Aberdeen City records

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.

Burgh records

The Archives hold 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. These records chronicle the political, social and economic life of the royal burgh. The burgh records include:

  • Council Minutes from 1398
  • 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
  • Register of Burgesses from 1632

The records of the former burghs of Woodside and Old Aberdeen are also held by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives. City burgh records are held at our Town House office.

School records

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. A list of schools in Aberdeen City, along with Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire, Morayshire and Banffshire can be found in our Online Catalogue. Please contact our Old Aberdeen House office for further information.

Cemetery records

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

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 (including tenancy checks for discounted purchase of social housing) and for staff searches. 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.

Church records

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. A list of the Church of Scotland records we hold can be found on our Catalogues 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.

As well as the records of the established church, we hold records for many of the Congregational, Methodist and Episcopalian churches of Aberdeen. Please see our Catalogues page for further information.

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.

Tax lists

The tax lists (or ‘stent rolls’ as they are sometimes known) for the burgh of Aberdeen date back to the 15th Century. 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.

Photographs

The main collection of photographs that we hold for the city were taken by Aberdeen District Council photographers between 1950 and 1985, although there are some earlier images. A full list of photographs can be found on our Catalogues page, or contact our Town House office for further information.

Deposited records

These are records not created by the City Council or its predecessors, and can include almost anything from family papers to business documents. Collections include the Hall Russell shipbuilding company and NORCO, as well as many others. A list of some of the other deposited records can be found on our Catalogues page.

For more information on other records relating to Aberdeen, please see our Online Catalogue or contact the Archives Team for further information.

Contact Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives

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