Books and Borrowing 1750-1830

Library Lives: Suggested Resources for Further Research

Some background reading on literacy and education in Scotland:

Anderson, R.D., Education and the Scottish People 1750-1918 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)

Houston, R.A., Scottish Literacy and the Scottish Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1985)

Early statistical surveys of education , Parliamentary papers 1819 , 1826,  1841 , National Library of Scotland


For finding people in the past:

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland (available online at )

Parish-by-parish descriptions of places and people by local ministers. The ‘Old’ Statistical Account was published 1791-99, and the ‘New’ 1834-45.

Scott, Hew, Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ; The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1915-1928).

Useful for identifying Church of Scotland Ministers.

Bertie, David, Scottish Episcopal Clergy 1689- 2000, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2000)

For identifying clergymen from denominations other than the Church of Scotland.


For finding books and authors:

The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) available online at

The most comprehensive catalogue of books in English published by 1800.

Search the British Library’s main catalogue, including rare books and special collections.


For finding places:

Huge collection of digitised and geo-referenced historical maps of Scotland to explore

Catalogue of Scotland’s historic sites, can be searched or browsed through a map interface.

Guide to the research collections of Historic Environment Scotland


Resources for searching family history

  1. The Scottish Post Office Directories, digitised by the National Library of Scotland and available here:
    1. Over 700 digitised directories covering most of Scotland and dating from 1773 to 1911. With their alphabetical list of a location’s inhabitants and information on their profession and address, the directories enable you easily to find out where people lived at a certain time and how they earned their living.

In each directory you can:

  • Browse and search by place, year and resident’s name
  • View page by page
  • View a PDF of the complete book
  • Search the full PDF text
  • Download files for free within our copyright regulations (non-commercial use only).
  1. The UK Census Collection, which can be accessed through and Find My Past
    1. Ancestry is accessible through Perth & Kinross Libraries (
    2. Find My Past is available free through Edinburgh City Libraries – it’s always worth checking what your local library has subscriptions to
  2. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (
    1. Over 60,000 biographies and 11,000 portraits of significant, influential or notorious figures who shaped British history
    2. Again, this is available free by logging in with your library card details or if you have institutional access via a school or University

Guides to resources available through National Records of Scotland, including Birth, Marriage, and Death Records, and Parish Records.

Archival and family history resources from Culture Perth and Kinross