location are as follows:

Town House Old Aberdeen House
Burial Records
Kirk Session Records
Church Records
Burgh Records
Tax Lists
Burgh Register of Sasines
Burgh Register of Deeds
Electoral Rolls
Valuation Rolls
Poor Relief Records
Electoral Rolls
School Records
Aberdeen City Archives
Town House
Broad Street
AB10 1AQ
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 522513
Fax: +44 (0) 1224 638556
Aberdeen City Archives
Old Aberdeen House
Dunbar Street
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 481775
Fax: +44 (0) 1224 495830
Searchroom open:
Wednesday - Friday
0930 - 1630
Searchroom open:
Monday - Wednesday
0930 - 1300, 1400 - 1630

The searchrooms are open to the public, but by appointment only - please telephone in advance.

For more information see the Archives' own web site.

Aberdeen City Library

Has a well stocked Reference and Local Studies department.
The Local Studies department has:

  • Newspapers from 1747
  • Photographic collection
  • Family History Resources (IGI, OPR and Census etc)
  • Electoral Registers and Valuation Rolls
  • Local Statistical Information
  • Maps, modern and historical
  • Minutes and publications of the City Council and other public bodies

Central Library
Rosemount Viaduct
AB25 1GW
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 652511
Fax:: +44 (0) 1224 624118
E-mail: ReferenceLibrary[at]aberdeencity.gov[dot]uk
Web: See the Libraries entry at Aberdeen City website

Open: Monday & Wednesday 0900-2000, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 0900-1700

Aberdeen Registrar's Office

The Aberdeen Registrar's office holds Birth, Death and Marriage records for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire as well as Kincardineshire. These records are available for inspection but it is necessary to book in advance if you wish to use this service, and a fee is payable. The Registrar's Office can also carry out searches on your behalf (for a fee).

Registrar's Office
St Nicholas House
AB10 1BA.
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 522033

The search room is open to the public, Monday to Friday, 0930 - 1230, 1330 - 1630, by appointment only.

Aberdeenshire Libraries

Outside the city of Aberdeen, all libraries in N.E. Scotland are administered by the Aberdeenshire Library & Information Service. The service also administers a local history department.

Aberdeenshire Library & Information Service
Meldrum Meg Way
AB41 0GN
Tel: +44 (0) 1651 872142


CLIO is a free-text retrieval system, which allows much of the archive collection to be searched by name, place, object or date. This system is installed at the City Archives and is also available at the Aberdeen Central Library.

The following data is available:

Town Clerk's Department: Jacobite Papers
Town Clerk's Department: Papers of the New Streets Trustees
Town Clerk's Department: Civic Scrapbooks
Town Clerk's Department: Parliamentary and Legal Papers
Publicity & Promotions Division: Photographs
Publicity & Promotions Division: Glass Plates & Slides
Education Department: Aberdeen City Schools Records (to date, only those schools closed prior to 1975)
Burial Records of City Churchyards and Cemeteries

Papers of Alexander Hall & Hall Russell & Company Limited
Papers of the Aberdeen Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Records of Congregational Churches
Records of the Northern Co-operative Society
Records of the Post Office Engineering Union
Records of the Amalgamated Engineering & Electrical Union

Council Register, Volume 68, 1800 - 1806
Council Register, Volume 69, 1806 - 1813
Council Register, Volume 70, 1813 - 1821
Council Register, Volume 71, 1821 - 1828

Band of Relief, 1639
Stent Roll, 1655
Stent Roll, 1712
List of men in Aberdeen, 1759
Police Commissioners' Rent Roll, 1795
Lord Provosts of Aberdeen, 1280 - 1995
Provosts of Old Aberdeen, 1602 - 1890
Chief Magistrates of Woodside, 1868 - 1890
Baillies of Aberdeen, 1272 - 1984


These are the main records held by the City Archives

Burial Records (Town House)

The City Archives has interment records for a number of cemeteries within the City boundary, notably for St Peter's, St Nicholas, St Clement's and Old Machar churchyards. Additional cemetery registers, along with more recent records, are kept by the Crematorium/Burial Grounds Section of Aberdeen City Council Environmental Services Department, St Nicholas House, Broad St, Aberdeen, AB10 1BX.

Kirk Session Records (Town House)

Kirk Session records for St Nicholas, St Clement's, St Clement's Free and Greyfriars churches are housed in the City Archives. In addition to matters of church discipline, the records can contain communion rolls, payments to the poor, baptisms, marriages and some burials. Session records for other churches are located at the National Archives of Scotland (NAS), formerly the Scottish Record Office, in Edinburgh.

Church Records (Town House)

As well as the records of the established church, the City Archives holds records for many of the congregational churches of Aberdeen, and for a number of episcopalian and methodist congregations.

Burgh Records (Town House)

The Town Council's minutes, accounts and papers contain a wealth of information for family historians, especially if an ancestor was involved in trade or commerce. Records of entering trade and guild burgesses can be traced from the 15th century to the modern day and apprentices from 1622 to 1878. Ask the duty archivist for assistance in identifying relevant sources for your investigation and for details of holdings for burghs outwith the City.

Tax Lists (Town House)

Tax lists, or 'stent rolls', for the Burgh of Aberdeen date back to the 15th century although the first comprehensive series of property taxation is the Police Commissioners' rent rolls, which runs from 1795 to 1859/60. The 1795 roll is available to search on the City Archives database, CLIO, along with many of the earlier tax lists.

Burgh Register of Sasines (Town House)

The register of sasines records transfers of land rights within the old burgh boundary and is a valuable genealogical source for earlier periods. The records begin in 1484 and continue until 1809 after which date sasine registers can be found at the NAS along with those for the north-east counties.

Burgh Register of Deeds (Town House)

From the 16th century onwards deeds other than titles to land were often confirmed before burgh courts. A wide variety of documents, such as marriage settlements, loans and mortgages, can be found in these registers.

Electoral Rolls (Town House/Old Aberdeen House)

There are two series of electoral rolls; voters rolls for municipal elections to the Burgh Council, from 1832 to 1915; and rolls for parliamentary elections running from 1832 to 1913, and (with gaps) from 1946 to the modern day. Electoral rolls also survive for the counties of Aberdeen, Kincardine and Banff for much of the 20th century. An almost complete run of parliamentary rolls from 1909 to the modern day is also available at Aberdeen City Library.

Valuation Rolls (Old Aberdeen House)

In 1855 a uniform system of property valuation was established in Scotland and its records give the names of proprietors and occupiers along with the rateable value of each property. These rolls are available for the City of Aberdeen from 1855 and also survive (with gaps) for the counties of Aberdeen from 1859/60, Kincardine from 1862/63, and Banff from 1877/78. Complete sets from 1855 are held by the NAS in Edinburgh.

Poor Relief Records (Old Aberdeen House)

Prior to the introduction of the welfare state, responsibility for the poorer sections of society was largely borne by charitable organisations and the parish. Dating from 1845 to 1930, the records of the parochial boards and parish councils cover the counties of Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine and include applications for relief, inspectors' records and registers of guardians.

School Records (Old Aberdeen House)

School admission registers and headteachers' log books for nearly 500 schools across the north-east have been deposited at Old Aberdeen House. Typically these records post-date the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872. Please note that there is a closure period in operation for some of the log books.

Hospital Archives

Access to the archives is by appointment only. Records may be consulted on weekdays during normal office hours. Enquiries should be directed to the archivist, at Northern Health Services Archives, ARI Woolmanhill, Aberdeen AB25 ILD (telephone 01224 555562). Please note that there is a closure period in operation for these records.

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