Monday, 19 June 2017

The weeding of Scottish court records

The National Records of Scotland ( has published an interesting blog post about the process of 'weeding' records that it collects each year from Scotland's sheriff courts.

Whilst all court registers are kept and preserved, not all original court files are retained, only those which have "historical, evidential or informational values". This is why in some cases, whilst you may find an initial summary record of a historic civil case, for example, the original case files themselves may not be available to consult at an archive. Weeding happens in many archives, across a range of record types, in order to save space within archives, and in many cases to actually make the research process easier (removing duplicates and unnecessary suport materials). Of course, from a genealogist's point of view, there may be a very different interpretation of what constitutes "historical, evidential or informational value" to what the state decides!

For more on the NRS story, visit the blog post by Jennifer Homewood, of the SCTS/NRS National Sheriff Court Records Survey, at

The full policy on the weeding of court records by the NRS is also available online at


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