A double agent, a historical novelist and a pioneer of radar technology feature in the 250,000 records newly released online by National Records of Scotland.

Among those records now available on the ScotlandsPeople website are; the birth of the Scottish author, Dorothy Dunnett who was internationally recognised for her historical fiction novels, the death of Brechin-born scientist Sir Robert Watson-Watt whose discoveries played a key role in defeating Germany in World War II, and the marriage of a former Russian spy Victor Konstantine Kaledin who married in Scotland and latterly pursued a varied career as a novelist and clairvoyant.

Every year, birth records that are 100 years old, death records that are 50 years old and marriage records that are 75 years old are added to the site, allowing family historians and researchers to access them anywhere and at any time.

National Records of Scotland Chief Executive Dr Janet Egdell said:

Being able to access these records from the comfort of your own home or office allows people the freedom to research when it suits them. They are a fascinating source of information and I’m delighted we are able to bring them to people in this format.

Dr Janet Egdell, National Records of Scotland Chief Executive

Follow the links to longer profiles about each of these people.

Dorothy Dunnett

Born in Dunfermline in 1923, Dorothy Dunnett gained international acclaim for her historical fiction. Her series, ‘The Lymond Chronicles’, spans six novels set in 16th-century Europe, chronicling the life of Scottish nobleman Francis Crawford of Lymond. Her novel ‘King Hereafter’ merges the identities of Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney, and Macbeth, King of Alba, in 11th-century Orkney and Scotland. Her final series, ‘House of Niccolò’, tracks Nicholas de Fleury, a dyer’s apprentice from Bruges, through his rise in 15th-century Europe’s mercantile society. Born as Dorothy Halliday, she passed away in Edinburgh in 2001.

Sir Robert Watson-Watt

Born to a carpenter in Brechin in 1892, Sir Robert Watson-Watt became the pioneering “father of radar”, studying physics and earning a knighthood for his wartime innovations. His radar technology was crucial during the Battle of Britain, compensating for the outnumbered RAF fighters against the Luftwaffe. Watson-Watt married three times, with his last marriage in 1966 to Dame Katheryn Jane Trefusis-Forbes, the first director of the Women’s Air Auxiliary Force. He passed away in Inverness in 1973.

Victor Konstantine Kaledin

Victor Konstantine Kaledin, a Russian-born author and former double agent in World War I, settled in Scotland after a tumultuous life. Marrying Louise Drube in Fife in 1948, he later became a naturalized British citizen. Struggling as a writer in the 1940s, Kaledin and his wife lived in poverty in Edinburgh during the 1950s, where he also worked as a spiritualist. His wife, known professionally as Her Serene Highness Princess Razibor, was a commercial artist illustrating children’s books, a title claimed to be inherited through Kaledin’s lineage.

Image Source:

  • Photo by Mark Rasmuson: instant images