Special Collections

Welcome to Special Collections, where you can find out more about Glasgow and its history, research your family tree and delve into our rich collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and maps.

Visiting Special Collections

Access to the resources in Special Collections is available during the Mitchell Library’s opening hours:  9am – 8pm, Tuesday / Thursday and 9am – 5pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

No appointments are necessary but if you are travelling from further afield, please email specialcollections@glasgowlife.org.uk or phone 0141 287 2988.

Records of particular interest to genealogists include:

More information about our holdings can be found on our online library website

Some items such as rare books and manuscripts will need to be viewed in Glasgow City Archives’ search room  during its opening hours, which requires advance booking. Please contact us if you think this applies to you.

Email specialcollections@glasgowlife.org.uk or phone 0141 287 2988.

Special Collections Resources


Below is information about resources available in Special Collections

  • Ancestry

    Ancestry Library Edition is an invaluable online genealogical resource, offering access to thousands of searchable databases.

  • Burial Lair and Cremation Registers

    Burial Lair and Cremation Registers

  • Census, Scotland

    Use Scotland’s census, 1841 to 1911, to find a snapshot of a day in the life of your ancestors and discover where they lived, with whom and what they did for a living.

  • Directories and Phone Books

    Directories, such as Trade Directories and Post Office Directories for Glasgow, are an easy to use and fascinating resource for family historians

  • Evening Times Roll of Honour

    A brief guide to the Evening Times Roll of Honour of WWI personnel reported wounded or missing.

  • FindMyPast

    FindMyPast lets you search original documents to trace your family tree.

  • Emigration, immigration and migration

    This is a brief guide to the many immigration and emigration records, research and online resources that may help you track your ancestors’ travels either to or from the UK and even outwith the UK.

  • Monumental Inscriptions

    Monumental Inscriptions (MIs) are engravings on grave markers or other memorials to the dead.

  • Maps and Plans

    Discover the maps, surveys and plans which show the city of Glasgow and west of Scotland counties like Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire, throughout the centuries.

  • Merchant Seamen

    Crew lists and agreements, log books and shipping records can help you find information on your merchant seaman ancestor.

  • Newspapers

    Newspapers provide a valuable insight into the lives and communities of past generations and can be an excellent source of information for your family tree.

  • Obituaries

    Obituaries are narratives in newspapers or journals about the life, times and often the character of an individual who has died.

  • Old Parish Registers

    The Old Parish Registers, 1538 to 1854, are the most important source for tracing your Scottish ancestors before the introduction of civil registration in 1855.

  • Photographs

    Find photographs which will help tell the story of how your ancestors lived their lives.

  • Regiments

    Discover information about ancestors who were members of Scottish regiments.

  • Valuation Rolls

    How to find your ancestors in valuations rolls for property in towns and county areas in Glasgow and the west of Scotland over 300 years.

  • Voters' Rolls

    A guide to finding people who had the vote in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.