Most Recent Genealogy Records for Scotland
Below is a list and discription of the most recent genealogy records for Scotland (see list of most recent records for other countries). Many of these records can be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
2013 January to March
National – ScotlandsPeople has added the 1905 Valuation Rolls to their website. This new collection contains the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of most buildings, structures and property in Scotland in 1905. The rolls contain some 2.4 million names and list where the person lived and whether they owned or rented the property. Usually, it is the head of the household who is listed, although often the wife is also listed. The Valuation Rolls also list the value of the property, which can provide interesting information as to the social status of your ancestor.
For estates, the Valuation Rolls typically list the names of the people who lived and worked on the estate (see example below). The 1905 Valuation Rolls can be used to fill in the gap between the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Access is by subscription. [Scotland 1905 Valuation Rolls]
Fife – Deceased Online has added to its headstone collection with 41 additional cemetery and churchyard burial sites from Fife in Eastern Scotland. The new additions are composed of some 80,000 records that go back as far as 1635. Each record consists of a photograph of the headstone plus a transcription of the inscription. Deceased Online now has records from well over 250 cemeteries in Scotland featuring nearly1.2 million names. Access is by subscription. [Fife Burial Records]
2012 October to December
Scotland – Genes Reunited has added over 25 million Scottish census records to their collection. These are transcriptions of Scottish census records from 1841 all the way to 1901. Genes Reunited is a brightsolid company. Unfortunately, the website has only the transcriptions of the Scottish censuses. If you want to see an image of the original record, you still have to go to ScotlandsPeople, which is another brightsolid company run in conjunction with the Scottish government. Access to the Genes Reunited is by subscription. [Scottish Census Records]
Ayrshire – Deceased Online has added some 40,000 graveyard inscriptions and images from Ayrshire (East, North and South). These new records cover 13 different burial grounds and cemeteries. Some of the records go back as far as 1666, although most of the records are from the 1800s and 1900s. The link provides a list of the specific cemeteries. Access is by subscription. [Ayrshire Cemetery Records]
National – The government website ScotlandsPeople has added a new collection of wills and testaments covering the period from 1902 to 1925. The new records document the last wishes of some 270,000 people who died in Scotland during this period. Access is by subscription. [Historic Scottish Wills]
2012 July to September
National – GenealogyInTime Magazine has added 400 million new records to their two free search engines. The Genealogy Search Engine (which covers ancestral records) now searches an additional 100 million more records, while the Family Tree Search Engine (which covers genealogy forums and online family trees) searches approximately 300 million more records.
In total, the two search engines now cover 5.7 billion records across more than 1,000 different websites (split between the Genealogy Search Engine covering 1.9 billion records and the Family Tree Search Engine covering 3.8 billion records – there is no overlap of records between the two search engines).
GenealogyInTime Magazine now gets over 40,000 queries per month for the two search engines. This makes them one of the most popular alternatives to the FamilySearch website for people wanting to look for free ancestral records. Significant holdings exist for the United States, Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand with minor holdings for the Caribbean, South America and South Africa.
Some of the highlights of the latest addition to the Genealogy Search Engine include:
• 55 million new records for the United States and 6 million new records for Canada. These are primarily ancestral records held in digital archives of public libraries and universities across North America. Many of these new records are historic photographs.
• 23 million new records for England, Ireland and Scotland. These are primarily twentieth century obituaries.
• 14 million new records for Europe. These are primarily birth/marriage/death records from Central and Eastern Europe.
• 2 million more ship passenger records.
In this latest release, the search routines for both search engines have also been strengthened to provide better results. In addition, the number of returned records for a search query has been increased from 8 pages to 10 pages. Finally, results are delivered even faster than before.
Access to both search engines is free and the underlying records are also free. [Genealogy Search Engine] [Family Tree Search Engine] GenealogyInTime Magazine also has a number of genealogy articles to help you become better at online genealogy searches.
GenealogyInTime Magazine is now the world’s most popular online genealogy magazine. It is also now the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world (according to Alexa, the internet traffic people, the largest free genealogy websites in order are FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Geni, GeneaNet and GenealogyInTime Magazine).
National – FamilySearch.org has added the entire 1881 Scottish census (some 3.7 million records) and the 1891 Scottish census (some 4 million records). At the moment, this collection can be searched by name but it does not contain access to the original image. It does however, provide the following information: name, gender, age, place of birth, county, and reference to the film number containing the original image. Access is free. [1881 Scottish Census] [1891 Scottish Census]
National – The National Library of Scotland now has now reached over 700 digitized post office directories posted online. These directories cover most of Scotland and date from 1773 to 1911. The directories list alphabetically the name of the inhabitants, their address and often their profession. Access is free. [Scottish Post Office Directories]
2012 April to June
Hebrides – A website devoted to the genealogy of the residents of the Hebrides Islands of Scotland has launched a searchable online database. It currently contains about 20,000 records of families who emigrated from the Outer Hebrides to Canada, Australia and the United States. Access is by paid credits. [Outer Hebrides Emigration Records]
Shetland – Janice Halcrow’s excellent website Shetland Newspaper Transcriptions has been updated with another 20 years of newspaper birth, marriage and death announcements to 1945. Access is free. [Shetland Islands Newspaper Transcripts]
National – Deceased Online has added an additional 120,000 memorial images to its website from 11 different regions of Scotland. Access is by pay-per-view. [Scottish Gravestone Images]
National – FindMyPast has been on a roll recently with their Scottish census records. They have just added the 1901 Scottish census to their collection. The website now has a complete collection of all Scottish censuses from 1841 to 1901. The records can be searched by first and last name, birth year, county, occupation, etc. Access is by subscription. [1901 Scottish Census]
2012 January to March
National – ScotlandsPeople have put online the valuation rolls for Scotland for 1915-1916. This is a major new family history resource for anyone with Scottish ancestors and will serve as a nice alternative to the 1911 census. Basically, a valuation roll lists the owners, tenants or occupiers of each piece of property. In total, some 2.6 million properties are listed. The information listed includes the surname, forename, address (designation), parish, county and valuation roll reference number. According to the website, usually the named person is the head of the household, although sometimes both husband and wife are listed. The valuation rolls were used to set property tax rates (the property was assessed by its expected annual rental value). Not surprising, the valuation roll is fairly complete.
Tax rolls almost always provide one of the most accurate historical records because the government had a vested interest in making sure it was both complete and up to date to maximize tax revenue. Only very small properties were not counted (those with a rental value under £4 per year). One thing to note, however, about this collection is that it does not list the value of the property, so you cannot use this collection to judge the wealth of your ancestors. Access is by pay-per-view and ScotlandsPeople has a reduced introductory rate on this new collection. [Scotland 1915 Valuation Roll]
National – FindMyPast has added the 1891 Scottish census to its collection. At the time of the census, Scotland had a population of just over 4 million individuals. FindMyPast now has all the Scottish census records from 1841 to 1891. They hope to add the 1901 census to their website in the next couple of months. Access is by subscription. [Scotland 1891 Census]
Fife - Ancestry.co.uk has continued to add to its online electoral roll collection for Fife. Known as the Fife Voters List, it spans the period from 1832 to 1894. One nice thing about this collection is that it also lists the occupation of the voters. We suggest you read Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors to understand how electoral rolls work. Access is by subscription. [Fife Electoral Rolls]
National – FindMyPast has put the 1881 Scottish census online. FindMyPast had previously published on their website the 1841 to 1871 Scottish censuses. The 1881 census lists over 3.7 million people. These records can be searched by name, occupation, place of birth, place of residence, country of origin and county. Access is by subscription. [1881 Scottish Census]
National – The Scottish government’s genealogy website ScotlandsPeople has now made available online for viewing records of 1911 births, 1936 marriages and 1961 deaths. These records are being released now in early 2012 because the statutory limits have been reached for withholding these records (100 years for births, 75 years for marriages and 50 years for deaths). Access is by pay-per-view. [ScotslandsPeople]
Highlands – DeceasedOnline is adding headstone images and tombstone inscription transcriptions for a variety of Scottish cemeteries. The first batch from 15 Scottish Highland cemeteries has already gone online. These records go back as far as 1600. More headstone images and transcriptions are expected to go online over the next couple of weeks from other parts of Scotland. Access is by pay-per-view. [Scottish Highland Headstone Images]
2011 October to December
National – The government website ScotlandsPeople has put online a series of index books that lists all the streets for all the Scottish censuses from 1841 to 1911. This is a useful guide that lists streets alphabetically and allows you to determine the registration district and enumeration book for any street address. This function appears to be free. [Index of Scottish Street Addresses from Historic Censuses]
National – FindMyPast.co.uk has put online a collection of 4,000 service records of military nurses. The collection consists of records from World War II for nurses who served with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, the Queen Alexandra’s Reserves or the Territorial Army Nursing Service; Scottish Women’s Hospital records for nurses who served in continental Europe during World War I and miscellaneous other nursing records, some going back as far as 1856. Access is by pay-per-view [Historic UK Military Nurses Service Records]
National – FamilyRelatives has added over 80 volumes of Scottish trade directories to their website. These include Pigot’s Directory Scotland 1825-1826 for all counties and Pigot’s Directory Scotland 1837 for all counties as well as Scotland County Directory 1902 and 1912. FamilyRelatives now has a fairly extensive collection of historic trade directories for the country. This is a good site to search if you are looking for the usual collection of birth, marriage, death records plus other interesting records such as army records, land records, school records, trade directories and post office directories. Many of the record sets go back well into the 1800s if not earlier. Access is by subscription, although some records are free to view. [Historic Scottish Trade Directories]
Angus – Deceased Online has added detailed burial maps for cemeteries in the Scottish county of Angus. A number of the largest cemeteries (and several of the smaller cemeteries) now have detailed online maps that show the exact location of over 64,000 graves. Each gravesite is shown on three maps. The first map shows the grave relative to the entire cemetery. The second map highlights the grave within the extracted section of the cemetery and the third map shows the detailed location of the grave within the section. The nice thing about these maps is that it shows the grave location even if the grave does not contain a memorial stone or reference marker. These maps are very useful if you want to visit your ancestor’s gravesite. Access is by pay-per-view. [Angus Scotland Cemetery Maps]
2011 July to September
Aberdeen & Edinburgh – DeceasedOnline has increased their collection of Scottish burial records with the addition of 67,000 more burial and cremation records from the cities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The new additions cover three Aberdeen cemeteries (Nigg, Trinity and St Nicholas Kirkyard) and the Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh (records now cover 1937 to 2009). Access is by pay-per-view. [Scottish Burial Records]
Aberdeen – Aberdeen City Library has created a new website that will be very helpful for genealogists called The Silver City Vault. It provides links to lists for obituaries, marriages, pauper lists and newspapers. Also included are over 1,000 historic images of Aberdeen. The site is searchable by keyword. Access is free. [Historic Aberdeen Records]
Commonwealth – GenesReunited.co.uk has added about 1.3 million military records from various Commonwealth countries. The records date from the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902) and World War I (1914 to 1918). Include are the following collections: lists of the men and women who fought during the Second Anglo-Boer war; Commonwealth soldiers who died in WWI; Royal Navy officer’s medal role (1914 to 1920) and New Zealand World War I male and female service personnel. Access is by subscription [Commonwealth World War I Military Records]
UK – DeceasedOnline has added another 1.25 million burial and cremation records to its collection, with the latest records coming online by early August. This is in addition to the some 1 million records that were added earlier in 2011. These new records come from a variety of UK towns and cities ranging from Scotland to South Devon. Access is by subscription. [Historic UK Burial Records]
Scotland – Do you have ancestors from the North East of Scotland? If you do, then you should check out the new website NorthEastScotlandRoots. To quote the website “The purpose of this website is to give you an initial steer on your journey, acting as a directory to the organisations and institutions in the City of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which hold original records or secondary sources of information that you may find useful in the quest for your ancestors.” The website is sponsored by various local tourist authorities. The Resources section and the Useful Links section are particularly useful in helping you track down your ancestors from the region. Access is free. [Tracing North East Scotland Ancestors]
2011 April to June
Edinburgh – Deceased Online has added more than 400,000 new records to its collection of Edinburgh burial and cremation records. About 850,000 Scottish burial records will be available on the website by the end of June. The records go back as far as 1888 to the present. Access is by subscription. [Historic Edinburgh Burial and Cremation Records]
Glasgow – The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow has launched a new archival website. The website can be searched by name, place and subject. It contains many personal papers, letters, images and maps. There are also references to student newspapers and students’ association records. It would be a good site to search if you had relatives who attended the university or ancestors who lived nearby. Access is free. [Archives of University of Strathclyde]
Glasgow – The University of Glasgow has put online digital copies of various historic student newspapers from the university. Included in the collection are the Gilmorehill Globe, Gilmorehill Guardian and Glasgow University Guardian. Together these three newspapers represent the entire history of student newspaper journalism at the university. The collection spans the years 1932-1934 and 1955-2006 (excluding 1957) and can be search by phrase (such as name) and by year. In our experience, most students are mentioned at least once in student newspapers during their tenure at university, particularly if they were involved with clubs or sports. Access is free. [Historic Student Newspapers from University of Glasgow]
National - On 1 April 2011, the General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland merged into one entity to form the new National Records of Scotland. The newly merged group is still working on their new web portal, which you can view here. [National Records of Scotland]
National – The 1911 Scottish census is now online at ScotlandsPeople. A couple of things to note. First, the actual forms filled out by the households (known as household schedules) were destroyed soon after the census was completed once the data had been copied into the enumeration books. You will therefore not be able to see the actual handwritten answers of your ancestors. Also, one of the questions asked on the 1911 census was place of birth. If the person was born anywhere in the United Kingdom, it should list the name of the county and the town/parish. This is valuable information for anyone trying to track their ancestors. However, if the person was born in a foreign country, it just lists the name of the country, unless the country was then part of the British Empire, in which case the province is also listed. The 1911 census also had some additional questions compared to the previous 1901 census. Of particular interest it asked the number of people in the household; marital status (single, married, widower, widow); duration of marriage; children born alive; children still living; industry employed in and nationality if born outside of Scotland. Access is by pay-per-view. [1911 Scottish Census]
2011 January to March
National – The excellent website ScotlandPlaces has just completed a major upgrade that will most certainly be of interest to anyone with Scottish ancestors. It has aggregated and combined digital maps from three of Scotland’s national archives: the National Library of Scotland; the National Archives of Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Users can search the website for historical town plans (1580-1919), county maps (1580-1928) and the incredibly detailed ordnance surveys (1843-1882). The government website ScotlandPlaces is user-friendly and very interactive. Users can create their own personalized archived maps. Complete details can be found on the website. Access is free. [Historic Interactive Scotland Maps]
National – This is an advance notice. The Registrar General for Scotland has announced that the 1911 Scottish census will be released to the public on 5 April 2011. It will be placed on the ScotlandsPeople website on that date. The 1911 Scottish census covers more than 4.7 million people. It was also the last Scottish census before World War I, so it is particularly important for anyone tracing soldiers who may have died during the Great War. The 1911 census record includes name, address, age, occupation, birthplace, marital status and details on children. [1911 Scottish Census]
2010 October to December
Edinburgh – An interesting new website has just launched for anyone with ancestors from Edinburgh Scotland. Called AddressingHistory, it is a searchable historic database of the people of Edinburgh. The site is collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the National Library of Scotland. It provides full access to three city post office directories (1784/85, 1865 and 1905/06) and overlays the data on historic and modern maps of the city. The public is then invited to “geo-reference” the address by helping to find the exact location of an ancestor’s home as well as provide other material. It sounds complicated but it is not and everything is fully explained on the site. This site is free and we encourage readers to take a look at it even if you do not have ancestors from Edinburgh. This is cutting-edge genealogy stuff. [Addressing History Edinburgh]
Border – The Borders Family History Society has been digitizing Poor Law records for parishes along the Scottish border spanning the years 1845 to 1933. They just completed records from the parish of Melrose. Poor Law payments were an early form of social assistance and records of such payments can be a valuable source of ancestral information.
A typical Poor Law record lists name, place of birth, age or date of birth, address, list of close family members and description of disablement (required to collect the social assistance). Additional information on such records can sometimes include a woman’s maiden name, religion, disabilities and date of death (if buried as a pauper). The Borders Family History Society has published the digitized records on CD, which can be purchased from the society. Poor Law records are available for the Jedburgh parish and Melrose parish. The society has a useful search tool that can be used to see if your ancestors are listed in the digitized records. [Melrose Parish Poor Law Records]
Edinburgh – Edinburgh University has put online an archive that documents the city’s contribution to World War I. Called Edinburgh’s War 1914-1918, the archive focuses on how ordinary citizens from Edinburgh helped with the war effort. This Home Front archive has some truly unique content (see image below) as well as information of use to genealogists. Edinburgh University eventually expects to expand the archive to cover other cities in Scotland. Access is free. [Edinburgh’s War 1914-1918]
National – The National Library of Scotland has uploaded to the internet an additional one million items from its collection. This brings the total amount of online items to 1.5 million. Included in the latest upload are manuscripts, letters, books and newspapers. For example, The Scotsman is now available online from 1817 to 1950 and The Times is available online from 1785 to 1985. Although this online collection represents only 9% of the National Library of Scotland’s entire holdings, there is sure to be something in the latest update for anyone with Scottish ancestors. Access is free. [National Library of Scotland Genealogy Collection]
2010 July to September
National – The Scottish government’s genealogy website called Scotland’s People has been revamped and relaunched with new features to make it easier to find your Scottish ancestors. The website now has almost 80 million records. Included are national government records of births, marriages and deaths going back to 1855 (when the Scottish government started collecting such information). Parish records go back as far as 1538. The parish records have recently been beefed up by the addition of new information from the Catholic parish registers. The website contains some wills and testaments as well as heraldry information. The website has also been redesigned to make it easier to navigate. Additional maps of Scotland have been added to assist in tracing ancestors. Access to the website is on a pay-per-view basis. [Scotland’s People]
Scotland – A new website called Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland has just been launched. It contains a free searchable database of some 1,000 Gaelic place names around Scotland. The website provides bibliographic information on each place name as well as locating it on a map. We recommend using the Advanced Search function, which allows you to search for a place in either English or Gaelic, as well as multiple variations on names. Please note this website is new and a work in progress. Obviously, there are more than 1,000 places in Scotland, so the database should grow over time. Access is free. [Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland]
National – The National Library of Scotland has put online more than 2,000 images from its collection. The images are now part of The Commons, an online Flicr archive of historical photographs. Included in the new collection are many World War I photographs of Scottish soldiers, as shown below. Access is free. [The Commons Historic Scotish Photographs]
Border – Graham Maxwell Ancestry has substantially completed indexing thousands of records from the prison registers of the Scottish borders. The records themselves are held at the National Archives of Scotland but have never been indexed until now. The indexing has been done to a very high standard. Four prisons are included: Hawick (1844-1862); Jedburgh (1843-1848); Kelso (1844-1862) and Peebles (1848-1862). In addition to sentencing details, the records include various physical characteristics such as height, eye colour, hair colour, etc. Each prison index is purchased separately. [Historic Scottish Prison Records]
2010 April to June
Aberdeen – Aberdeen city and surrounding burghs have put online various council archives. The list includes council registers (1398-1996), militia records (1756-1888), various burgh council records (1747-1975), parochial (poor relief) records (1812-1975) and school records (1847-2004). The catalogue is a work in progress. For example, over the next two months, some 190,000 burial records will be added to the site. Concurrently, the website Deceased Online has recently added burial records for four Aberdeen-area cemeteries. Access is free to the city archive. A fee is charged for Deceased Online. Be sure to read the help section of the city archive to get the most out of your ancestral search. [Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Historic Archives] [Historic Aberdeen Burial Records]
2010 January to March
Border – The website Graham Maxwell Ancestry provides free census search for the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Scottish census. Only some Scottish counties are included, but fortunately the site has just been updated with expanded coverage. The nice thing about this website (other than being free, a bit of a rarity for Scottish genealogy) is how they have linked census records to Google maps so you can get a modern view of where your ancestors lived. [free Scotland 1841, 1851, 1861 Census Records]
2009 October to December
National: FamilyRelatives.com has added over 250,000 Scottish trade records from 1889. These records contain lists of professionals, landowners, farmers, nobility, gentry and clergy including the addresses of the individuals listed. Access is by subscription. [Historic Scottish Trade Records]
National: The National Library of Scotland has put online free air photo surveys of Scotland taken at the end of the Second World War. These historic air photos can be overlaid with Google Maps to see how the landscape has changed over the past 50 years. A fun tool for any genealogist. [free Scotland World War II Aerial Photographs]
2009 July to September
No new record sets.
2009 April to June
National: The Scottish government website ScotslandsPeople now has a complete set of online census records from 1841 to 1901. Also added are more old parish records from 1538 to 1854, birth and death indexes from 1855 to 2006 and marriage indexes from 1855 to 1933. Coats of Arms from 1672 to 1907 can now be searched for free. A fee applies for everything else. [Scottish Census Records]
National: The Scottish government has put online the old parish records (OPRs) from the Church of Scotland. The OPRs register births, baptisms, banns, marriages, deaths and burials from before the civil register was started in 1855. According to the Scotland Peoples web site "Do not expect too much from OPR death & burial records. The amount of information recorded can be variable and most entries contain very little detail". Access is by subscription. [Church of Scotland Old Parish Records pre-1855]
2009 January to March
National: The Scottish government has put online the original images of the 1881 census. This completes the "lost decade" of Scottish census records running from 1841 to 1901 because 1881 was the only census online that did not have images of the original handwritten records. Previously, the transcribed records were criticised by researchers for containing numerous transcription errors. Now genealogists can reference the original document. In 1881, there were 3.7 million people living in Scotland. The 1881 census data contains the name, age, address, occupation and relationship to the head of the household. Access is by subscription. [Scotland 1881 Census]