Scotland Estate Records

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Estate Papers[edit | edit source]

Most of our Scottish ancestors never owned land but rather lived and farmed land belonging to someone else. The Estate owner kept management records of their lands, estates and tenants. Some of these records have survived and reside either in the hands of the current estate owner or are at the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) as a Gift and Depost (GD). Some large estates have their own archives on-site. The types of papers in an estate could be:

  • Rentals or leases called a 'tack'
  • Lists of tenants
  • Records of tenants who may have been in some trouble

In order to search estate records you need to know who owned the estate.  To find this information search these sources available either online or at the FHL:

  • Parish histories and gazetteers
  • The Old & New Statistical Accounts of Scotland at the FHL and online at for a fee.
  • Findlay, James. Directory of Gentlemen’s’ Seats, villages, &c. in Scotland… [1843] (FHL book Ref 941 E4d; film 599347 item 3; fiche 6026392) online at
  • Register of the Great Seal 1306-1668, 11 vols. (FHL book 941 N2sc): 1306-1651 are available on Ancestry
  • Statistics of the annexed estates, 1755-1756: from the records of the forfeited estates preserved in the Scottish Record Office [NAS]. FHL Q book 941 R2sa. Lists tenants on the estates forfeited as a result of the 1745 Rebellion.
  • Index of Place Names to the Abridgements of Sasines (see Sasines)
  • Timperley, Loretta R. Directory of Landownership in Scotland circa 1770. (FHL book 941 B4sr n.s. v. 5)
  • Return of Owners of Land and Heritages in Scotland 1872-73 (FHL Q book 941 R25i)
  • National Register of Archives (searchable online)

Once the name of the land owner has been determined, search the NAS' catalog for their name or the property name along with references of E,GD or RH. The FamilySearch Catalog should also be searched under the county where the property was located and look under the topic of "Land and Property".

WebSites[edit | edit source]

Estate Maps of Scotland, 1772-1878: From the National Library of Scotland, a brief selection of digitised estate maps.