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Sunday 21 July 2024 09:26
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 therecords listed in its surveys
Only some of the surveys on the Register are currently available online
The Register
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 societies. [top]
What does the online Register contain?
Surveys of papers in private hands and private papers deposited in libraries and museums.
  • 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 London.
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. [top]
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://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk  (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 consult?
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 protected]] 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)
  • the 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 possible.

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. [top]
What should I do if the owner refuses access?
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]

National Records of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY; tel +44 (0) 131 535 1314; email: [email protected]