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Statistical Accounts of Scotland

Nature of Source

Surveys and description of about 938 Scottish parishes published between 1791 and 1799. The surveys were instigated by Sir John Sinclair, M.P. for Caithness who organised questionnaires to be sent to local Church of Scotland ministers covering the local geography, topography, natural resources, agriculture and population, including ages, gender and occupations. A second or ‘New’ Statistical Account was published between 1834 and 1845 and a Third Statistical Account between 1951 and 1992. A Fourth Statistical Account for East Lothian was published between 2003 and 2009.

The accounts often included reports into everyday life of the people living in the parish and provide the names of major landowners but only occasionally mention ordinary people by name.

Other Scotland Resources
Census Returns
Clan & Tartan Records
County & Local Histories
Court Records
Directories, Trade, Professional, Telephone & Street
Electoral Registers or Burgess Rolls
Emigration Records
Hearth Tax
Heraldic Coats of Arms & Seals
Kirk/Church Sessions
Land Tax Assessments & Returns
Maps & Gazetteers
Militia Lists
Monumental/Memorial Inscriptions
Newspapers, magazines & journals
Old Parish Registers-Baptisms (OPRs)
Old Parish Registers-Burials (OPRs)
Old Parish Registers-Marriages & Proclamations (OPRs)
Passenger Lists
Pedigrees and Family Histories
Poor Law Records
Registers of Deeds (Books of Council and Session)
Retours of Services of Heirs
Sasines, Registers of
Statistical Accounts of Scotland
Statutory Registration-Birth
Statutory Registration-Death
Statutory Registration-Marriage
Surname Origins and Distribution
Valuation Rolls & Stent Rolls
Wills/Testaments and Inheritance

Where Found

Period Covered

1791 - 1845

Genealogical Value

Some individual names mentioned, descriptions of places, parishioner occupations and religious affiliations, description and history of parish. Very useful for a social and economic picture of an area.

Further References

Statistical Accounts Related
Baker, Sonia (ed). East Lothian Fourth Statistical Account, 1945-2000: East Lothian Council Library Service, 2003-2006 Buy Now on Amazon
Sinclair, Sir John (ed). The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799: EP Publishing, 1973-1983 Buy Now on Amazon
Steven, Maisie. Parish Life in 18th Century Scotland: A Review of the Old Statistical Account: Scottish Cultural Press, 2002 Buy Now on Amazon
The New Statistical Account of Scotland: Blackwood & Sons, 1845  
The Third Statistical Account of Scotland: Oliver and Boyd, 1951-  
Family History Guides  
Adolph, Anthony. Tracing Your Scottish Family History: Collins, 2008 Buy Now on Amazon
Bigwood, Rosemary: The Scottish Family Tree Detective: Tracing Your Ancestors in Scotland: Manchester University Press, 2007  Buy Now on Amazon
Clarke, T. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: The Official Guide: Birlinn, 2012  Buy Now on Amazon
Cory, Kathleen B. Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009 Buy Now on Amazon
Durie, Bruce. Scottish Genealogy: The History Press, 2012  Buy Now on Amazon
Durie, Bruce. Documents for Genealogy & Local History: The History Press, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Hamilton-Edwards, Gerald. In Search of Scottish Ancestry: Phillimore, 1983  Buy Now on Amazon
Holton, Graham & Winch, Jack. Discover Your Scottish Ancestry: Internet and Traditional Resources: Edinburgh University Press, 2009 (Preview available from Google Books)
 Buy Now on Amazon
James, Alwyn. Scottish Roots: From Gravestone to Website: The Step-By-Step Guide to Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: Luath Press, 2005 Buy Now on Amazon
Maxwell, Ian. Tracing your Scottish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword, 2009  
Paton, Chris. Researching Scottish Family History: The Family History Partnership, 2010  Buy Now on Amazon
Stewart, Alan. My Ancestor was Scottish: Society of Genealogists, 2012  Buy Now on Amazon
Tovey, Helen. My Scottish Ancestry: Lomond Books, 2011  Buy Now on Amazon
Concise Scots Dictionary: Edinburgh University Press, 1999 (Preview available from Google Books) Buy Now on Amazon
Lynch, Michael. Oxford Companion to Scottish History: OUP Oxford, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon
Moffat, Alistair & Wilson, James. The Scots: A Genetic Journey: Birlinn, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon
Richards, Eric. The Highland Clearances: Birlinn, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon
Scots Dictionary: Collins, 2014 Buy Now on Amazon
Timperley, Loretta R, (ed). A Directory of Land Ownership in Scotland c 1770: Scottish Record Society, 1976 Buy Now on Amazon
Torrance, Richard D. Scottish Trades, Professions, Vital Documents & Directories: Scottish Association of Family History Societies, 1998 Buy Now on Amazon
Wightman, Andy. The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got it: Birlinn, 2013 Buy Now on Amazon

Some published accounts are available at Google Books and the Internet Archive including The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845

Websites (University of Edinburgh Statistical Accounts of Scotland: What are Scotland’s statistical accounts?) (The blog has been set up to accompany the Statistical Accounts of Scotland Online Service. The blog shares interesting aspects of the Accounts, how they came to be, how they can and are being used by researchers and historians today) (Wikipedia entry: Statistical Accounts of Scotland) (Scotland Accounted For: An Introduction To The 'Old' (1791-1799) And The New (1834-1845) Statistical Accounts Of Scotland, by Charles W J Withers) (Place names of Scotland: ScotlandsPlaces Gazetteer) (Gazetteer for Scotland)

Online Databases (University of Edinburgh Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1845: Transcriptions, parish maps and scanned page images of the First and Second editions) (The Old Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-1799. Volumes available in downloadable PDF files) (The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845. Volumes available in downloadable PDF files)

CD Roms

Midlothian Council (Midlothian 2000 CD-ROM: A Fourth Statistical Account of Midlothian, edited by Rennie McElroy, Midlothian Council, 2000)