What’s avail­able on­line and in the ar­chives

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Statu­tory death records

Births, mar­riages and deaths from 1855 can found on Scot­land­sPeo­ple ( scot­land­speo­ple. – a pay-per-view web­site. Modern cer­tifi­cates can­not be viewed on­line as there are re­stric­tions of 100 years on births, 75 years on mar­riages and 50 years on deaths. For £15 per day you can look at all records by vis­it­ing the Scot­land­sPeo­ple Cen­tre in Ed­in­burgh.

Old parish reg­is­ters (OPRs)

These are also ac­ces­si­ble in the Scot­land­sPeo­ple Cen­tre or on its web­site. The Scot­tish Ge­neal­ogy So­ci­ety Li­brary ( scots­ge­neal­ in Ed­in­burgh, has a full set of OPRs on mi­cro­film. Mem­bers of the so­ci­ety can use the re­sources of the li­brary for free, and non-mem­bers for a small charge.

Kirk ses­sion records

Kirk ses­sion records can be viewed in the His­tor­i­cal Search Room, Na­tional Records of Scot­land ( NRS) in Ed­in­burgh. Searchers re­quire a reader’s ticket, so bring two forms of ID and two pass­port pho­tos when you first visit. Ac­cess is free to these digi­tised records. For Scot­land­sPeo­ple Cen­tre vis­i­tors, there is also a ter­mi­nal in the Reid Room where kirk ses­sion records can be viewed.

Non-es­tab­lished kirk ses­sions

The NRS holds de­tails of these records, most of which have also been digi­tised. It is worth con­sult­ing the on­line cat­a­logue in ad­vance: go to nrscot­ then click ‘Re­search’.

Memo­rial in­scrip­tion books

The Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Fam­ily His­tory So­ci­eties (SAFHS) has links to mem­ber so­ci­eties on and you can see which burial ground each so­ci­ety has recorded. The web­site has a burial ground in­dex al­low­ing you to see where your ancestors might be buried. There are no in­scrip­tions on this in­dex, but there is in­for­ma­tion on the burial grounds listed, in­clud­ing where memo­rial in­scrip­tions can be ac­cessed.

Lair records

Usu­ally kept by a reg­is­trar or at a cen­tral point, of­ten in a cre­ma­to­rium or ceme­tery com­plex. Call the coun­cil be­reave­ment depart­ment (or sim­i­lar) to find out where lo­cal records are. Lair reg­is­ters show who bought the lair and who is in­terred, al­though this last de­tail is not al­ways com­plete. Some records are on de­cease­

News­pa­per death no­tices

The Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land ( NLS) holds a large col­lec­tion of Scot­tish news­pa­pers and there is an on­line search fa­cil­ity of in­dexed news­pa­pers at To find lo­cal news­pa­pers, call the li­brary head­quar­ters for the re­gion.


Up to 1925, these are avail­able through the in­house and on­line ver­sions of Scot­land­sPeo­ple ( scot­land­speo­ and it is pos­si­ble to down­load the doc­u­ments. For more re­cent tes­ta­ments af­ter 1925, a visit to the His­tor­i­cal Search Room of the NRS will be nec­es­sary.

Sol­diers’ wills

These are also avail­able through scot­lands peo­

Com­mon­wealth War Graves

For in­for­ma­tion on ser­vice­men killed in the world wars, in­clud­ing next of kin de­tails and place of burial or com­mem­o­ra­tion are avail­able at – it helps if you know the reg­i­ment or ser­vice num­ber, but that is not es­sen­tial.

Statu­tory death records can be viewed on Scot­land­sPeo­ple for a fee

News­pa­per in­dexes fea­tur­ing death no­tices are on the Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land web­site

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