National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future



Please find below product details and buying options for ‘Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: the Official Guide’ and the updated Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700: a self-help pack (see below for more details). Please note our other publications are temporarily unavailable. To compliment the Scottish Handwriting pack you may wish to visit the Scottish Handwriting resource on the ScotlandsPeople website which offers online free tuition in palaeography to help with reading historical records written in Scotland in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. 

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: the Official Guide

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors cover

 Seventh edition, published August 2020
 Publisher: Birlinn Ltd, 2020
 ISBN: 9781780276335
 Pages: 272
 Cost: GBP 12.99



This official guide to the records made available via ScotlandsPeople and the National Records of Scotland is indispensable for family historians, historians and biographers, whether visiting in person or researching online. The seventh edition is packed with up-to-date information about how to trace Scottish genealogy in the unique treasure trove of Scotland's national archives. Available for the first time in both paperback and e-book versions. Please visit the Birlinn website or other online retailers to purchase a copy.


Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700: a self-help pack

Front  cover of the Scottish Handwriting self help pack   Author: Alison Rosie
   Publisher: Scottish Records Association and National Records of Scotland
   ISBN: 978 0 9957776 1 3
   Pages: 28 plus 13 facsimiles
   Cost: GBP 12.15 



A step-by-step guide to reading the handwriting of old Scottish documents using facsimiles, mainly from the National Records of Scotland's (NRS) archives. This is an updated version of the original kit, created in partnership with the NRS and the Scottish Records Association (SRA). A physical copy is also available to purchase from the ScotlandsPeople online store

Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700 a self-help kit (digital version) (52.3 MB PDF).

‘...a valuable asset to those with an interest in researching Scottish History at source.’ - Family Tree Magazine


Tracing Scottish Local History (not currently available)

Tracing Scottish Local History cover

Author: Cecil J Sinclair
Publisher: HMSO, 1996
ISBN: 0 11 495231 0
Pages: 176
Cost: GBP 7.95


An authoritative survey of the vast range of material in the national archive collections - dealing with houses, streets, estates and farms, administrative divisions of Scotland as well as schools, businesses and recreational activities.