National Records of Scotland

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Historic Poll Tax Records from the 1690s Go Online

Historic Poll Tax Records from the 1690s Go Online

Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014
Detail of E70/16/1 Account of poll tax, 1693

National Records of Scotland poll tax records from the 1690’s are now available online. The tax records dating from the last decade of the seventeenth century, a time of foreign wars, economic troubles, famine and poor weather, are being made available on the ScotlandsPlaces website.

Poll taxes were imposed in 1694, 1695 and twice in 1698 in order to pay for the Scottish army and navy. Almost 1500 pages of tax records provide a snapshot of thousands of Scots from every walk of life, from cottars to dukes. They complement other historical tax records already available at ScotlandsPlaces in revealing life for ordinary people in late seventeenth century Scotland. From aristocrats to workmen, the Scottish poll tax rolls from the reign of William and Mary reveal an extraordinary range of people who were liable to pay the tax imposed to meet the cost of foreign wars and the defence of the kingdom. Searchable by parish, the tax rolls provide a valuable new resource for social and family history.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said:

“Making these tax rolls available online gives a worldwide audience the opportunity to gain an interest into the Scotland of more than 300 years ago.”

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“The poll tax rolls from the 1690s are a unique resource that the National Records of Scotland is delighted to be making available to researchers from all over the world, through ScotlandsPlaces, our partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland.”