Historical Search Room

Historical Search Room

The Historical Search Room is located on the first floor of General Register House.  You may consult original records without charge for purposes of historical research provided that you hold a current reader's ticket and adhere to our Historical and Legal Search Room Regulations.

Historical Search Room, General Register House, Edinburgh

Opening Times

From 09:00 to 16:30 Monday to Friday, except for some public holidays and closures for essential maintenance,

  • The latest time for ordering records is 15:45.
  • The latest time for ordering copies of records is 15:45.

We don't use an advance booking facility. You don't need to make an appointment but please note that seats are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Before you visit

We recommend that you consult our catalogues and indexes and research guides. The catalogue entry provides information about whether a document is held on or off site or is available as a surrogate (it has been digitised or is on microfilm).

  • If it is stored on site there is no need to order in advance.
  • Please note that many of our records are stored off site. The catalogue record for material off site usually includes, near the top, the option to 'click here to order' which means you can place an order yourself before you visit. We can accept orders for up to 12 outstored items per day. For productions in the Historical Search Room we require:
  • If a surrogate (for example digital image or microfilm) is available but you feel this is not adequate for your research please apply as far in advance as possible using this application form for original records (pdf).

We also recommend that you read the following pages:

Our copyright guidance has been withdrawn pending legislative changes.

If you wish to consult items in our plans collection please go to our Maps and Plans research guide.

To Get the Most from Your Visit
  • Please bring full details of specific references to records held here and as much information about the names of people you are interested in, and the dates and places of events.
  • Check that the records you are looking for are held here. Birth, death and marriage registers and census returns are consulted in our ScotlandsPeople Centre search rooms on payment of the statutory fee.
  • Bring appropriate identification to obtain a reader's ticket for yourself and anyone accompanying you.

Please contact us in advance if you hope to be accompanied by a child under the age of 16 years or if you have concerns about disabled access and facilities.