National Records of Scotland

National Records of Scotland is an agency of the Scottish government.  On April 1, 2011 the National Archives of Scotland merged with the Registrar to form the National Records of Scotland as part of a government effort to merge organizations within the government.  They have 72 kilometers of shelving and records of births and deaths dating from the 12th century.  They also have the census records from 1841.  There are six buildings in Edinburgh, and they employ 450 staff members.  The public access facilities include six public search rooms and nine webpages, though things are changing now that the merger between the agencies has occurred.

Currently they report to the Cabinet Secretary of Culture and External Affairs, but they have been under various departments over the years.  The growing interest in genealogy has raised the profile of the National Records of Scotland and its importance to the community.  They digitize the most frequently used records in an effort to balance access and preservation needs.  Their oldest document is a brieve from King David I dated in the 1120s.

I found the National Records of Scotland to be wonderfully welcoming, and it is amazing to realize how organize they are and how much access is available to their research materials.  They seem to have undergone their merger with grace.  It seems they have an excellent situation for assisting people with genealogy research, in which I know some members of our class were interested in taking advantage.  I am glad we had an opportunity to visit a national archive and record administration like this during our time in the UK.  It is amazing to see how much more efficiently a national archive and records administration can function in a smaller country.  The national records administration in the United States is often several steps behind because it is just so large and cumbersome to deal with the records of a large nation.  I also found it fascinating that much like NARA in the US, National Records of Scotland has fallen under different authority within the government over time.  It seems that deciding where archives and records fall within a government is a universally difficult matter.

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