Sunday, 10 January 2010

Scottish Church records digitisation

I've just posted this on a discussion forum, but I'm sure it will be of interest to SGNE readers. No major new developments, just something that is ticking over quiety in the background from the Scottish Documents team...!

Currently, the NAS, in partnership with the Church of Scotland and the GSU, is making digital copies of the records of kirk sessions, presbyteries, synods and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from the sixteenth century to 1901. The project has captured about 5 million pages from original records. The digital surrogates will be used to replace public access to the original records, ensuring that these important historical records will be preserved. The digital copies will also be available in multiple locations in Scotland and, eventually, worldwide over the Internet.

and from its projected timetable document:

Partner-access stage (April 2009 – ?autumn 2010 and beyond)

Testing has shown that an image delivery system is viable, albeit with some technical problems which require further development work. From April 2009, access to the Scottish Documents website will be extended to all Church of Scotland presbytery clerks and (at the discretion of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland) to other archives in Scotland. Access will be via a password-protected part of the Scottish Documents website. In this way researchers will have access to a wide range of presbyterian church court records in a number of local archives (whereas at the moment the originals and/or digital copies can only be seen in one or two places). By the end of April 2009 about 8,000 volumes of records were available online. By October 2009 the total number of voumes available is expected to be about 10,000. The remainder of the volumes (eventually more than 20,000 in total) will be added during 2010 and 2011. The NAS will continue to consult the Church of Scotland, local authority archives and other potential users of the system to plan wider access. The range of records available via Scottish Documents might be extended at some point in the future, for example to include valuation rolls, which are currently being digitised.

General access stage (?autumn 2010 onwards)
The Keeper of the Records of Scotland may extend availability to include global Internet access via individual or corporate subscription or payment for digital copies via a complementary e-commerce service. Other classes of record may be considered for addition to either the Scottish Documents (partner) website or to the e-commerce website or both.

Full details at

Professional genealogical problem solving and research


KathyJN said...

Chris - the links are not working. Do you have an alternate?

Chris Paton said...

I've just checked and the PDF document opens fine for me, but if you do have problems you can also find it through the main Scottish Documents site at



DrElaine said...

Like KathyJN, I am experiencing problems with the link, and indeed with the main website at (and have been for a couple of weeks); I keep getting a message that it cannot connect

Chris Paton said...

Yes, I'm now getting problems with access myself. I'll contact the team and find out what is happening.