Stagecoach detail from old newspaper
Stagecoach advert illustration.
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Newspapers are useful for your family history research as they contain:

  • Notices of birth, death and marriage
  • Obituaries
  • Advertisements for emigration
  • Local business adverts and information
  • Local news and historical information about an area.

They may also contain a news story about a member of your family if they were involved in an event.


Newspaper collections at the National Library

At the National Library of Scotland we collect a copy of every newspaper published in Scotland, including:

  • Daily and weekly newspapers
  • Free papers
  • Community papers.

We also collect all the main UK national papers. We can provide access within the General Reading Room to selected digital resources. Some of them, such the 'Times Digital Archive', you can use from your home or office if you have a general library card. Read more about our newspaper collections.


Gaps in the collections

There are some gaps in the collection of 19th-century newspapers we inherited from the Advocates Library when the National Library of Scotland was formed in 1925. Some issues of national and local titles are missing, although these are gradually being filled by the NEWSPLAN microfilming project.

Sources for older Scottish newspapers which we don't hold are local Scottish public libraries and British Library Newspapers.


Searching the Library catalogue

To find out what newspapers we hold you can use the main catalogue to:

  • Search for the title of the newspaper you wish to see by using the 'journal title' search option.
  • Use the 'subject search' to type in the name of the town followed by '(Scotland) — newspapers'. For example: Falkirk (Scotland) — newspapers.

If we have a newspaper you are interested in you can contact us to arrange to come and see it or to ask a question. If we don't have the newspaper you want we may be able to direct you to another library which does have it.


Scottish newspaper indexes

Online you can search the Guide to Scottish Newspaper Indexes. This database provides details of Scottish newspaper titles that have an index, and tells you which libraries have a copy of each index.

The Scotsman archive

You can use the Scotsman Digital Archive free as an index to the Scotsman newspaper from 1817-1950.


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