An In-Depth Look at Scottish University Archives 2

The Scottish universities have archival collections that are often overlooked as a resource for genealogy research. However, the records held at the Universities often contain robust information for rounding out the story of your ancestors. This information may not be found in any other collection.

The University archives  include documents and photos related to the operation of the universities, such as:

  • admission registers
  • photos of clubs, faculty, sports teams etc.
  • minutes of clubs
  • faculty records
  • exam papers
  • graduate theses
  • graduation rolls

In addition, each university holds unique record for the whole of Scotland. As well, the universities hold records from the National Health Services. The archivists are from the NHS, but the collections are housed at the Universities. Here is a breakdown: 

University of Edinburgh Archives:

  • Index of Doctors During WWII (lists name and address of doctor, their rank and any reason why they might be unfit for army service)
  • Edinburgh College of Art records
  • College of Physicians
  • New College Library (Church of Scotland)
  • Lothian NHS Records
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Major Papers of Scottish Enlightenment

 Glasgow University Archives:

 Scottish Brewing Archives - this has to do with the brewing industry, not owners of ale houses. A list of archives for pubs and inns can be found at:

  • Glasgow NHS
  • Scottish Business Archives
  • Glasgow Guardian (newspaper) Digital Archives
  • Scottish Friendly Assurance Society

 University of Stirling Archives:

  •  Musicians Union records
  • Scottish Newspaper Society records
  • Penguin Books archives
  • Forth Valley NHS (Stirling District Asylum). The University has indexed the records for the Stirling District Asylum and made these available online. The offline records include: admission registers (1869-1941); registers of deaths (1869-1977); case books (1869-1918) and administrative records
  • Royal Scottish National Hospital (for mentally impaired individuals). Records include: applications and case files (1865-1954); admissions registers (1863-1988); registers of accidents (1892-1980); registers of discharges and removals (1864-1962); registers of deaths (1879-1951); records of expiry of detention orders (1915-1987); registers of escapes (1935-1968); registers of restraint and seclusion (1937-1968); staff records and administrative records.

University of Dundee Archives: 

  • Records pertaining to Jute and Linen Industries
  • Tayside NHS. These records include the Dundee Royal Infirmary; Dundee Women's Hospital and Nursing Home; Royal Dundee Liff (Lunatic Asylum); Dundee District Board of Lunacy, Board of Control; Dundee Mental Hospitals; Dundee Convalescent Hospital; Perth College of Nursing and Midwifery; Poor House Committee of  Dundee Combination Parochial Board. A full listing can be found at:

University of the West of Scotland:

  • National Union of Mineworkers Special Collection
  • Scottish Milk Marketing Board Special Collection
  • Scottish Schools Essay Competition Archive
  • Shipbuilding histories 

University of Aberdeen Archives:

  • Deposited records of local families, individuals, estates, organizations and businesses
  • Records of the NHS Grampian Archives - a full listing can be found at:
  • Records of the Scottish Catholic Archives, Historic Archives
  • Emigration Records
  • Records pertaining to the Slave Trade in Aberdeen and includes slave trade between the southern United States and the British Caribbean and charts slavery from the late 1700s through to abolition in 1830

Be sure to have a look at the online catalogues to see what you might be missing out on for your family history research. You can contact the University archives directly to find out how to access the records you are interested in. None of them will be available online, however.



About Christine Woodcock

Scottish born, Canadian raised, Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in the Scottish records. She enjoys sharing new resources to assist others in their quest to find and document their heritage. Christine is also a lecturer, author and blogger. She is the Director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland ( and enjoys taking fellow Scots “home” to do onsite genealogy research and to discover their own Scottish heritage.

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