| The National Records of Scotland (NRS) has two buildings in central Edinburgh, General Register House and West Register House. Currently all records will be consulted at General Register House, except maps and plans in some cases.
Two search rooms are housed there: the Historical Search Room and the Legal Search Room. Both search rooms have the same
opening hours and are closed on
some public holidays.
For access to maps and plans see our maps and plans guidance page.
Before you visit
Due to records moves during 2011, we suggest readers contact us in advance of any visit so we can advise on availability of records.
If you have never visited the NRS search rooms before
please consult our preparing to
visit section and how
to find us. The NRS provides disabled
access at General Register
House, where there are wheelchair lifts.
Please note that if you wish to be accompanied by a child under the age of 16 years you must contact us in advance.
Please be aware that increasing numbers of NRS records are being made available digitally in the search rooms. You can ascertain whether the record you would like to see has been digitised through the NRS Catalogue. If you feel that your research would benefit from viewing the original, please make application as far in advance as possible, using the form below.
Application Form for Access to Original Records– Acrobat PDF 28KB, new window
Application Form for Access to Original Records – Rich Text Format 592KB, new window
Completed applications forms can be returned by post or email
The National Records of Scotland
Historical Search Room
HM General Register House
2 Princes Street
A project to digitise the valuation rolls (NRS ref. VR) is underway which means that some volumes will be removed from public access for a short time. For more details go to the guide to valuation rolls.
NRS search rooms are open Monday to Friday 09:00-16:30.
The latest time for
ordering records is 15:45.
The latest time for ordering copies of records
No appointment is necessary except to consult adoption records. We do not operate an advance seat booking facility and seats are filled on a first come, first served basis. Note
that some material is outstored and requires 24 hours' notice by telephone (0131 535 1334) or two working days' notice by e-mail (email@example.com) for production
in the search room. Please contact
us in advance if you need any special advice.
Christmas and New Year Opening Times
The Historical and Legal search rooms as well as the ScotlandsPeople Centre will be closed:
- Tuesday, 24 December from 1pm
- Wednesday, 25 December
- Thursday, 26 December
- Tuesday, 31 December from 1pm
- Wednesday, 1 January
- Thursday, 2 January
NRS search rooms no longer close for annual stocktaking.
room should I go to?
Due to records moves, we suggest readers contact us in advance of any visit so we can advise on availability of records.
General Register House (GRH) can be found at the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh's city centre. Two search rooms are housed there: the Historical Search Room and the Legal Search Room. The Historical Search Room is used for researching family, local, national and international history. The Legal Search Room is used for certain types of legal and commercial research, primarily using the public registers and adoption records (for more details see the Legal Search Room page).
How to find us
See the How to find us page for maps showing the locations of our buildings.