Valuation Rolls 1855 - Press Release


The great, the good and the humble of Victorian Scotland have been digitally captured in the latest release of Valuation Rolls on ScotlandsPeople, the government's family history website.

The Valuation Rolls were first compiled in 1855, the same year that the statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths was introduced under the supervision of the first Registrar General for Scotland. The resulting records provide a detailed picture of the people of Scotland eighteen years after Queen Victoria came to the throne.

Among the rolls can be found many of Scotland's leading lights, including Professor James Young Simpson, Hugh Miller, David Octavius Hill, and Sir David Brewster, and the fathers of those yet to make their mark, such as Mary Slessor, the future missionary and the landlady of the lodgings where Pierre Emile L'Angelier died, allegedly at the hand of Madeleine Smith, the Glasgow socialite who was notoriously tried for his murder in 1857.

The rolls also provide a snapshot of a country undergoing enormous change, as people left the land in search of work in the expanding industrial towns and cities, often living in cramped, unhealthy conditions, while others emigrated in search of a better life. Britain was also a country at war, and in Scotland, as elsewhere, streets and houses had already begun to be named after the Battle of Alma, in honour of the allies' victory over the Russians in the Crimea in September 1854.

Between 1851 and 1891 Scotland's population grew from about 2.9 million to over 4 million. The newly-released records include over one million indexed names and addresses for every owner, tenant and occupier of property in Scotland in 1855. By comparison there are more than two million names in the 1895 rolls. The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

"I welcome the addition of the latest resource that NRS is making available to a wide audience. These -records tell part of the story of Scotland and allow people across the world and at home to learn more about the history of their families and communities."

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

"The Valuation Rolls started in 1855, the same year as the statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths was begun by my earliest predecessor as Registrar General. Together they provide a mass of information for family historians and other researchers to use in understanding the fabric of Scotland and Scottish society in this period. The latest release is part of the commitment by the National Records of Scotland to progressively improve access to the key records that researchers want."

Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of Findmypast, which enables the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:

"We're very pleased to add this ninth set of Valuation Roll indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website - bringing the current total of index entries on the website to over 106 million. Compiled in 1855, these new records offer a fascinating insight into a Victorian Scotland in a time of significant demographic and industrial growth, and are immensely useful for family historians who are looking to bridge the gap between the 1851 and 1861 Censuses."


Notes for Editors

On Thursday 1 October, 1,023,529 names and addresses will be added to ScotlandsPeople, the family history website of the National Records of Scotland. The 1855 rolls join eight previous releases on the site, enabling anyone worldwide to find property owners, tenants and occupiers across Scotland for the 70 years between 1855 and 1925

The 1855 Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (, at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick, Alloa and Inverness.

The National Records of Scotland & ScotlandsPeople

National Records of Scotland (NRS) is a Non-Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government. It holds and gives access to the nation's archives, oversees the registration of births, marriages and deaths, produces statistics on Scotland's population and conducts the Scottish Census. It is a centre of expertise on data handling, record keeping and archives., the official Scottish genealogy website, is a partnership between National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon, enabled by Findmypast, a DC Thomson company.

The ScotlandsPeople Media Website

To download high resolution images and stories for the launch of the 1855 Valuation Rolls, as well as background information and statistics, visit the ScotlandsPeople Media Website:


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