The Scottish Longitudinal Study

You may have seen recent media coverage on the employment prospects of young people in Scotland from different social backgrounds.

What you might not have realised is that this piece of research – and many others – relies on the Scottish Longitudinal Study in which National Records of Scotland is a partner.

The Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) is a valuable social research dataset that is the result of a collaboration between National Records of Scotland and the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews. It links data from National Records Scotland (NRS) (including Census from 1991, 2001 and 2011) and the National Health Service Information Services Division. Continue reading “The Scottish Longitudinal Study”

Getting started with digital preservation

Our Digital Records Unit is launching two new digital preservation tools this summer. These guidance and capacity planning tools have been specifically developed for Scottish local authorities. They are the product of a 12 month project and will assist local authority archivists and record managers get started with digital preservation.

The guidance tool will help local authorities to understand and implement the steps needed to ensure that digital records are captured and preserved within the archive, while the capacity tool enables users to calculate their digital storage needs.

The events are aimed towards those currently working within Scottish local authorities, however other interested parties are also very welcome to attend.

The tools will be launched in Glasgow City Chambers on July 10th (book here) and in Aberdeen Town Hall on August 8th (book here).

Tickets are selling fast so be sure to register soon if you would like to attend, and spread the word to anyone who might be interested.

You can follow the events on Twitter, using the hashtag #scotladp and we’ll be livetweeting from @natrecordsscot.

We look forward to seeing you in Glasgow or Aberdeen!

 

Trudeau’s Scottish family

Canadian Prime Minsiter Justin Trudeau looks at NRS documents on his family history at the National Museum of Scotland
NRS’ Dr Alison Rosie shows Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau documents about his Scottish family history. Copyright Stewart Attwood.

You may well be aware that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Edinburgh this morning to meet the Queen. During his visit, he also visited the National Museum of Scotland, where he saw Canadian artefacts, as well as documents on his family history from National Records of Scotland which show his Scottish ancestry over five generations.

Continue reading “Trudeau’s Scottish family”

WW1 and the Census

Preparations are now under way for Scotland’s Census 2021 but a hundred years ago the First World War had a dramatic impact on the people who planned and delivered the census in 1921.

This photo shows Census staff in 1911 in what is now the Archivist’s Garden between General Register House and New Register House in Edinburgh.

The largely male staff of the 1911 census
The staff of the 1911 Census, pictured in what is now the Archivists’ Garden between General Register House and New Register House in Edinburgh

 

The 1921 photo was taken on the steps of George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh

The staff of the 1921 Census - including many more women than the 1911 Census.
The staff of the 1921 Census – including many more women than the 1911 Census.

The two pictures reflect a direct consequence of the First World War when women entered the workplace in large numbers, many for the first time, releasing men to go to war.  Some worked in occupations never previously done by women on the railways, in shipyards, munitions’ factories.  After the war – when the men returned – some left their employment but many remained in work. One such work opportunity – the decennial Census.

Continue reading “WW1 and the Census”

White gloves

If you watched and enjoyed “The Hector: From Scotland to Nova Scotia” on BBC 2 yesterday (if you missed the programme it’s currently on the iplayer), you’ll have seen Neil Oliver viewing documents in our Historical Search Room. You may also have noticed he’s wearing white gloves – something we don’t generally require readers in our search rooms to do, unless they are handling photographs. 

 

Neil Oliver in our Historical Search Room wearing white gloves to handle a document.

There are different schools of thought about the value of wearing white cotton gloves. While once it was common place, it has become a matter of debate. It’s sometimes pointed out that not wearing gloves at all would be better than wearing ill-fitting or dirty gloves – something we agree with. Continue reading “White gloves”

Connecticut Connection

National Records of Scotland is known for its records, research and other artefacts, but we also hold a number of antiques at various buildings around Edinburgh.

One interesting example is a chiming clock which hangs on the wall in a meeting room at West Register House, Charlotte Square. This clock, a Chauncey Jerome, was recently repaired by a specialist and is still in working order despite being over 150 years old.  The clock was manufactured in New Haven, Connecticut, by the Jerome Manufacturing Company, most likely in the 1840s, and its history is quite interesting.

Jerome Chauncey Clock

The clock was gifted to the Scottish Record Office, one of our predecessor bodies, in the early 1970s, although there are competing stories about the precise circumstances.

Jerome Post 2One is that a former Deputy Keeper, John Bates, bought it in an antiques shop as a gift for colleagues. The other story holds that the clock was gifted by members of the former kirk session of St George’s Church – now West Register House – and that it might have been kept in the church since the 1850s.  An examination of the kirk session minutes has shed no light on the truth of this story, however.

The surprising thing about this clock is its painted glass front, which depicts St George’s Church as seen from George Street. It may seem strange that an American-made clock would have an Edinburgh street scene on it, but these clocks were mass produced with a clear lower glass panel. Following sale, individuals could commission their own design to be painted onto the clear glass making them unique. Continue reading “Connecticut Connection”

How are households in Scotland changing?

Every year, National Records of Scotland estimates how many households there are in Scotland, and how many people live in the average household. Households can be groups of people living together in homes, or single people living alone in a home.

Why is this important? Well, knowing how many households there are, and how many households there might be in future, is key for planning local services like waste collection and community care, and for planning for future housing needs.

The number of households in Scotland has been steadily rising over time, at a slightly faster rate than the population. According to our latest estimates, there are now 2.45 million households in Scotland. However, you may not know that the makeup of the typical household has also been changing.

households 1

In the past, larger households of three or more people were the most common type in Scotland. According to the census carried out in 1961, only 14% of households consisted of one person living alone. However, our latest estimates show that one person households are now the most common type. In fact, we estimate that nearly 900,000 people in Scotland are living alone. Continue reading “How are households in Scotland changing?”

Weeding Scotland’s Courts

Every summer, a team of NRS archivists visits Sheriff Courts all over Scotland to collect historical records for preservation and storage.

Case records must be retained for decades after the cases finish for future appeals, cold case reviews and police enquiries, so it’s vital they are kept safe and secure. Centuries from now, these cases will provide an insight for research and understanding of Scottish law, culture and society.

Between May and August each year, our Court & Legal Team visits up to six of Scotland’s 39 Sheriff Courts to collect records that are 25 years old or over. This isn’t a glamorous process as the records must be removed box-by-box, and they’re stored in attics, basements, turrets and other hard-to-access places. Continue reading “Weeding Scotland’s Courts”

Improving Mortality Statistics

In January 2017, NRS adopted new software for recording mortality statistics. This software – IRIS – will help us to improve data relating to deaths from certain diseases and disorders.  It will also help to create statistics that allow for more accurate comparison with other countries, particularly with England and Wales.

When a death is registered, it’s common for a number of diseases or conditions to be recorded on the death certificate. The IRIS software translates causes of death into a code that is recognised under the World Health Organisation’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Continue reading “Improving Mortality Statistics”

Estimating the number of homes in Scotland

Every year we estimate how many homes there are in Scotland, and also how many of those homes are either empty, or second homes. Our estimates are then used for planning things like housing and local services.

Our latest estimates suggest there are now 2.58 million homes in Scotland. For every hundred homes in Scotland, we estimate that 96 are occupied all year, one is a second home occupied for only part of the year, and three are empty homes which are not being occupied at all. Empty and second homes are more common in some parts of the country than others. For example, remote rural areas have a higher proportion of both second homes and empty homes than urban areas.

Number of occupied dwellings, empty homes and second homes in Scotland

Continue reading “Estimating the number of homes in Scotland”