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This is the most reliable search method. Type in a word or phrase. (e.g. Loch Ness Monster). The system will ignore certain common words (e.g. the, and) and is not case sensitive. You can also specify whether to look for the whole phrase, or records containing all or any of the words. Click on the ‘Search’ button. This will display any entries that contain the words/phrase you have entered. In common with most archives, we do not arrange or store our collections by subjects and so a search for a subject title like English Civil War will bring up very little. Conversely, a search using the names of prominent politicians, soldiers, or battles of the period (e.g. Oliver Cromwell or Marston Moor) will bring up more useful results. In order to get the best out of the system, you have to be prepared to think laterally and a little prior knowledge or thinking around a subject can pay dividends.

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National Records of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY; email: [email protected]