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Scottish & English Record Offices

By Roger E. Chisholm Batten,
Former Journal Editor, The Clan Chisholm Society

From the 1998 Clan Chisholm Journal

The General Register Office for Scotland

Based in Edinburgh, the General Register Office holds all national records - the GROS records - including the Statutory Registers started in 1855 which contain details of births, marriages and deaths, as well as census information. It also contains other records such as the Old Parish Registers which go back further but are less and less informative going deeper into history. These records are available online via and can be accessed for a small fee.

For those wanting a more hands on approach, the records can be inspected in person at the General Register Office.

There are four explanatory leaflets freely available, numbered surprisingly S1 to S5:

If you are interested, then it is well worth getting these leaflets before you travel to Edinburgh, as they also detail the procedure for pre-booking a seat.

Further information about the services offered by the General Register Office for Scotland may be obtained by writing to:

The English Public Record Office

The English Public Record Office has recently moved to 1 Myddleton Street, Islington, London EC1. The telephone for general enquiries is 0181 392 5300, and the Fax number is 0181 392 5307.

There is no charge for entry, but the certificates (which are only available certified) cost £6 each.

There are other differences to the services offered:

Whilst it could be said that both Offices are essentially ‘self service’, they do have a very friendly and knowledgeable staff who are happy to give assistance where required.