Family and Estate Records

How to use family and estate archives to discover evidence of your ancestor's connection to the landed classes.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • name
  • where they lived
  • who owned the estate (perhaps using a valuation roll)
  • what their connection was to the estate


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

The archives of landed families and their estates are a wonderful source of information for family historians, particularly before the introduction of civil registration in 1855. Rich with the family history of the owners of the estates, they often also offer vital evidence of their tenants, those who worked for them, or in their role in managing local affairs.


The City Archives holds a large number of collections of family and estate papers for areas across a large part of Scotland. The following lists just some of the collections:

  • Blythswood Estate, Glasgow and Renfrew, 1662-20th century​
  • Campbell of Succoth and Garscube, Glasgow and Dunbartonshire, 1533-1965​
  • Colquhoun of Luss, Dunbartonshire, 1188-20th century​
  • ​Cochrane-Baillie of Lamington, Lanarkshire, 19th-20th century​
  • ​Crum Family Papers, Thornliebank, Renfrewshire, 1782-1960
  • ​​Hamilton Family of Barns, Old Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, 1537-1827
  • Houston of Johnstone, Renfrewshire, 1664-1951
  • ​Islay Estate, Islay, Argyllshire, 1741-1966​​​​
  • Lennox Family of Woodhead, Dunbartonshire, 1421-1960
  • Maxwells of Pollok, Glasgow and Renfrew, c1200-1975
  • Ramsay of Kildalton, Islay, Argyllshire, 1707-1984​
  • Speirs of Elderslie, Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire, 1561-1999
  • Stirling of Keir and Cadder, Dunbartonshire and Perthshire, 1338-c 1940s


The types of records available and their content can vary enormously depending on the collection. These are some examples of what you might help you find that elusive ancestor:

  • rent rolls – do not always name tenants, but the best include names, year lease began, its duration
  • tacks or leases
  • valuations of estates
  • wages and other details of those who worked on the estate or for the family
  • factor’s correspondence – may include letters from tenants
  • evidence of the sale of all or parts of estates in the 18th and 19th centuries, including feuing registers and feuing maps
  • management of local affairs, including militia, lieutenancy, poor relief, churches, freeholders and voters


What records can I see online?

There are no records online.


​What records can I see elsewhere?

Glasgow University Archives holds later records for the Garscube estate


What other sources will help me find information?


The National Register of Archives and the National Register of Archives for Scotland list the location of archive collections for the UK and Scotland.



Loretta Timperley, A Directory of Landownership in Scotland c 1770, (Scottish Record Society, 1976).
Use this to establish who owns the estate where your ancestor lives (available in the Archives searchroom).



Glasgow City Archives

0141 287 2910

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