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1 June 2005

Scottish Wills service transfers to ScotlandsPeople website

The contents of the Scottish Documents website have now been integrated into the redesigned ScotlandsPeople website - - to provide a seamless and enhanced service to family historians. Through this site you will continue to be able to search the index of Scottish wills, 1500-1901, view the wills of famous Scots and use the research tools free of charge. The benefits of the new site are its improved availability and ease of navigation, together with access to the records of our project partners, General Register Office for Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon. Most Scottish Documents customers have agreed to transfer their accounts to the ScotlandsPeople website. Customers who have not consented to transfer accounts can still get access to any remaining images in their Scottish Documents accounts until 31 August 2005. Instructions for downloading remaining images can be found on the Scottish Documents site. The Scottish Documents site, along with the National Archives of Scotland and SCAN websites will be redeveloped to offer new services over the next couple of years.

3 February 2005

Scottish Archives for School Micro-site Added

SCAN is pleased to announce the addition to its website of a micro-site devoted to the Scottish Archives for Schools (SAfS) project. SAfS encourages the use of primary sources from Scottish archives in the classroom, through the publication of resources on paper and CD-ROM. The project's partners are the National Archives of Scotland, the Scottish Executive Education Department, and Learning and Teaching Scotland.

On the SAfS micro-site you can:

  • discover more about SAfS resources and how they can be used to support the school curriculum

  • sample typical activities from SAfS resources on Scotland in the 16th Century, The Jacobites, Victorian Scotland, Scotland 1901-1938, and World War II: The Scottish Home Front

  • find out how to get hold of SAfS resources and other archive resources for schools

  • help SAfS, the National Archives of Scotland and the Scottish Archive Network plan future resources on the Web, in print and on CD-ROM.

To visit the SAfS micro-site click here.

7 May 2004

SCAN Final Project Report Published

The Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund from 1999 until the spring of 2004. The Heritage Lottery Fund has now 'signed off' SCAN, as having successfully completed its project objectives. Henceforth SCAN's websites and services will be maintained by the National Archives of Scotland. A report on the project was commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund and this has now been published. It should be of interest to other Lottery-funded projects or those considering working with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Click here to view the report >

1 April 2004

Launch of

handwriting image

Today sees the formal launch of a SCAN website devoted to palaeography. The new site is, which aims to provide online tuition and regular practise in reading the handwriting of early-modern documents. The site began life as a small part of the SCAN website and rapidly became one of the most popular parts of the site. The launch of the Scottish Documents site in 2002 increased the demand for palaeography advice and, as a result, the new site was developed, partly using content from the SCAN and Scottish Documents sites, and partly with new material in the form of interactive tutorials and coaching devices. It has existed as an experimental prototype since December 2003.

23 January 2004

Online Catalogue Updated

Online catalogue image

The Online Catalogue database has recently been updated. The database comprises about 25,000 entries. Many important collections held by the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and the National Library of Scotland (NLS) are now represented in the catalogue for the first time, including Sheriff Court records (NAS), and Advocates’ Library manuscripts (NLS). Some of these entries will be in draft form still, and will be improved as time passes. Currently, collection description work is in progress on both those institutions, and on Dumfries & Galloway Libraries, Information and Archives. Further significant additions to the Online Catalogue can be expected shortly, including the completion of description work on the kirk session records of the former Free Church and United Presbyterian churches. Other data is expected to be fed in for holdings of university archives in Scotland in late January and early February. To use the Online Catalogue click here.

23 October 2003

SCAN launches Online Catalogue and Education Modules at showcase event

Magnus Magnusson and Rob Mildren at the Hub event

The Scottish Archive Network launched its Online Catalogue at the Hub, on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, on 23 October 2003. The event also showcased SCAN's achievements over the past four years, including advances in the digitisation of historical records and the compilation of special online education modules aimed at the Scottish school history curriculum. The keynote speaker at the event was the renowned broadcaster and historian, Magnus Magnusson, pictured above with SCAN's Project Manager, Rob Mildren.

23 July 2003

North By Northwest exhibition completed

The exhibition about the Highland Railway, featuring modern and historic images, has been completed with the addition of over 100 images of people and places connected with the Highland Mainline from Perth to Inverness. The photographs were taken by photographers from the National Railway Museum between 1998 and 2002. To see the exhibition click here.

11 June 2003

SCAN and Scottish Documents take part in Smithsonian Folklife Festival

This summer, SCAN's Joanna Baird will be among the participants in the 37th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, USA. The Festival will include an interactive heritage area where visitors can trace their Scottish ancestry and learn more about performing genealogical research with the help of staff from, the National Archives of Scotland, the General Register Office for Scotland, the Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, and SCAN's Other highlights of the Festival will be performances, demonstrations and educational programs from more than 100 of Scotland’s finest musicians, storytellers, cooks, craftspeople, dancers and scholars, including the Battlefield Band, Phil and Johnny Cunningham, Brian McNeill, and the Wrigley Sisters from Orkney. The Festival runs from June 25-29 and July 2-6. Admission is free. To learn more about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, visit

1 February 2003

1000th entry in SCAN Knowledge Base

The SCAN Knowledge Base now contains over 1000 items: the target set in the Project Initiation Document. Much of the content for the Knowledge Base has come from staff at participating archives, staff and volunteers in the Internet Resources team, members of the SCAN Users Group, and other researchers who have contacted SCAN via the website. The Online Catalogues team and Testaments team have also made significant contributions over the last three years. The Internet Resources team is grateful to all its contributors.

31 July 2002

Virtual Vault additions - Richard Doyle's Highland Journal and Sketch Book from the National Library of Scotland

  We have recently added 4 new categories to our Virtual Vault section. These include 'Diaries & Journals', 'Minute Books', 'School Records' and 'Medical & Health Records'. One of the most fascinating of these is the Highland Journal and Sketch Book of Richard Doyle (1824-1883) from the collections of the National Library of Scotland. Doyle was a caricaturist who enjoyed a long career as a book illustrator and watercolour artist, and is particularly known for his design for the cover of Punch magazine. To go directly to this section, click here.

4 June 2002

Research Tools - Scots Currency Converter added to site

If you want to add up amounts of Scots Currency or to find out how these amounts equate to Sterling then visit our new Scots Currency Converter. Click here to find out more. This complements our new Knowledge Base entries on Money and Banking and Weights and Measures. Click here to visit the Knowledge Base.

10 April 2002

Launch of

The Scottish Archive Network are pleased to announce the launch of the new Scottish Wills website - which was officially launched on Tartan Day - 6th April 2002 at Ellis Island, New York.

Phase 1 of will see the launch of the website and the free index of over 300,000 “defuncts” in Scottish Wills from 1500-1875 together with a host of other resources to help users make the most of this fascinating resource. Phase 2 - scheduled for May 2002 – will see the introduction of digital images of the original documents available for download upon payment of a small fee. These will be made available throughout 2002 in a rolling program of digitisation culminating in the creation of around 2 million high quality colour digital images. For more information, go straight to

This website will shortly take the place of all the existing Scottish Wills content on the Scottish Archive Network website. Please remember to update your bookmarks to the new site as old links may shortly be redundant.

22 March 2002

New Virtual Vault entries

We have just added two new entries to our 'Virtual Vault'- one containing Railway Records and the other Poor Relief Records. The SCAN 'Virtual Vault' is where you can see images and transcripts of documents and is one of the fastest growing areas of the SCAN site at present. For Local History Week 2002 we will be adding over 1000 images of documents from 12 of the local authority archives participating in the Scottish Archive Network. These will include Heritors' records, school log books, tax records and diaries. Watch this space to find out about these forthcoming additions.

31 January 2002

Highland Destitution database now online

We present a selection of records relating to emigration from the highlands and islands of Scotland in the mid 19th century. These include a fully searchable database of 5,000 individuals who emigrated to Australia between 1852-1857 (National Archives of Scotland reference HD4/5) together with a selection of other relevant documents of the period. As one of the few sources relating to emigration held by the NAS, this series has long been the subject of many enquiries from around the world. Click here to go straight to the new Emigration section in the Virtual Vault.

18 January 2002


This week SCAN digitised its millionth page of Scottish wills. For the past year SCAN's six digital cameras, operated by our project partners, the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), have been in action capturing digital images of the wills of Scots from 1550 onwards. The cameras use the very latest digitising technology, developed by the GSU for SCAN, to produce full colour images of the documents.

Photo of SCAN's millionth image being captured

The photo shows the millionth image being captured, which is the will of a Banff merchant, William Gordon, made in June 1741 and registered in August 1742. Reproduced here is the first page of the inventory of the stock in his shop. The goods include brandy, gin ('Genevar'), 67 lb. of currants, a piece of velvet and a 26lb. 'parcell Tea in a Bagg'.