Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives hold several types of records relating to Aberdeen City. The documents range from charters, minutes and accounts, to maps, plans and photographs. Originally, their function was of a practical and administrative nature but many records now constitute a valuable source for the study of all aspects of Aberdeen’s history.
Aberdeen has the finest and most complete collection of medieval and early modern burgh records in Scotland. The centre of this collection is an unrivalled series of council registers - or minutes - which date from 1398 and have been enscribed UK Register of Important Documentary Heritage, part of the UNESCO UK Memory of the World programme. These records chronicle the political, social and economic life of the royal burgh. The burgh records include:
- Council Minutes from 1398 - the first eight surviving volumes of the Aberdeen Burgh Registers are available to view on Scotland's Places.
- Charters from c. 1179, including the 1319 Bruce Charter
- Guildry Accounts from 1452
- Town's Correspondence from 1552
- Treasury Accounts from 1559
- Registers of Deeds from 1569
- Kirk and Bridgework Accounts from 1571
- Apprentice Registers from 1622 - Indexes available
- Register of Burgesses from 1632
- Propinquity Books
- Enactment Books
The City records also include the General Band of Relief from 1639 and a list of men 16 and over from 1759 (the latter was compiled in preparation for a possible French invasion). Transcriptions of both items are available on our website.
While we do not hold individual pupil records, we do have log books and admission registers for various schools in the city. These records are kept at our Old Aberdeen House branch. Please see our Education & Schools page for more information.
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives hold cemetery records for 10 cemeteries in Aberdeen. These records include burial registers, lair registers and other information. These records have been digitised and are being made available through Deceased Online. A full list of the cemetery records we hold can be found on our Online Catalogue under the reference BR, and a more complete guide to these records can be found on our Burial Records page. For records of other cemeteries in Aberdeen please contact Bereavement Services for further information.
Valuation rolls have survived for Aberdeen City from 1855. These list the owner of a property, the name of the head tenant, and the rateable value of the property. They survive up to the present date, though domestic properties are not included after 1990. A fee is charged to those using these records for commercial, business or legal purposes. Please see our Table of Fees for further information, or contact our Old Aberdeen House branch where these records are held.
Records for Aberdeenshire, Moray, Kincardineshire and Banffshire are also available. Please see our Catalogues page for further information. Please note that the Valuation Rolls are the property of the Grampian Valuation Joint Board.
We hold kirk session records for St. Nicholas, St. Clement’s, St. Clement’s Free, Langstane and Greyfriars churches. In addition to matters of church discipline, the records can contain communion rolls, payments to the poor, baptisms, marriages, and some burials. We also hold records for many of the Congregational, Free, Methodist and Episcopalian churches of Aberdeen. Further details are available on the Church Records page.
Please note that access to digitised kirk session records for the whole of Scotland can now be accessed free of charge in both searchrooms. The Church of Scotland records held by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives in our Town House office are held under the Charge and Superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. This means that although the records are held by us, ownership of the records remains with the National Records of Scotland.
Burgh register of sasines
The burgh register of sasines records transfers of land rights within the historic Aberdeen burgh boundary and is a valuable source of information. The records begin in 1484 and continue until 1809, after which date the registers can be found at the National Records of Scotland, along with those for the North East counties. The sasine registers are held at our Town House office under the Charge and Superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.
The tax lists (or ‘stent rolls’ as they are sometimes known) for the burgh of Aberdeen date back to the 15th Century. The stent rolls for 1604, 1655 and 1712 have been transcribed and are available on our website. An index of the 1669 Stent Roll is available on the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society website. The first comprehensive series of property taxation are the Police Commissioners’ rent rolls, which run from 1795 to 1860 and are held at our Town House office. The 1795 Rent Roll has been transcribed and is available on this website.
These are records not created by the City Council or its predecessors, and can include almost anything from family papers to business collections such as the Hall Russell shipbuilding company and NORCO. Details can be found in our Online Catalogue or on the Catalogues and Indexes pages.