Business Records

A guide for tracing ancestors using our large collection of business archives for Glasgow City and the surrounding areas.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • the name of the company
  • type of business
  • where the business was based


What records can I find in The Mitchell: Glasgow City Archives?

Glasgow City Archives hold records from many private businesses that were based in or around Glasgow. These range from large companies that employed huge numbers of workers, to small local businesses.


Business records can include company minutes, financial records, annual reports, brochures, and personnel records. Of most interest to family historians are personnel records, such as wage books, apprenticeship registers, staff photographs and accident books. However personnel records have not always survived, which means tracing ancestors using these records can be difficult.


The City Archives hold records for over 300 businesses, including the following industries and companies:


Chemical manufacturers

  • British Dyewood Co Ltd (time and wage record books)


Engineers, iron and steel workers

  • Sir William Arrol & Co Ltd, bridge and crane builders (salary and wage books)
  • McKie & Baxter Ltd (staff photograph album of women WW1 workers)
  • Duncan Stewart & Co, engineers, London Road Ironworks (apprenticeship book and salary ledgers)


Interior Designers

  • Guthrie and Wells Ltd (list of employees, apprenticeship register and wages books)

Merchants, warehousemen and retail

  • David Black and Co Ltd, wholesale merchants and clothing manufacturers (wages books for Glasgow and Edinburgh branches)
  • Copland & Lye, warehousemen (list of staff and salary books)
  • Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd (a range of staff records for various departments)



  • Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd (wage books and salary lists)
  • Charles Connell & Co Ltd (pay books)
  • Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd (apprenticeship certificates)
  • John G Kincaid & Co Ltd (salary and wage books)
  • Hugh McLean & Sons Ltd (wage cost sheets)



  • Burns & Laird Ltd (G & L Burns) (wage books for stevedores at various UK sites, and and salary ledgers)
  • Donaldson Brothers (Donaldson Line) (staff, salary and service books)
  • Thomas Dunlop & Son (crew lists and apprenticeship books)


Some records are closed for 75 years under data protection legislation. For more details about the type of personnel records within the above collections, and to check for any that may exist for other businesses, please contact the archivists.


What records can I see online?

The records are not available online.


What records can I see elsewhere?

The Scottish Business Archive, Glasgow University Archive Services also hold business records for Glasgow and Scotland wide companies.


What other resources will help me find information?


There is a spreadsheet of Scottish business collections at the Scottish Council on Archives website.
The corporate name search on The National Register of Archives website includes collections held UK wide.
The National Register of Archives (Scotland) website includes privately held collections and collections held at many Scottish local archives.


Anthony Slaven and Sydney Checkland, Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography Volume 1 (1986)
Anthony Slaven and Sydney Checkland, Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography Volume 2 (1990)
L A Ritchie, The Shipbuilding Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (1992)
C A Oakley, Scottish Industry An Account of What Makes Scotland and Where She Makes it (1953)



Glasgow City Archives

0141 287 2910

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