Planning your visit to the Archives

Before you visit the Archives, you can find out what we have that might be useful to your research on our Online Catalogue. If you see something you want to look at, note its reference number, title and covering dates. If you haven't found anything on our Catalogue (it is a work in progress) please contact us with your query.

If you're not sure what we might have that could help your research, please email or telephone us with the details of what you are researching and we can try to help identify relevant sources for you.

Once you have established what you'd like to look at, and have made your appointment at the appropriate office you can begin preparing for your visit.  It helps if you do the following:

  • Bring as many of your notes with you as you can!
  • Think about what you're aiming for in your research - what do you want to find? Try and focus on one person / research interest at a time before moving on to the next.
  • If you are looking at a large date range, try and narrow it down - this saves you having to look through multiple volumes with the same information (and saves staff producing records which are then not required or not relevant).
  • Bring some notepaper, a pencil and a rubber.
  • You can bring your own digital camera to take copies - there will be a small charge for using your camera - or order copies from us. Details of our charges are available via our Table of Fees or on request.
  • You can bring your laptop / tablet / iPad.

If you are unsure of what you are looking at, please ask, we will be happy to help!

Some records may only give you a small amount of information, or even what may look to be incorrect information.  This is because the archives we hold were (on the whole) created for administrative purposes, and would have served an administrative function when they were being used.  Records created annually, for example, only show information from a particular time of the year and not any changes which happened throughout the year. 

If you are planning on staying for a whole day, please note that neither office has facilities for you to eat your own lunch on site.  Old Aberdeen House is close to a number of places, including a cafe a short walk away, and the University of Aberdeen's nearby campus.  The Town House is well served by a number city centre eateries. 

The office at Old Aberdeen is on the ground floor, and is easily accessible by wheelchair.  The office in the Town House is on the third floor, and there may be issues with access for larger wheelchairs - please contact us on 03000 200 292 (option 6) if you think there may be an issue with access, and we can make alternative arrangements. 

On arrival, you will be asked to sign in and comply with our Searchroom Guidelines: 

Failure to do so may result in you being refused access to the searchroom. You do not need a reader's ticket to access the archives, but you may be asked to provided identification in order to access some records covered by the Data Protection Act.  You will be advised about this when you make your appointment. 

Above all, we want you to get the most out of your visit!  Staff are always available to answer any questions you might have both before and during your visit.

Contact Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives

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