August 21, 2019  

The Historic Collection is on long-term loan, and can be consulted at the Special Collections Centre of the Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen.

Our holdings at Columba House include parish registers and documentary, post-1878, diocesan records which provide valuable historical and genealogical information.   Readers are welcome to consult our resources at our research centre, Columba House in Edinburgh.   To arrange an appointment for Columba House, please email   Appointment times range between 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm.



Scottish Catholic Archives at Columba House to close as of Monday 8 April:

Columba House, an early 19th-century townhouse in Edinburgh, which has been home to the Scottish Catholic Archives for over 50 years, is to close to researchers and members of the public from Monday 8 April 2013 until further notice.

The archive collections are the responsibility of the Trustees of the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Museum (commonly called the Blairs Museum) Trust, who have taken the decision after receiving reports from specialists in archive conservation and historic buildings.

The immediate cause of the closure has been the discovery of mould on items in the collection, which require urgent conservation treatment. This is the result of dampness in Columba House¹s main storage area in the sub-basement.   Reports spanning a period of more than thirty years indicate that this has been a recurrent problem.

Fortunately, an Agreement is already in place between the Trustees and the University of Aberdeen in terms of which the University agreed to house the archives on long-term loan.  They will be accommodated in the University¹s 21st-century Special Collections Centre in the iconic  Sir Duncan Rice Library.  It is clear that the transfer from Edinburgh to Aberdeen is now not only desirable but also essential, to protect and preserve the historic archives for posterity, and to make them again available for research as soon as possible.

Archbishop Mario Conti, Chairman of the Trustees, said: “We have emphasised for some time that Columba House was not fit for purpose. The latest reports confirm this. The question of the arrangements to be made for the papers covering the period from 1878 until the present will now have to be considered more urgently than had been expected. The condition of Columba House means that a new location for these modern records will have to be found.” Once the historic archives have been treated by a team of specialist conservators and the transfer has taken place, the Trustees and the University of Aberdeen will publicise details of their availability for study by scholars and members of the public.



 22 february 2012- Fully funded doctoral studentship - The scots college paris

Fully Funded Doctoral Studentship at the University of Edinburgh to Celebrate The Scots College Paris 350th Anniversary

The Scots College Paris provided education for Scots training for the priesthood, a tradition that reinforced an intimate cultural relationship between France and Scotland which continues to the present.  A doctoral project dealing with some aspect of the period 1793 to 1945 is now proposed to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the College.
Starting in September 2012, this fully funded doctoral studentship at the University of Edinburgh School of History, Classics and Archaeology is a collaboration between the Scottish Catholic Archives, the Fondation Catholique Ecossaise and the University of Edinburgh.  

The studentship will be worth 20,000 euros (c.£16,700) per annum for three years (this sum to cover fees and stipend) which will come jointly from the Fondation Catholique Ecossaise and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Edinburgh University.

The project will make use of the archives of the Fondation, located in the Scottish Catholic Archives, the National Archives, Paris, the Municipal Library, Douai, the Archives du Nord, Lille and the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.

For further particulars and application details contact –

Dr Stana Nenadic, Graduate Director, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh

Email:          Telephone: 0131 650 3839

7 february 2012- medical history resources

The diversity of medical history materials belonging to the Scottish Catholic Archives and the ways in which they will enhance and bring a better understanding of the Catholic Church’s involvement in health and medical care are pivotal in measuring the importance of the project collections in the context of the study of the history of medicine. Read more.

7 February 2012 - Canonical conundrum

Archive staff recently discovered the following rather complicated tangle of affairs in one of our correspondence collections. Perhaps a solution to someone’s family research problems? The item is contained in the Blairs Letters collection - a collection of 46,500 items of correspondence dating from 1627 until 1887. The scope of the collection is vast, with royal correspondence and local church administration. Read more.


The Scottish Catholic Archives includes over 500 manuscript music sources dating from the 18th century. Read more.

3 january 2012 - The Scottish-Canadian Tradition - a shared Catholic heritage

An introduction to the shared Catholic heritage of Scotland and Canada with a selected source list is now available. Read more.

3 january 2012 - FACEBOOK AND TWITTER


We are pleased to announce that searchable catalogues of the archives located at the Scottish Catholic Archives are being made available online. Working in partnership with other Catholic archives in the UK and Europe, we are creating an online union catalogue, searchable by a number of different criteria. At the moment, only a small number of collections have been made available, but we expect this to expand over the coming weeks and months. Search and browse catalogues at


The Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh issued a press release on 20 August about its upcoming exhibition ‘Scotland and Rome’, being staged in celebration of the papal visit to Scotland. The exhibition, which runs from 13 to 30 September, demonstrates both historical and contemporary links between Scotland and Rome.It has been organized by the Italian Cultural Institute in Edinburgh in collaboration with the Royal Scottish Academy, the Hunterian Museum, the Scottish Catholic Archives, the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland. It will feature key archives, manuscripts, artworks and artefacts from these Scottish collections.Notable individual exhibits will include a papal bull of 1177; the Hours of Marie de Rieux (the Hours of Anne of Brittany) and an Arma Christi (both from the fifteenth century); a letter of Mary, Queen of Scots; and (from 1976) the bull of canonization, which ratified the sainthood of the sixteenth-century Scottish saint, John Ogilvy.Further details are available via

9 October 2009 - Handling of enquiries

With the launch of the parish registers online we are experiencing higher than normal levels of enquiry and responses will take slightly longer to process. Please do not resend enquiries, they will be dealt with in turn

6 October 2009 - Launch of Catholic Parish Registers

Half a million records of births and baptisms dating from 1703-1908 were launched on the website -

1 September 2009 - Temporary closures at the Scottish Catholic Archives

We regret that the Scottish Catholic Archives will temporarily close from Friday 4th September at 4.30pm until Tuesday 22nd September at 9.30am. This is due to various events and group visits to mark our 50th anniversary. We hope this will not cause inconvenience to readers and enquiries will continue to be answered.

8 May 2009 - Conference announcement: Consecrated Women - Crossing Boundaries

The History of Women Religious of Great Britain and Ireland group have released details of their conference with registration details on their website.

28 April 2009 - Family History Forum

We have now integrated a family history forum into this website. To participate, you must register as a user of the website using the 'Register' link, shown at the top right of these pages, you will then able to post and respond to all enquiries.

4 January 2009 - Archive catalogues placed online

As part of our ongoing work to make the contents of the Scottish Catholic Archives more accessible to researchers, we have begun the process of uploading our archive catalogues to the internet. Researchers can now download or browse our catalogues as PDFs on our website. The Scottish Catholic Archives has a legacy of more than 10,000 handwritten catalogue pages, with more than 50,000 catalogue entries from those pages converted to electronic format in the last five years. The rest of the handwritten catalogues are being systematically worked on, but in the meantime, we have scanned the catalogues and make them available for downloading. They can be found in the Archives section of this website. It is hoped to have our archive database online within the next few months.

23 December 2008 - Scottish Catholic Historical Association

The Scottish Catholic Archives is pleased to host the new website of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association. Founded almost 60 years ago, the Association has published The Innes Review; held conferences and seminars and worked tirelessly to raise the profile of Scottish Catholic history and historical research. Find out more on the SCHA webpages.

16 December 2008 - Reader registration changes

In line with many other Archive services in the UK and Ireland, the Scottish Catholic Archives is increasing levels of security to ensure our collections are available for future generations. From the 1st April 2009, it will be mandatory for every reader to supply two passport photographs to complete registration. Between 5 January and 1 April 2009, a temporary reader ticket will be issued, which will be renewed on or after 1 April 2009. Full details about applying for a Readers' ticket can be found on the Visit and contact us page of the website.

2 December 2008 - Historians of Women Religious of Great Britain and Ireland

A call for papers for the 2009 conference has been issued, on the theme of 'Crossing Boundaries'. Further details can be found on their website

28 November 2008 - Homecoming Scotland 2009 - launch of 'Caledonia'

In support of the work being carried out by the Homecoming Scotland project, we are pleased to bring you the following:

Look out for the involvement of the Scottish Catholic Archives in Homecoming 2009 in the coming months. There should be a few big things!

24 November 2008 - New website is launched

We are very pleased to be able to bring our new website to the internet. After operating for five years from our former domain, decisions were taken to move over to the new to fully reflect our organisation, and allow modernisation of our IT equipment and resources. We now use a content management system which will allow us to maintain the site with much more ease. Additionally, we will be adding more information - including archive catalogues in pdf format initially - over the coming months. Please come back to our website often and see the changes!

24 November 2008 - Celebrating 50 years of the Scottish Catholic Archives

In 1958, the Columba Trust gave a grant to the Hierarchy of Scotland to enable the purchase of a building to house Church muniments and enable a centre for research and education to be founded. The Scottish Catholic Archives and Columba House, Edinburgh have expanded and developed over these 50 years and hopefully fulfill the aims of the grant. During 2009, we will mark 50 years of the Scottish Catholic Archives. We would be most interested in hearing from readers who may not have used the facilties for a number of years, perhaps with some of their experiences of both research of the collections and the facility itself.

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