Scotland Newspapers

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Online Databases[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

While the earliest Scottish newspapers began in the mid-1600s, newspapers became more established in the early 1700s. The first Scottish newspapers of any significance and continuance were the Edinburgh Evening Courant (1718-1871) and the Caledonian Mercury (1720-1867), which were national papers and gave little local news. Edinburgh was the main center for newspaper circulation and production during the 1700s. Circulation of newspapers was relatively low throughout the 1700s and into the 1800s. See National Library of Scotland for more information.[1]

The first regional papers were the Glasgow Journal (1741) and the Aberdeen Journal (1748). The first paper that gave substantial coverage to local news was the Glasgow Mercury (1778).

In newspapers you may find such information as:

  • local events
  • births
  • marriages
  • deaths
  • obituaries of local worthies
  • advertisements

Early newspapers did not contain any local information; national events and information were instead published. The later newspapers contained more local information, including births, marriages, and deaths.

Accessing the Records[edit | edit source]

Scottish newspapers can be found in many different repositories and databases. Although not all Scottish newspapers have been digitized and put online, many have been. The information taken from these newspapers may be indexed to varying extents depending on the database.

Online[edit | edit source]

A number of Scottish newspapers have been digitized.

FamilySearch has a couple collections of British newspapers (Scotland included):

Findmypast has a large collection Scottish newspapers in their British newspaper collection:

Ancestry has multiple collections of Scottish newspapers, especially those in Edinburgh:

The Scotsman has a free database of their newspapers, dating back to 1817:

Here are websites that list current and historic Scottish newspapers (with links to those websites if they exist):

In Print[edit | edit source]

You can find copies of newspapers in the collections of the Newspaper Library section of the:

  • British Library
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Scottish history libraries

For a comprehensive list of Scottish newspapers and their locations, see:

  • Ferguson, J.P.S. Directory of Scottish Newspapers. Edinburgh, Scotland: National Library of Scotland, 1984. (Family History Library book 941 B3f.)

Other lists of holdings of Scottish newspapers include:

  • Catalogue of the British Newspaper Library, Colindale. 8 vols. London, England: British Museum Publications, 1975. (Family History Library book Q 942 A5cn.)
  • Ferguson, Joan P. S. Scottish Newspapers Held in Scottish Libraries. Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Central Library, 1956. (Family History Library book 941 B3f; film 924676 item 4.)
  • North, John S. The Waterloo Directory of Scottish Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900. 2 vols. Waterloo, Ontario: North Waterloo Academic Press, 1989. (Family History Library book Ref. 941 B33n.)
  • Crane, R.S., and F. B. Kaye. A Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1620-1800. 2nd ed. London: Holland Press, 1966. (Family History Library book 942 B3ce.) This lists holdings in major U.S. libraries.

The Family History Library has no Scottish newspapers, but it does have some indexes and other related materials. You can find them in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Modern newspapers can be helpful for finding living relatives or obtaining the services of someone to make searches in the locality from where your ancestors came. To obtain addresses for current newspapers use:

Benn’s Press Directory. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England: United Newspapers Ltd, 1996. (Family History Library book Ref 942 B3n.)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Newspapers." National Library of Scotland. Accessed 27 July 2018.