What records are in the site

Detail from the Treaty of Union, 1707

On the ScotlandsPeople site you have access to a wide range of records kept by the Scottish Government, churches and courts of law (see a complete alphabetical guide to records in the site). Five categories of records are indexed by personal name (civil registers, church registers, census returns, valuation rolls and legal records), and these can also be searched in different ways. You can search these free of charge and pay for copies using credits or vouchers. A special category consists of our image library, which can be searched in different ways.

Categories of records indexed by personal name

Special categories of records

Chronology of record keeping in Scotland and records in the site

Categories of records indexed by personal name

Statutory registers

Statutory registers are official records of births, marriages and deaths, which have been kept in Scotland from 1855 onwards. In the late twentieth century registers of divorces, dissolutions, civil partnerships were also kept. The registers can be searched by personal name but some modern records are closed. Read more about statutory registers.

Census returns

Census returns are lists of people living at each address, giving ages, places of birth and other information about them. Censuses have been taken every 10 years in Scotland and census returns survive from 1841 onwards. They have been indexed and can be searched by personal name. Read more about census returns.

Church registers

On ScotlandsPeople you have access to the archives of the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and some other denominations. Church registers of births and baptisms, marriages and burials survive from 1560 onwards in Scotland.  Read more about church registers.

Valuation rolls

Valuation rolls are lists of the owners, tenants and occupiers of buildings and other properties. They were compiled by county and burgh assessors in Scotland annually from 1855 until 1987. Read more about valuation rolls and how to search them. Valuation rolls are lists of owners and occupiers of buildings and other properties in Scotland from 1855 onwards. Search valuation rolls or read the guide on valuation rolls.

Legal records

Legal records available on this site include wills and testaments, soldiers' and airmen's wills, coats of arms, and the records of First World War military appeals tribunals. Read more about legal records. On this site legal records mainly refer to registers and other records from Scottish civil, criminal and church courts. They include wills and testaments, coats of arms, soldiers' and airmen's wills and Military Service Appeal Tribunal records.

Records not indexed by person but searchable by place

On this site you can also search some records by place.

Special categories of records

Photographs and illustrations

For archive photographs, illustrations from historical records and images of important documents visit our image library.

Chronology of record keeping in Scotland and records in the site

1127 - Earliest written document (royal charter) in National Records of Scotland

1164 - Earliest state papers in National Records of Scotland

1293 - Earliest records of the Scottish parliament

1513 - Earliest registers of wills and testaments

1538 - Earliest Old Parish Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials

1560 - Reformation in Scotland

1672 - Public Register of All Arms and Bearings (coats of arms) in Scotland begins

1703 - Earliest Roman Catholic registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and other events

1707 - Union of Scottish and English parliaments

1733 - Earliest other church registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and other events

1800 - First recorded attempt to make a photograph

1801 - First census in Scotland

1841 - Earliest surviving census returns for all households in Scotland

1850s - Earliest photographs in our Image Library

1855 - Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths begins

1855 - Valuation rolls begin to be kept for counties and burghs

1857 - Earliest soldiers' wills registered (later soldiers' and airmen's wills)

1914-1918 - First World War, conscription introduced in 1916 and Military Service Appeals Tribunal Records survive for 1916-1918

1929 - Local Government (Scotland) Act makes major changes to the way burghs are included in valuation rolls

1940 - Registrars begin performing civil marriages

1975 - Counties and burghs abolished for local government purposes

1984 - Register of divorces begins

2005 - Register of civil partnerships begins

2014 - Registration of same-sex marriages begins