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Maps are free at the National Library of Scotland website.

Scottish wills are easier to find as they are centrally located.

Criminal Records added to Scottish Indexes Scottish Indexes have added over 100,000 records to Scotland's Criminal Database. These records are from a variety of Scottish prison registers and that brings the total of prison register entries indexed to 146,601 - Scottish Indexes.


(Brief notes from lecture Jan 2021. Thanks to Dr Bruce Durie.)

A coat of arms pertain to an individual (your legal surname) or an association, and has to be legally granted. It is part of Scottish statute law. It is illegal to pretend to Arms that have not been granted. Scotland has an unbroken line of records, in the form of the Register of Arms, since 1672. On application, only the direct heirs will get the Arms indifferenced. In a Scottish CofA the motto will be along the top.

You can petition for a Scottish CofA:

  • If you were born and live in Scotland
  • If you were born in Scotland and live outside an heraldic jurisdiction (so not England, Wales, Ireland, Canada and South Africa; yes to Australia and USA)
  • If you own substantial property in Scotland and live there most of the time
  • Ancestor of your surname born in Scotland (some restrictions)
  • If you have made a substantial contribution to Scotland in some way
  • If the Association is of Scottish interest (eg: clan or Burns Club)

[So if I want to get a CofA I need to revert to my maiden name and go live in Scotland or go back to Australia.] has a section on the website under legal records. These can often contain a pedigree of the petitioner. Note: documents from this site are not considered proof (ie: to accompany a petition) if only downloaded. You need to click the button to ask for the record to be sent to you (small fee).

Reproduction of CofA in general: you can't reproduce the blazon (?) (words) without permission from the holder of Arms. You can re-draw the Arms yourself and use that image as you created it, but it's polite to ask. If you wish to use an official drawing then ask permission from the Lyon Court.

Scottish records of civil registration

The majority of Scottish BDM records are held at New Register House in Edinburgh, but are available online via the ScotlandsPeople website. For privacy purposes, images of the record entries of 100 years for births, 75 years for marriages and 50 years for deaths cannot be accessed online. However, an official extract/ certificate can be ordered from the registers.

Scottish birth records contain more details than those from England and Wales. Most include the name and surname of the child; where born; date and time of birth; sex; name, surname and occupation of father; name and maiden surname of mother; date and place of the parents’ marriage; signature, address (if not the place of birth) and relation of informant; signature of registrar.

Scottish marriage records are notable for including the name and maiden surname of the mother. Most also include when, where and how married; names of parties; occupation of bride and groom; whether parties were single, widowed or divorced; their ages; addresses of bride and groom; name, surname and occupation of father; signature of witnesses; where the marriage was registered and signature of the registrar.

Scottish deaths certificates usually contain the name, surname and occupation of father + the name and maiden surname of the mother, and whether parents are deceased. Most records also include name and surname of deceased; occupation; marital status; if married the name of the spouse; when and where died; sex; age; cause of death; signature, address (if not where death occurred) and relation of informant; where and when the death was registered and the signature of registrar.

The Registrar General also holds the Adopted Children’s Register (from 1930). There are no entries to persons born before October 1909. Up to three entries from the register on microfiche can be viewed in person at the Scotland's People Centre in Edinburgh.


Scotland's People.

Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.

Scotland's People for emigration and immigration. Scottish Reg. Office received similar records as the Eng/Welsh. Looks for air register, consular returns, foreign countries, marine register, High Comm. returns, service records.

Scotlands' Places: Female servant tax rolls 1785-1792.

Scottish Association of Family History Societies.


'Scottish Family History', 1930, by M. Stuart.

'Scottish Families: a histories held in Scottish public libraries', 1986, by J.P.S. Ferguson.