Welcome to the NRAS online Register.
This database contains the fully searchable details of all items in the catalogue of the National Register of Archives Scotland.
| The NRAS does not hold any of the
records listed in its surveys
Only some of the surveys on the Register are currently available online
The National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS) was established by the
Scottish Record Office (now the National Records of Scotland) in 1946 to
compile a record of papers of historical significance in private hands in
Scotland. The principal aims of the NRAS are to locate such papers and to
encourage their care so that their loss and destruction may be avoided. The
Register now contains over 4,200 surveys of private papers including the
records of landed estates, private individuals, businesses, law firms and
|What does the online Register contain?
Surveys of papers in private hands and private papers deposited in libraries
Many owners are unable to deal with a large volume of enquiries and for this
reason have asked us to restrict enquiries to non genealogical searches. Where
this applies, the survey has been marked accordingly.
Where the owner has given permission, the full catalogue is available on-line.
For all others, a summary of the contents of the collection is available but the
full catalogue can only be consulted in the National Records of Scotland,
the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh and The National Archives in
|Which surveys are not available on-line?
Papers deposited in local authority archives and university archives.
Information on these collections is available on the following websites:
Archives Hub:http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk (opens in new window)
Scottish Archive Network: http://www.scan.org.uk/aboutus/indexonline.htm (opens in new window)
The National Register of Archives (maintained by The National Archives:
Historical Manuscripts Commission: http://www.nra.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/ (opens in new window)
Paper copies of these surveys can be consulted in the National Library of
Scotland, The National Archives, London as well as in the National Records of
Scotland (General Register House).[top]
What should I do once I have identified items I would like to
1. Where the NRAS is given as the contact, write or e-mail us [National
Register of Archives for Scotland, H M General Register House, Edinburgh, EH1
3YY; email@example.com] with the following information:
your full postal name and address
- description and full references of the
documents (please keep the number of items to a minimum –c. 20 items - or give
priority to the items you consider the most important for your research)
reason you wish to consult the papers
- whether you intend to publish
whether you are working to a deadline
The staff of the NRAS can answer specific enquiries regarding the existence of
papers relating to a particular person or topic but cannot undertake research
on behalf of enquirers.
Please note that as owners may not be able to reply to your request or give
access to their papers quickly, it is wise to apply for access as early as
Your letter, or e-mail, will be forwarded to the owner for their consideration.
The owner may contact you through the NRAS or may choose to contact you direct.
Access, if granted, may be given in the search room at General Register House,
Princes Street, or locally. Please note that some owners may charge an
administration fee for arranging access to their papers.
2. For collections indicated as being deposited in museums, libraries or other
institutions, please contact them direct at the address given.
|What should I do if the owner refuses
Private owners receive many requests to view their private papers. It may be
quite time-consuming to retrieve documents and many owners, while wishing to be
as helpful as possible, are unable to deal with even a low level of enquiries.
An owner’s decision not to give access may seem arbitrary to researchers but
there are often very good reasons why they cannot, and they are under no
obligation to tell us why. Researchers should also remember that access to
private papers is a privilege and not a right.[top]