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National Library of Scotland


George IV Bridge


0131 623 3700


0131 623 3701




The library houses collections of Scottish manuscripts, maps, books, newspapers and magazines. More specifically for the genealogist there are Old Parish Registers, census returns, Monumental Inscriptions, trade and street directories, army and navy lists, emigrant lists and graduation rolls.

Online maps are available from the web site at as well as an online catalogue at The main catalogue allows the searcher to use the 'cross search' facility which combines the NLS main catalogue with the NLS manuscripts catalogue, together with a number of other specialist catalogues. In addition to the online catalogue, other items of the NLS's holdings not contained within the online catalogue are detailed in their manual catalogues available on site. Most items must be pre-ordered.

The site has section for genealogists and family historians called An introduction to Scottish family history which has family history guides covering recourses and records held by the library and a useful Frequently asked questions about family history. A family and local history blog written by NLS staff in Reference Services highlights mainly Scottish family and local history resources available in the library and also provides links to external websites that contain interesting information.

The holdings of the library can be explored through the online catalogues. Resources of interest to the genealogist include the Scottish Bibliographies Online which is Scotland's national bibliography bringing together over 90,000 records of books, periodicals and major articles of Scottish interest published all over the world. The period covered is from 1975 although most online records date from 1987. The Bibliography contains the index of the journal 'The Scottish Genealogist' which is available in print from 1976 to 1987 and online from 1988. The Bibliography of the Scottish Book Trade contains references to works dealing with the book trade, publishing, printing, bookselling and journalism. The Scottish Book Trade Index is an index of printers, publishers, booksellers, bookbinders, printmakers, stationers and papermakers based in Scotland from the beginnings of Scottish printing to circa 1850. See the catalogues website for other resources.