The Sources in Local History series was created by Alexander Fenton, former head of the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, and founding director of the European Ethnological Research Centre.  Six volumes were published between 1994 and 1997 making available a range of original documents, from the diary of an Orkney farmer, 1766-76, to that of a Dundee millwright, 1864-65. This series was re-launched in 2015 as a digital resource and forms a part of the EERC’s Regional Ethnology of Scotland project.



The series seeks to make available edited transcripts of account books, diaries, letters and other documents illustrative of everyday life in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Scotland. Such documents are a rich source of evidence for ethnologists and historians as they not only allow the voice of the individual to be heard, but also offer information about life and society not often found in other historical records. A selection of full texts and extracts will be presented here, creating a free-to-access resource that will be invaluable to all those interested in studying Scotland’s past.



One of the aims of the Sources in Local History project is to encourage more people to get involved in transcribing and researching Scottish historical documents. If you would like to transcribe a document for inclusion in the Sources series, please complete and return the proposal form:

Sources in Local History proposal form



The following guides have been compiled for contributors to the series:

I. Transcribing and Editing the Text

II. Writing the Introduction

A concise guide to Scottish handwriting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can be found in the publications section below.



If you are interested in any aspect of the project, please feel free to contact us at:


Sources in Local History

European Ethnological Research Centre

University of Edinburgh

Room 4.03

15 Buccleuch Place

Edinburgh EH8 8LN


or by e-mail:




Titles now available

The Journal of Robert Heron, 1789-1798


A Farm Cash Book from Buskhead, Angus  

The Pocket-books of a Dumfriesshire Drover


Scottish Handwriting. A Concise Guide


Kirkcudbright Grocer Letter COVER

A Letter from a Kirkcudbright Grocer, 1814


Sir William Burrell’s Northern Tour, 1758


Chronicles of Muckledale cover 2

Chronicles of Muckledale


Curling Cover 2

 The Minute Book of the Lochmaben Curling Society 1823-1863

New titles will be added