Historical Records

Historical records offer the ethnologist valuable information about life and society, often from the perspective of the individual. The records of the Poor Boards, for example, contain letters concerning people who had applied for poor relief or a place in the poor house. Written by themselves or on their behalf by others, such letters report on personal circumstances and often detail how the person became destitute, and reflect the social conditions and morality of the period. Jail books similarly reveal information about the condition and lives of people from the edges of society. Glimpses of town life are also contained in seemingly unpromising records. The Ale License records, for instance, contain police reports on local ale and spirit houses and what was going on around them. Town council minutes similarly contain scenes from daily life, and descriptions of individuals.

A list of the main types of historical record held by Dumfries and Galloway Council is given below. It is based on the ‘Sources’ section in the Council’s Researching Local History. A Guide to Sources held by Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dumfries, 2009, 13-107. This publication also briefly describes each type of record and indicates in which of the region’s repositories copies can be found. For further details, see http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/communityplanning/index.aspx?articleid=7259. Relevant historical records are also to be found in other archives, most notably the National Records of Scotland, for which see the Directory.

  •  Agricultural and Estate Records
  • Allegiance Oaths
  • Building and Planning Records
  • Burgesses
  • Burial Records
  • Census Returns
  • Church Records
  • Council Minutes
  • Court, Criminal and Police Records
  • Customs and Excise Records
  • Education Records
  • Health Records
  • Irregular Marriage Records
  • Maps and Plans
  • Military Records
  • Parish Registers
  • Poor and Welfare Records
  • Sasines
  • Testaments
  • Trade and Business Records
  • Transport and Infrastructure Records
  • Valuation Records
  • Voting Records