National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

NRS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

NRS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Updated: 24 November 2021

Visiting our Search Rooms

NRS is pleased to be welcoming back increasing numbers of customers to our search rooms. In order to ensure a safe environment for staff and visitors, we have made a number of changes to our service. Please see our Safe Visit Agreement for details.

All search rooms are currently operating a restricted service and at much reduced capacity. We are dealing with a large number of enquiries and apologise that our response times will be longer than normal. If you wish to contact us, please use our Contact Us form on the ScotlandsPeople website, or email: [email protected]

Our buildings are unique, many of them are Category A listed with different factors affecting individual rooms. NRS guidance on ventilation outlines the best ways to maximise natural ventilation in our buildings and the different capacity of each room and building. We continue to monitor ventilation levels and are currently reviewing building opening hours which may allow access for more customers in the future.

Historical Search Room

The Historical Search Room is now open to all customers but is operating with reduced capacity. Please see our updated guidance for more information and note our festive closures.

Access to the Historical Search Room is by appointment only. The search room is open between 10:00 – 16:30, Mondays to Thursdays . You will be given a designated arrival time upon booking your appointment.

To book an appointment:

We’re currently unable to offer a copy service or printing facilities.

Dundas Search Room

The ScotlandsPeople Dundas Search Room is now open to all customers but is operating with reduced capacity. Further information is available on the ScotlandPeople websites' Visit Us page.

Access to the Dundas Search Room is by appointment only. Opening hours are 9:00 – 16.30, Mondays to Fridays. Please note our festive closures

Demand for appointments is currently very high.

To book an appointment:

We’re currently unable to offer a copy service or printing facilities.

Legal Search Room

The Legal Search Room currently remains closed to all visitors.

We continue to supply digital copies where they are available and have reduced numbers of essential staff in the office on a part time basis to process urgent enquiries and provide extracts from original records.

If you require access to our legal records please contact us by email: [email protected].

Latest updates

Ordering a Certificate

Customers can order a certificate using Certificates and Copies on our ScotlandsPeople website.

We cannot process orders received by any other contact channel or for Census and Old Parish Records.

We understand that there may be very urgent cases where certificates are required quickly. If this is the case, please order the certificate online and then use our contact form on ScotlandsPeople selecting ‘Certificates and Copies’ to provide information on your urgent requirements.

For urgent Adoption Birth Certificates and No Trace Divorce Letters, these can be requested through the Contact Us button, on the ScotlandsPeople website selecting ‘Certificates and Copies’. One of our team will then contact you.

Adoptions

We anticipate our appointment service for face to face viewing of adoption records to be operational in early October and any updates on that service will be made here.

Our team are currently working a combination of home and office working with limited access to our records. Reduced numbers of staff are in the office on a part time basis to:

  • register new adoptions and to issue new adoption certificates.
  • issue pre adoption birth details to enable an original birth certificate to be obtained.

If you require information on ordering an older adoption certificate please see the Ordering a Certificate section.

If you have any enquiries relating to adoptions please contact us by email.

Registration Services

Registration of Deaths and Still-births

NRS understands that this is a very distressing and difficult time for bereaved families. Registrars can take ‘remote’ registration of deaths, by telephone or electronic means and information on this is available from our Registering a Death page or contact your local registration office (90 KB PDF) direct, to arrange an appointment.

Registration of Births

Please check the guidance for Registration of Births issued by the Registrar General for Scotland.

Registration of Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Please see Getting Married in Scotland or Registering a Civil Partnership for guidance issued by the Registrar General for Scotland.

If you have an urgent query about a marriage or civil partnership, please email: [email protected].

Change of name

Our team are currently working a combination of home and office working with limited access to our records. Reduced numbers of staff are in the office on a part time basis to:

  • work through a backlog of applications which were received during our service suspension period
  • process any urgent applications.

If you would like an update on a request which has already been submitted or you have an urgent application which you would like to discuss with us, please contact [email protected]

We currently have limited capacity to process new applications which are non-urgent but we are working to put plans in place to increase our processing capacity in the coming months. New applications will be held in a queue and processed in strict date order, using the date they are received in the office.

Please note, we cannot accept payment other than by credit/debit card. Also, we cannot provide a new birth extract automatically but will provide information on how one can be obtained following a change of name.

If you have a query about how to have a change of name recorded please email [email protected]

Re-registration of a Birth or Still-birth:

If you would like advice about the re-registration of a birth or still-birth, please email: [email protected]. Please be aware that no re-registration applications will be processed until our normal service has resumed. We are keeping this under review and will provide an update as soon as this is likely to change.

Gender Recognition:

If you would like general advice about the gender recognition process or how the birth registration process works in Scotland, please email: [email protected].

Corrections to register entries

Please be aware that no requests to make corrections to register entries can be processed until our normal service has resumed. We are keeping this under review and will provide an update as soon as this is likely to change.

If you would like advice about having a correction made to a register entry, please email: [email protected]

‘To Whom It May Concern’ Letters

Please be aware that no requests for a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letter can be processed until our normal service has resumed. We are keeping this under review and will provide an update as soon as this is likely to change.

If you require advice about requesting a letter from the Registrar General for Scotland to confirm that the statutory indexes have been checked and that there is no record of a current marriage or civil partnership for you, please email: [email protected]

Information Regarding Services to Record Depositors

Transfer of Records to NRS

The transfer of records to NRS is currently suspended. However we continue to offer advice and guidance to our client depositors. Please contact us as follows:

Retransmission Service

The temporary return of records (retransmission service) to client bodies from NRS restarted on a limited basis on 30th April. At present this is for outward record returns only. We intend to extend the service to include record recoveries shortly.

For cases where client bodies or depositors need urgent access to inspect their records in NRS (client inspections), arrangements are now in place to make records available. If there is a requirement to do this please contact us as follows:

More Information

Which NRS services can I use?

We will continue to deliver a number of our services including:

  • Statistical publications: NRS is reviewing its data gathering and release practices, and focussing efforts on priority statistics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Users and stakeholders will be advised of any changes as soon as possible. The latest information on publication dates and further information including contact details is available on our statistics publication page.
  • Legal documents: The legal search room remains closed to all visitors. If you require access to our legal records please contact us at [email protected]. We continue to supply digital copies where they are available and have reduced numbers of essential staff in the office on a part time basis to process urgent enquiries and provide extracts from original records.
  • Scottish Register of Tartans: You can currently apply to register your tartan online via your account and submit enquiries via email. We are registering approved tartans on our website but we are currently unable to issue tartan certificates related to recently approved registrations.
  • ScotlandsPeopleour online services are available as usual and our teams are currently working from home to make new records available for release. We recently released the Radical Rising of 1820 within our Virtual Volumes record set, which can be viewed for free with a small charge to download a copy to an online personal account. There are a number of our records which you can search and view for free. ScotlandsPlaces also offers a range of free resources which will help to support your research and ScottishHandwriting website, offers free online tuition in palaeography for anyone who is having difficulties reading manuscript historical records written in Scotland.
  • NRS Learning Services: Teachers, pupils and learners of all ages and stages can access and engage with our online resources via the Learning section of the NRS website. The resources available at Services for Schools and Scottish Archives for Schools are designed to support the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications. If you have any enquiries, contact us by email.
  • NRS Web Continuity Service continues to operate. If you have any questions please contact [email protected].
  • Public Records Scotland Act (PRSA): The Records Management Plan and Progress Update Review rolling programme of assessmentcontinues as normal. We do however appreciate that many of our stakeholder authorities will themselves be experiencing disruption during this time. Please contact the team by email if you have any queries or concerns.
  • National Register of Archives for Scotland: Access to records held privately has necessarily been withdrawn during this period. The NRAS however continues to offer advice and guidance to owners and researchers, please contact us by email.
  • Advice and support for the archive sector: It is important to ensure that archive collections remain safe and secure. The National Archives has useful webpages covering collections safety, Archive Service Accreditation, and a list of useful guidance and resources from other organisations.
  • Disaster or incident control advice relating to archive collections can be provided remotely by the NRS Preservation team.  Please contact [email protected].
  • Exhibition Loans: NRS is not accepting new external loan requests at this time. This position will be reviewed in April 2022.

Festive closures

We are closed on certain public holidays. These dates for the period up to 31 January 2022 are:

  • 27 December 2021
  • 28 December 2021
  • 3 January 2022
  • 4 January 2022

In addition to the above, all of our search rooms and public services will be closed on Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th and Friday 31st December 2021.

Contact Us

Your enquiry is important to us and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. Due to current circumstances, we may not meet standard timescales for response and our normal access to our records may be limited, which will impact on the information and copies which we can provide at this time. To help you get to the right team as quickly as possible, we have provided a list of our direct email addresses which can be used to contact us with your enquiry.

Service Email Address
Adoptions [email protected]
Change of Name [email protected]
Correction of Statutory Registration errors [email protected]
Data Protection [email protected]
Divorces Indexes for divorces from 1984 can be viewed at ScotlandsPeople at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

For divorces from 1919 to 1984 [email protected].

Freedom of Information [email protected]
Gender Recognition [email protected]
General Registration Queries [email protected]
Advice and guidance to bodies who deposit historical records with us [email protected]
Advice and guidance for Government bodies, agencies & departments [email protected]
Historical and Legal Documents Contact us through ScotlandsPeople at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk or if unable to access the website then contact us at [email protected]
Learning Services [email protected]
Local organisation unit [email protected]
Marriages and Civil Partnerships [email protected]
Media Enquiries [email protected]
Scotlands Census 2021enquiries        [email protected] 
Multi-Lingual Translation Aids [email protected]
National Register of Archives for Scotland - Research and advice to private owners of archive collections [email protected]
Preservation/ Conservation of Records [email protected]
Public Records (Scotland) Act - Submission of Records Management plans or advice [email protected]
Re-registration of a Birth or Still-birth [email protected]
ScotlandsPeople service Contact us through the website at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk or [email protected]
Scottish Register of Tartans [email protected]
Statistical data [email protected]
Wills up to 1925 Contact us through the website at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Wills from 1925 to 1999 are available on a limited basis. [email protected]
Wills more modern than the year 2000 are not held by us. Scottish Courts should be contacted at [email protected].

We are able to answer general enquiries via our phone lines as a means of support for customers who do not have access to email or for those who have urgent enquiries. Please contact us on 0131 202 0451 and one of our staff team will be happy to help. Our helpline is open Monday to Friday 10:00 to 12:00 (noon).