National Records of Scotland

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Unlocking Scotland’s past: Perth Prison registers now online

Unlocking Scotland’s past: Perth Prison registers now online

Thursday, 24 Feb 2022
Image showing signatures of ScotlandsPeople registering NRS website

National Records of Scotland (NRS) have today released Perth Prison registers online, the first time records like these have been made available digitally.

The names of men, women and children held at HMP Perth – Scotland’s first general prison – can now be searched free of charge via ScotlandsPeople, NRS’s family history research service. Images of the original handwritten admission registers can be viewed and downloaded for a small fee.

This collection, covering most years between 1867-1879 and 1888-1921 for males and 1901-1916 for females, is the first in a series of prison registers to be released. It is part of a wider ongoing programme in NRS, making more of Scotland’s national archives accessible digitally.

Welcoming the latest release, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson said:

“NRS archives contain a wealth of valuable information about Scotland’s history and the stories of our ancestors. I welcome this latest records release, which will help people in Scotland and around the world to access more of our past from their own home.”

NRS Chief Executive Paul Lowe said:

“Tens of thousands of men and women from all over Scotland were held at Perth Prison during this period, including many who left few traces in the wider historical record. These registers offer important insight into their lives, and they can help to unlock new possibilities for research.

“I am hugely proud of the ambitious work NRS are taking forward to bring their stories and those of many others to light and to make these accessible to a wider audience through digital technology. These registers of prisoners join our already rich collections of civil registers, church records and much more available through our ScotlandsPeople service.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Prison Service said:

“We are aware that these documents are of significant historical importance, particularly to researchers, historians and those in the genealogical community, and it is gratifying to see that the public will have access to them through the National Records of Scotland.”

Find out more about the newly available prison registers here at ScotlandsPeople.