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Monday 15 September 2014

Catalogues and indexes

Each collection of records held by National Records of Scotland (NRS) has a catalogue or index to help you find the right material whether it's a file or a single document.

  • Catalogues are lists of archives according to where they came from and when they were created (their provenance). The catalogues have an alpha-numeric reference system, for example HD4/5.
  • Indexes by surname, placename or topic are sometimes made of certain types of record to allow you to find individual documents easily.

The catalogues and indexes compiled by NRS are listed below.

National Archives of Scotland Catalogue
Most of the records held by the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) are described on an electronic database, the online catalogue. You can search the database using any text, dates or reference numbers.

Search the NAS Catalogue.

National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS)
This is a database of private collections which have been registered by the NRAS, some of which are still held privately and others are held by archival institutions.

Search the NRAS Register.

Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) online catalogue
This contains summary information on over 20,000 collections of historical records held in 52 Scottish archives. To use the catalogue visit the SCAN website (link on left side of this page).

The following catalogues are only available in our search rooms.

Catalogues only available on paper
There are still some collections which do not yet have electronic catalogues and are only listed on paper catalogues which are kept in our search rooms. Find out more about using our search rooms.

Scottish wills and testaments
There is a separate index to all wills and testaments in Scottish commissary and sheriff court registers for the years 1514-1901. It can be searched in the NAS search rooms or online at the ScotlandsPeople website. There is an electronic index of post-1985 wills which is only available in the NAS search rooms. More information on wills and testaments can be found in the guide to wills

Highland Emigration Society
There is a separate index to the passenger lists of the Highland Emigration Society from 1852-1857 (HD4/5), which can be searched in the NAS search rooms or on the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) website.

High Court of Justiciary records index
The 19th Century Solemn Database is an electronic index of 19th century High Court of Justiciary jury (“solemn”) trials. The database is a work in progress and will eventually link together all the records connected with the trial of an individual. These tend to be:

  • a precognition
  • case papers
  • one or more minute book or book of adjournal entries
  • any appeal papers
  • any associated objects, plans, photographs etc.
More information on these records can be found in the guide to the records of crime and criminals

The database is only available in our Historical Search Room, but selected information from it, as well as information about 20th century cases more than 75 years old, is also available on the NAS Catalogue, so you can also search for trials online. 20th Century cases less than 75 years old are not available for Data Protection reasons. How to search for High Court criminal trials explains how to get the best out of searching the online catalogue. If you are unfamiliar with some of the legal terms used in the catalogue, our index of legal terms and offences libelled will help.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 15 July 2014

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