Local history

Painting detail showing 2 people on a road
Inverness around 1780,
by Charles Cordiner.
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Local history sources can provide you with geographical, historical and social information on the areas in which your ancestors lived.

Collections at the National Library of Scotland include a wide variety of relevant material.

To find details of local history publications we have, search our main catalogue, either by title or keyword — for example, 'keyword anywhere' search using +history +peebles. (Handy hint: Using the plus sign like this narrows your search.)


Statistical Accounts of Scotland

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland are an invaluable source for research on Scottish life in the 18th to 21st centuries. For each parish or town it covers subjects as diverse as:

  • Population
  • Industry
  • Geography
  • Transport
  • Culture.

You can access online the First and Second editions at Statistical Accounts of Scotland.

If you visit us in person you can also use:

  • The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799', edited by Sir John Sinclair. 20 volumes. (Wakefield: EP Publishing, 1973-83.)
  • 'The New Statistical Account of Scotland'. 15 volumes. (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons, 1845.)
  • 'The Third Statistical Account of Scotland'. 31 volumes. (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd; Glasgow: Collins; Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1951-1992.)
  • 'East Lothian Fourth Statistical Account, 1945-2000', edited by Sonia Baker. 4 volumes. (Haddington: East Lothian Council Library Service, 2003-2006.)
  • 'Midlothian 2000 CDROM: a Fourth Statistical Account', edited by Rennie McElroy. (Dalkeith?: Midlothian Council, 2000?)

You need a library card to use resources at the National Library.


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