National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Events, Talks and Visits

Events, Talks and Visits

Public Talks

Tracing ‘Scotland’s People’ in the Colonial West Indies, 1775-1838

5 December 2023, 5.00-6.00pm
Dr Stephen Mullen, Lecturer in History (Legacies of Atlantic Slavery), University of Glasgow 
Book online

This talk examines the Scottish diaspora in the colonial British West Indies. Based upon research for the monograph The Glasgow Sugar Aristocracy: Scotland and Caribbean Slavery, 1775-1838 (2022), this presentation will illustrate the lives of over 100 Scots in three islands - Jamaica, Grenada and Trinidad. The process of recovering the stories of these individuals - merchants, planters, enslavers, overseers - will be explained, especially the use of the Scotland's People website. Scottish legal recording related to probate – the process of dealing with a deceased person’s estate - was more comprehensive compared to respective English legal processes. In contrast, Scottish legal sources – lodged in Commissary and Sheriff Courts – systematically recorded wills, testaments and confirmation inventories. These records facilitate a unique insight of those who were present in the British West Indies in the late slavery era, up to the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies. Moreover, these legal sources provide fresh insights into how wealthy Scots were in the British West Indies, how much wealth was repatriated, and how this helped shape modern Scotland.

The talk will last approximately 30-40 minutes, with time given at the end for questions.
To attend, book online via Eventbrite

Evening Class

Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700

Each year, NRS runs evening classes in palaeography on behalf of the University of Edinburgh's Office of Lifelong Learning. This practical course in Scottish Handwriting covering the period 1500-1700 is taught by archivists from NRS at General Register House in Edinburgh. The course runs for 10 weeks on Tuesday evenings from September with a second 10 week term starting in the following January. More information can be found on the University of Edinburgh's Short Courses pages, where you can also enrol onto the course.

Classes start at 5.30pm to 7.00pm on Tuesday 16 January 2024 at General Register House, Princes Street, Edinburgh. For more information on the course, please contact: [email protected]


National Records of Scotland’s (NRS) Outreach and Learning department supports learning for all age groups. Our Services for Schools are designed to support the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications. NRS staff can also provide specialist talks to interested groups.

If you have any enquiries about our services, please contact: [email protected].

Past NRS talks

If you have missed one of our recent public talks, many can be viewed on the NRS YouTube channel