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If your ancestor went to one of Scotland’s colleges, universities, or schools, he or she may be in the institution’s enrollment records. Some of these records have been published, notably for the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
These records may contain valuable information about your ancestor, such as name, birthplace, residence, father’s name, and other biographical details.
UniversitiesScotland's universities developed in three distinct stages: the ancient universities (St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh) were founded in the 15th and 16th centuries; the plate glass universities (Dundee, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Stirling) raised to university status in the 1960s; and the newest group (Glasgow Caledonian, Napier, Paisley, Robert Gordon, Abertay) elevated to university status in the 1990s.
A graduate was entitled to use letters to identify their degree and awarding institution. This table shows the accepted abbreviations of Scotland's universities used in post-nominal letters:
|St And||St Andrews|
The Ancient Universities
The term Ancient Universities refers to the seven British and Irish universities which were founded in the medieval and early modern period. Of these, four were established in the Kingdom of Scotland.
St. AndrewsAfter Oxford and Cambridge, the third university founded (1410) in the British Isles. Main campus located in St Andrews.
James Maitland Anderson collected the names of early graduates in a series of works:
- Early Records of the University of St Andrews: The Graduate Roll, 1413–1579 (1926);
- Matriculation Roll, 1473–1579 (1926); and
- The Matriculation Roll of the University of St Andrews, 1747–1897 (1905).
The University's Keeper of Manuscripts and Muniments from 1974 to 1995, Dr. Robert N. Smart has compiled biographical sketches of almost 12,000 of the students, officers and external graduates of the University named in Maitland Anderson's The Matriculation Roll of the University of St Andrews, 1747-1897 (1905):
- Robert N Smart, Biographical Register of the University of St Andrews 1747-1897 (2004, St Andrews University Library, ISBN 0900896 18 X).
GlasgowFounded 1451 and the fourth oldest university in the British Isles.
The University is compiling a searchable database of graduates and has reached 1913:
This builds on the work of W. I. Addison who compiled A Roll of the Graduates of the University of Glasgow from 1727 to 1897 (1898).
AberdeenFounded 1494 as King's College, Aberdeen. Aberdeen's second university college, Marischal College was established in 1593. The two were merged in 1860 as the University of Aberdeen. The names of early graduates and officers can be found in:
- King's College: P. J. Anderson, Officers and Graduates of University and King's College, Aberdeen, 1495–1860 (1893).
- Marischal College: P. J. Anderson and J. F. K. Johnstone, Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis, 1593–1860 (3 vols, 1889–98);
EdinburghFounded 1582 as Tonius College, in 1617 renamed King James's College.
An incomplete list from 1587 (see the note on sources and coverage):
DundeeA university college was opened in Dundee in 1883 as an extension of St. Andrew's University. In the reforms of 1960s, the college gained its institutional independence as a university.
(For the University of Abertay also located in Dundee, see below.)
Family History Library
The Family History Library has very few Scottish school records, but there are some records for larger cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can find school records in the Place Search of the Catalog
SCOTLAND - SCHOOLS SCOTLAND
[COUNTY] - SCHOOLS SCOTLAND
[COUNTY], [CITY or PARISH] - SCHOOLS
- 'higher education' in Susan Wallace (ed.), A Dictionary of Education, (Oxford University Press, 2009) Print ISBN-13: 9780199212064. Published online: 2009-2012, eISBN: 9780191727443.
- Lindsay Paterson, 'Regionalism among Entrants to Higher Education from Scottish Schools', (1993) 19 (No. 2) Oxford Review of Education pp 231-255 at p 235.