Online Learning Resources

NRH Dome recordsOur archives, records and statistics can tell us fascinating stories about the past and the present while offering a glimpse into the future.

Although we’re unable to deliver our usual talks and workshops at present, our online resources can assist with teaching all ages, from primary and secondary pupils to college/university students and adults who want to learn a new skill.

Whether you’re interested in finding out about how people in Scotland used to live, how we live now or how our lives might change in future, you can access many of our resources online, for free.

Introducing archives and historical resources

National Records of Scotland (NRS) holds millions of records from the 12th to 21st centuries. These touch on virtually all aspects of Scotland’s collective memory from the church, law and government to records of everyday life.

Teachers, parents, pupils and learners of all ages and stages can access and engage with our unique primary sources via the Learning section of the NRS website.

The resources available at Scottish Archives for Schools and Services for Schools are designed to support the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications for Scottish primary and secondary schools.

These can help teachers and pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the records, and provide them with the skills and confidence to access, read and interpret their content in order to connect with Scottish history, heritage and culture.

Learning resources  

The online resources explore a diverse range of themes and topics across Scottish history, including:

Forth bridge riveters


Our features page provides a wealth of primary sources for teaching and learning about Scotland’s history:


Ancestry research

The Hall of Fame provides images of birth, death, marriage and census records and wills and testaments of over 230 notable people.



We also provide practical online tuition in palaeography for historians, genealogists and other researchers who need help reading and interpreting historical documents written before the 19th century.

Demographic statistics

Baby Names Ellie

Our Baby Names App shows you how the popularity of any name has changed since 1974. Children and adults tend to find it fascinating! It is a good way of teaching children about simple charts, social trends, and spelling.

See how the population of your neighbourhood is changing. How many older or younger people are there in your neighbourhood, and your council area? What do the projected figures for the future look like?

You can investigate your council area to see how it compares with others using our Council Area Profiles. How many people were born or got married in your area recently? Has migration and life expectancy changed over time?

And investigate our full range of Infographics and Visualisations, including data on life expectancy, households, migration and much more.

Scotland’s Census

Covid 19 4

© Crown copyright and database right [2020].  Ordnance Survey (OS Licence number 100020542)


Explore data from Scotland’s Census 2011 using these easy-to-use interactive maps. There is plenty of data to explore, including health, housing, education, employment, languages, religion and ethnicity.

You could look at:

  • How people travel to school or work in your area.
  • In what areas do more people live alone?
  • Make comparisons between urban and rural areas, and much more.

 Census data is useful for teaching about geography, social sciences and numeracy and you can find more resources for using census data to support statistical literacy in this blog by one of our former statisticians.

Contact NRS

If you’d like to know more about our archives and learning resources, please contact our Outreach and Learning team.

If you have a query about our statistical and census data, please contact our Statistics Customer Services team.


Tessa Spencer

Head of Outreach and Learning


Esther Roughsedge


Statistical Promotion and Analysis

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