The Scottish Catholic Archives hold over 700 individual collections, spanning 800 years of Scottish and European history. From royal archives to sacramental registers; photographs and film; maps and plans, the Scottish Catholic Archive contains about 0.5 km of manuscript sources.
The Scottish Catholic Archives is continually working to improve access to the archive collections through the retro-conversion of our catalogues. Since 2003, over 50,000 catalogue entries have been converted from hand-written format to electronic format. While we work on this retro-conversion, we are additionally making available scanned copies of our handwritten catalogues. They are saved as Adobe pdf files (a free viewer can be downloaded here), and reflect the work of previous archive staff. They have a standard look and feel, with indexes at the start of the document, and further detailed information given on subsequent pages. All archives are described at least to file level, with many to item level.
As retro-conversion continues, the hand written catalogues will be replaced by typed catalogues, and a searchable database should be available online during 2009. We recommend that you browse the catalogues and print those which are helpful to you. Any research request to the Scottish Catholic Archive concerning any of these documents should include the full reference of the item being discussed.
Copyright is reserved in all catalogue files.
How to use the catalogues and indexes for this collection.
The Blairs Letters use a combination of modern and historic finding aids. The 'Browse Catalogue' link on the right hand side provides access to the modern catalogue with reference numbers for ordering of the relevant correspondence. These are arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by author's surname and first initial. Thus, a letter from 1820 with an author whose surname is Forbes is referenced BL/5/75.
The surname indexes were created c1910 with listings of the correspondence: first chronologically by year; then alphabetically within each year by the author's surname and forename. These indexes also sometimes give the number of items of correspondence, name of the recipient of the letter, and occasionally a geographical location or designation for these individuals. Thus, if you are looking for a letter from Mr Donald Skinner, Edinburgh in 1784, it can be found by opening the relevant parts of the surname index; then cross-referencing with the modern index to find the modern catalogue reference.
These two finding aids are best used in conjunction with each other, the historic surname indexes being used to identify if correspondence exists; and the modern catalogues to ascertain the file reference.
All items are individually numbered and work is ongoing to provide item level catalogue descriptions.