The building of the National Archives of Scotland began in 1774, but did not open to the public until the late 1780s. Today, it is run by the Scottish government, under the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and the Constitution. There are now three buildings and 140 staff members.
Unlike the National Library of Scotland who has books about scottish history, the National Archives of Scotland has the business papers that made Scotland what it is. The archives is broken down into two sections: Record services and Corporate services. They have documents such as wills, deeds, census records, court hearings and rulings, and more. It's all the important documents of Scotland. For all of the records, there are over 7okms worth and they date back from the 12th century till today. Along with the records, the archives manages eight different websites on how to find certain documenation such as your family's tartan colors or varies wills.
Since most of the people coming in are searching their family's history, the main building has been turned into the Scotlands People Center. In the first section, people can try for free on finding information about their family. When they want to dig deeper, people have to pay so much money to be able to research in a different part of the library. If people can't come to the archives, they can research from home since all the searching is done on the libraries database and the person doesn't see the real paper copies. A great service the archives provides is the patron can print off any document they want and take it home with them (of course, there is a fee for copying).
The National Archives of Scotland is trying very hard to get everything digitized. The only thing that is basically done is the collection of wills has been digitized. They have also digitized church and parish records of what they have, but there is no index. A person is just going to have to search very hard to find the information they are looking for. Any conservation that is done happens at the Thomas Thompson House.
The archives was neat, but there wasn't much to see. The main building we were in was set up for internet family searches. We did see daily court records, tunnels, and one library that still had books in it, but nothing more. The National Archives is trying very hard to digitized everything, which makes searching easier for the patron and it saves the original document from wear and tear. For anybody that want to learn about Scottish history or about their family, the National Archives of Scotland is the place to go. If you're looking for a place to tour, it's not the place to go.
To learn more about the National Archives of Scotland, please visit www.nas.gov.uk
Photograph provided by www.scotsfamily.com/NatArchive.jpg