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Conference autumn 2024

Estate Papers and their Use in Historical Research

Scottish Records Association
in conjunction with

Scottish Association of Country House Archivists

Wednesday 23 October 2024

Sir Duncan Rice Library, University of Aberdeen and online

Vignette of distilling and farming from a plan of the lands of Craigend, Stirlingshire, 1798.

Vignette of distilling and farming from a plan of the lands of Craigend, Stirlingshire, 1798. Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland (RHP80866).

Call for Papers

Abstracts (maximum 200 words) of proposed papers, focusing on research using estate
papers in private and public ownership, or the management and custody of estate paper
collections, are invited for receipt by 31 May 2024. Themes and topics, might include,
but are not limited to:

  • problems and possibilities of carrying out research using estate records
    from the middle ages to the twenty-first century,

  • issues involved in managing estate papers,

  • the Scottish landed estate in an international context,

  • the changing economic viability of country estates,

  • the everyday life of people who lived on, worked on, or owned estates,

  • the decline of landed estates,

  • issues of heredity,

  • the impact of landed estates on the environment,

  • landed estates and rural industrialisation.

Paper proposals should be sent to by 31 May 2024.
After the conference, presenters may be invited to develop their papers as academic
articles to be considered for publication in Scottish Archives, the journal of the Scottish
Records Association.

Annual General Meeting 2023


The Forty-Sixth Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Records Association took place online via Zoom on Thursday 14 December at 12.30pm.

Conference autumn 2023

The Body as Evidence

The autumn 2023 conference took place at the Soutar Theatre, A K Bell Library, Perth, on Thursday 23 November 2023. It covered issues and themes about the human body in archives. Topics included death, post-mortems, forensic science, and reconstruction of traumatic events that caused injury and death.

Old Calton burial ground, Edinburgh. Copyright Iain Hutchison

Old Calton burial ground, Edinburgh. Copyright Iain Hutchison


Dee Hoole - All that Remains: The Aberdeen Anatomy Records, c.1820-1920

Cheryl McGeachan - Police Surgeons and Body Geographies 


Ashleigh Black - The Physiognomy of the Fallen Woman: Tattoos as Expressions of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Female Convicts


Rosemary Elliott - ‘In Sickness and in Health’: Frail and Failing Bodies in McIver v McIver (1857-59)


Ivan Sanchez Hervas - Medical Testimony and The Spectrum of Sex in the National Records of Scotland


Natasha Preger - The Post Office Needs You: Medical Examination in the Victorian and Edwardian Recruitment Process


Jenny Duffy - Band of Brothers: A Tale of Three Thieves and their Journey to the Gallows


Malcolm Bangor-Jones - Attitudes towards the Burial of Suicides in the Northern Highlands during the 19th century

Conference spring 2023

On the Write Track: making sense of older handwriting

The spring 2023 conference of the Scottish Records Association took place on Friday 24 February and was held in conjunction with National Records of Scotland.

The venue was New Register House in Edinburgh. At the morning session a series of talks discussed advances in online palaeography tuition and how Artificial Intelligence can help transcribe manuscripts.

During the afternoon there was an open event where researchers could bring documents they were having problems reading or understanding, to get advice from experienced palaeographers from academic institutions and archives. Also present were societies who publish original sources of Scottish history, showing how their publications can help researchers understand similar records, and how to access other useful sources. There was also a small display of original records from the National Records of Scotland’s archives related to the societies’ publications.

The conference marked the launch of the new edition of ‘Scottish Handwriting 1500-1700: a self-help pack’, published jointly by the Scottish Records Association and National Records of Scotland.

Annual Conference 2022

Spoken Record: communities and their sound archives

The 2022 annual conference of the Scottish Records Association took place on 18 May 2022 online and at the Soutar Theatre, AK Bell Library, Perth. It explored how personal testimony and sound archives are used by research projects to record the experiences of people who are connected by similarities in their working lives, geographical location, or other ‘communities of interest’. Recordings from such projects have special significance for these communities, but also extend beyond them and can be re-used in different ways. Presentations were made by historians and others who use recordings in their research, and by archivists, curators and other staff who make sound archives available to researchers.


Terry Brotherstone (University of Aberdeen) and Dr Hugo Manson (independent scholar)

The Making of an Oral Archive: how the Aberdeen University / British Library Lives in the [UK North Sea] Oil Industry Collection was created

Dr Valentina Bold (Crichton Trust)

‘Up the Middle Road’: Crichton stories of resilience and recovery

Professor Margaret Bennett (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

Perthshire Shuttle-makers and the Ordie Shuttle Mill, Luncarty

Dr Saqib Razzaq (Colourful Heritage Project)

‘The Colourful Heritage Project: preserving the history of Scotland’s South Asians and Muslims

Audrey Wilson and Taylor Webb (Scottish Council on Archives)

Voices - Our Stories Matter: bridging the gap between archives and community heritage

Victoria Peters (University of Strathclyde)

The Scottish Oral History Centre Archive at the University of Strathclyde

Louise Scollay (University of Edinburgh)

The School of Scottish Studies Archives: access and re-use

Caroline Milligan and Lesley Bryson (European Ethnological Research Centre)

An Exploration of the Methodology and Practice of the Regional Ethnology of Scotland Project (RESP)

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