From crofts to castles you’ll  find a  fascinating snapshot of Scotland during the First World War and a major new family history resource as the Valuation Rolls of Scotland go online for the first time. The news release is as follows:

A detailed picture of wartime Scotland is revealed today with the release of details from the Valuation Rolls for the year 1915-16, via the ScotlandsPeople website.

The rolls have been made searchable online for the first time, allowing genealogists, local historians and other researchers to view images of entries in the rolls, fully searchable by name or address.

The rolls record the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property, unlike the full lists of family members to be found in the censuses. Usually the named person is the head of the household, but sometimes a husband and wife might be listed. Frequently, the wife is the named tenant of rented property. 

The Valuation Rolls were created so that the authorities could set local rates. The purpose was to assess property by its annual rental value. This was either the value of the rent paid by the tenant, or a notional rental value if the owner occupied their own property. The burgh and county assessors did not list properties individually that were worth below £4 annual rental value.

Registrar General and Keeper of the Records, George MacKenzie, said:

“These new details about property owners and tenants will be invaluable for people researching the history of their family, their house, or their local area. The rolls are most useful alongside other records, especially the census and statutory registers that are also on ScotlandsPeople.” 

Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid, who operate ScotlandsPeople for the National Records of Scotland, said:

“The publication of the Valuation Rolls on the ScotlandsPeople website is another piece in the jigsaw for helping people to trace their Scottish ancestry. Everyone at brightsolid is very excited by the launch of these new records, which will complement the 1911 Census records that we published on the ScotlandsPeople site just last year.”

The 1911 Census records provide a snapshot of Scotland on the brink of the First World War. The Valuation Rolls allow researchers to carry the story of their ancestors forward into a time of upheaval and change brought about by war.

Every kind of dwelling can be found in the rolls, from crofts to castles, and they reflect the drift of people from rural areas into our towns and cities, as well as the continuing industrialisation of Scotland.

Working premises include shops, offices, factories, football stadiums, churches, cinemas, swimming baths, railways and even lighthouses. This is a fascinating insight into where and how our ancestors lived.

The Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (, and at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. These new online records will be interesting both to people in Scotland and to the Scottish diaspora across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

To view the FAQs for the Valuation Rolls click here.

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