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Detail from New Register House Dome ceiling

Coronavirus - ScotlandsPeople Centre Closure

In line with advice from the Scottish Government and to suppress the spread of Coronavirus, our Historical, Legal and ScotlandsPeople search rooms in Edinburgh are currently closed.  We will continue to respond to online enquiries but we may not be able to give as full or as complete answers as usual.

Further information is available here.

Front door of General Register House

The main entrance to General Register House is closed until further notice, to allow for specialist consultants to carry out investigation work on the Adam Dome in General Register House, one of the world’s oldest custom built archive buildings still in its original use.
Search room facilities remain open and all visitors to the Reid, Historical and Legal Search Rooms should report to the relevant search room via the Garden entrance. Signage is in place to direct customers and visitors.
All other visitors should go to the main reception area or the accessible reception, both at New Register House.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this investigation work.

ScotlandsPeople Centre

The ScotlandsPeople Centre is the official government resource for family history research. It is located in central Edinburgh with search rooms in General Register House and New Register House. Staff are on hand to offer help and advice.

You can book a day search place online for £15 per day using our online booking system. See our charges for further details. To book simply select the date, your preferred search room and seat location and pay for the search place ahead of your visit. Your ticket is valid all day and you may arrive at any time.

If you are not an existing ScotlandsPeople customer you need to register at in order to make an online seat booking.

Once you have completed your booking you will receive a confirmation email and your ticket. You will need to present your ticket to staff when you arrive at the Centre.

The Centre is currently closed due to Coronavirus restrictions.

Outwith current COVID restrictions the centre is open from 09:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday.

Public Holidays

The centre - along with all our offices - is closed on certain public holidays. These dates for the period up to 31 January 2022 are:

  • Friday 2nd April 2021
  • Monday 5th April 2021
  • Monday 3rd May 2021
  • Monday 20th September 2021
  • Monday 27th December 2021
  • Tuesday 28th December 2021
  • Monday 3rd January 2022
  • Tuesday 4th January 2022

Whilst at the Centre you are able to save the results of your research on historic records to your ScotlandsPeople account which is available on line.

Records and indexes available

You can access index-linked digital images of the following records:

  • Statutory registers of births, deaths and marriages (from 1855)
  • Old Parish Registers (1553-1855)
  • Catholic parish registers (1703-1964)
  • Census records (1841-1911)
  • Coats of arms (1672-100 years ago)
  • Highland and Island Emigration Society records
  • Military Service Appeals Tribunal records (1916-1918) 
  • Soldiers' and airmen's wills (1857-1965)
  • Valuation rolls (1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935 and 1940)
  • Wills and testaments (1513-1925)

You can also search indexes and request certificates (also known as extracts) of the following:

  • Statutory register of divorces (from 1 May 1984)
  • Statutory register of civil partnerships (from 2005)
  • Statutory register of dissolutions of a civil partnership (from 2007)
  • Adopted Children's Register (from 1930) with restricted access - please ask staff for more details

Please note that credits purchased for the ScotlandsPeople website are valid at the ScotlandsPeople Centre but cannot be used to purchase day search places.

Further information

The ScotlandsPeople Centre and visit us pages on the National Records of Scotland website provide further information about:

  • Fees and charges
  • Locations of the buildings and search rooms
  • Disabled access and facilities
  • Introductory family history talks
  • Group evening visits
  • Hiring the Dome Seminar facility and meeting rooms in New Register House
  • Shop
  • Cafe
  • Archivists' Garden

Local family history centres

There are several centres elsewhere in Scotland which provide access to the ScotlandsPeople Centre search system. Please note that opening times for these local centres may be affected by current COVID restrictions. Further information is provided on their websites: