Wednesday, 19 October 2016

ScotlandsPeople restrictions on Scottish Catholic records

Take note if you are planning to do research into the Scottish Roman Catholic records available on ScotlandsPeople. Something I had not noticed until I tried to use them today is that the National Records of Scotland ( has placed restrictions on the Catholic register indexes that are accessible on the ScotlandsPeople database at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh and at other genealogy centres.

Until recently, it was possible to access the following collections on ScotlandsPeople at the centres:

1703-1992 baptisms and births
1736-1934 marriages and banns
1742-1955 deaths and burials
Other events

Today at the Glasgow Genealogy Centre, I got the following via the ScotlandsPeople database:

1703-1916 baptisms and births
1703-1941 marriages and banns
1703-1966 deaths and burials
1703-1916 other events

Clearly the year ranges all starting in 1703 are nonsense - and the end points now match the closure periods as respected by the statutory birth, marriage and death records collections on the online version of the website.

Just to make things more bewildering, the new online version of ScotlandsPeople at does provide access to the Catholic indexes beyond these closure period dates - but not to images of the actual records, which can only be viewed for the earlier records. For the most recent records, there is no option to purchase an 'offical extract', as with the statutory records (most likely because these are not NRS records, but registers sourced from the Scottish Catholic Archives) - you just can't view them at all.

So if you are planning to visit Edinburgh, or any of the other genealogy centres offering access to ScotlandsPeople for a daily fee of £15, be advised that the online website is currently now the only place where you will get access to indexes of the more recent records.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

1 comment:

  1. So either the online indexes will shortly be just as restricted or the contractors have fouled up the genealogy centre version. At least that's the logical assumption.