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Researching family in Scotland between 1771 and 1911? The National
Library of Scotland has posted free online
Scottish Post Office directories spanning those years—700 digitized directories
in all. Here’s an example of a page from an 1887 volume:
Similar to US city directories, these Scottish directories contain
alphabetical lists of locations’ inhabitants and information on their profession and
By the mid-1800s, these directories covered all of Scotland, with most being printed
annually. The earliest ones were issued by private publishers, but later, the Post
Office took over publication of directories in larger towns and cities. According
to the website,
Most of the directories up until the mid-19th century would only include
the principal inhabitants of a location, leaving the poor in particular unmentioned.
Women rarely featured in the lists, as usually only the head of a household would
In addition, people usually had to pay a small fee to be recorded in the directories.
While the gentry, clergy, major tradesman, manufacturers, shop owners and other professionals
are likely listed, their employees or small traders and craftsmen are often omitted.
Laborers and servants are hardly recorded at all.
There are exceptions, however—for example the extensive lists of farmers for Perthshire
or female householders for Forfar.
Search or browse by last name, place or year. For names, only the first three characters
you enter will be used in your search (or first five for names starting with Mc and
first six for names starting with Mac).
My search for
mcint (the first five letters of McIntyre) yielded 3,008
results, including the page above from the 1887-1888 directory
for Forfarshire, Angus County. Adding a place or year to my search would have narrowed
You can download a page as a JPG (image) or XML (text) file, or download a whole book
as a PDF. Click here to access
the digitized Scottish Post Office directories.