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Detail from New Register House Dome ceiling

Coronavirus - ScotlandsPeople Centre latest

See latest update below and on our service status page. We will continue to respond to online enquiries but we not be able to give as full or complete answers as usual.


The Dundas Search Room in the ScotlandsPeople Centre has reopened for customers who require access for business purposes with the restricted service outlined below. Please note that we will not be open for routine visitors.

In order to access the Dundas ScotlandsPeople search room you need to follow directional signage to this search room through the Archivists’ Garden area, which is located behind General Register House.

To ensure that our search rooms are safe for staff and visitors, we have made a variety of changes to our service provision and they are summarised below together with our amended day search charge. It is not possible, at this time, to offer season tickets for purchase, in recognition of the limited number of available seats and restricted opening hours which are now in place.

  • You must comply with our NRS Safe Visit Agreement
  • In order to maintain social distancing and increase ventilation within our search room we have reduced the available search room seats to a total of 10. 
  • Initially, seat bookings are only available for those customers who require access for business purposes and only one visit per customer/company per week will be offered. If bookings are not full, remaining seats will be offered for booking from the preceding Wednesday at 12 noon on a rotational basis to those customers/companies who have requested more than one seat per week. 
  • You may only visit the Dundas ScotlandsPeople search room for a maximum period of 4 hours in total. 
  • Our day search fee charge has been reduced to £7.50 to reflect the fact that the maximum search period is 4 hours. No season tickets are being offered at this time due to the restricted service.
  • The opening hours are 10:00 to 15:00 to allow for staggered arrivals and departures.
  • To ensure that social distancing is maintained, you will not be offered access to printers or in turn prints during your search room visit and neither is an onsite scanning service available so it will not be possible to remedy any poor images encountered during your visit. Also, no access to any form of microfilm or microfiche will be offered.
  • We are complying with the NHS Test and Protect system and will hold contact details to share with the NHS Tracer for a maximum period of 21 days. 

Please do not visit us unless you have received an email confirming your booking and that we have received payment for your search room seat. We are not open for routine visitors.

ScotlandsPeople Centre - Dundas search room

The ScotlandsPeople Centre is the official government resource for family history research. It is located in central Edinburgh in New Register House.

Our seat booking system is, at this stage, only available to customers or companies that have a business need to view the ScotlandsPeople records. If you want to book a search room seat then please contact us through the ScotlandsPeople website following the procedures below:

  • Register on ScotlandsPeople (this is free). If already a registered customer then simply login.
  • Contact us and select the ‘Seat Bookings’ category. Please confirm why you require access to the Dundas search room, your preferred day and provide two other days in case there is no availability for the day selected.
  • We will email you to confirm which day has been provisionally booked and send you a link to a web page where payment of £7.50 will require to be made. All seats must be paid for in advance before your booking can be finalised. All payments must be made ahead of the day of your visit and at least 72 hours in advance. 
  • A confirmation email with the booking reference will be sent to you once the booking has been paid and finalised. You will need to provide details of your seat booking reference and your name before you will be allowed to take your seat in the Dundas search room.

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:

  • Monday 20th September 2021
  • Monday 27th December 2021
  • Tuesday 28th December 2021
  • Monday 3rd January 2022
  • Tuesday 4th January 2022
The online seat booking system is not available at this time. Follow the process outlined above to book a seat.

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)

Virtual volumes (1559-1900) can also be viewed though the images will contain a watermark in the same manner as the online images. Watermarks can only be removed when viewed if the image is purchased and saved to your personal account for 2 credits and when the image is downloaded from your saved volumes.

You can also search indexes 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)

At this time it is not possible to search the Adopted Children's Register.

Please note that credits purchased for the ScotlandsPeople website 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:

  • Locations of the buildings and search rooms
  • Disabled access and facilities
  • 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: