Scottish prison registers held by National Records of Scotland (NRS) have been added to ScotlandsPeople for the first time. The admission entries of thousands of prisoners have been indexed and can be searched using the prison registers search page. People from a broad range of backgrounds can be found in the prison registers and there is a wealth of information in these volumes for the genealogist and social historian alike.

The first set of released records concern admissions to Perth Prison between 1867-1879 and 1888-1921 which can be searched for free on ScotlandsPeople and the images viewed and downloaded for a small fee. This equates to over 50,000 indexed entries for Perth Prison over this period and includes details of both male and female prisoners.

These fascinating records were created and maintained by Perth Prison staff who recorded the personal details of each prisoner upon their arrival. The registers include details of their name, usual address, date of admission, trial court, offence and sentence. The records also note the liberation or removal date where applicable. We plan to add more volumes for different prisons to this collection over time.

The physical volumes of the registers are now preserved by NRS and are predominantly large in size. They would have been cumbersome for the prison staff to handle on a daily basis. The size of the volumes and the amount of information recorded for each prisoner accounts for entries to be written over the course of two pages in the register. When you view these pages on ScotlandsPeople, you are able to zoom in and move around the page as desired. A new feature on ScotlandsPeople, utilised for the first time with prison registers, is the ‘More details’ function. To the left of each individual search result is an eyeball symbol / More details symbol. Clicking on this enables you to view additional index details for each prisoner, which cannot fit onto the main search results screen.

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