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Scottish family history - new tax records released by Scotlands Places Project

The Scotlands Places project has announced the release of new and intriguing tax records which shed light onto the extravagant lifestyles of some of Scotland’s wealthiest 17th-century residents.

Now, family history researchers based anywhere in the world can access thousands of historical records on the ScotlandsPlaces website, thanks to the efforts of over 3,000 volunteers who have been painstakingly transcribing 181,000 pages of handwritten records. There are more than one million records originally written in Scots, Gaelic, English and Latin, covering:
  • land taxation
  • taxes on clocks and watches
  • taxes on windows and farm horses
  • Ordnance Survey ‘Name Books’, which formed the first official record of Scotland places and place names

Andrew Nicoll, ScotlandsPlaces Outreach Officer said: Now that these archives have been digitised, you can sit at your desk at home in Glasgow, in a library in Stonehaven or in a cafe in Melbourne and get closer to family or a place in Scotland instantly.

Prior to 1811 there was no income tax, so items that were considered luxury goods were taxed instead. This ranged from clocks and watches to pet dogs and servants.

'We appealed for thousands of volunteers last year to crowdsource the transcription task and the result has been impressive. Their work has brought to life some of Scotland’s most famous figures, as well as the ordinary man and woman in the street.'

Scotland's Places exhibition

A selection of records are on view in a ScotlandsPlaces exhibition at: General Register House, Princes Street, Edinburgh until 8 August 2014. It’s free to attend and open from 9am-4.30pm each day.

About Scotland's Places

The Scotland's Places website brings together records from three of Scotland’s national archives: the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the National Library of Scotland (NLS).

Read advice from genealogy expert Chris Paton as he explores law and order records, in the July/August issue of History Scotland, available to download or order as a print edition.

(Image copyright Hans Dunkelberg)

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29/07/2014 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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