National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future



In line with advice from the Scottish Government we regret that we are unable to deal with orders for the products detailed below. For the latest information about all our services, please visit our service status page.

It is still possible to purchase copies of ‘Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: the Official Guide’ (see below for more details). Please note our other publications are temporarily unavailable. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the skill of reading old Scottish handwriting, please visit the Scottish Handwriting 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. 

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.

Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700: a self-help pack (not currently available)

Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700 cover

Author: Alison Rosie
Publisher: Scottish Records Association and the National Records of Scotland
ISBN: 1 870874 04 8
Pages: 28 plus 13 facsimiles
Cost: GBP 8.00


A step-by-step guide to reading the handwriting of old Scottish documents using facsimiles of documents mainly from the national archive collections.

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