Scottish Records Association 

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SRA conference 2018 and AGM

Hence the Name
Sources for place-name and personal name research in Scotland


The Scottish Place-Name Society
The Scottish Records Association

Saturday 17 November 2018
Netherbow Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh


  • Dr. Meredith Cane
    What's in(a) it for you? Fashionable and unique forename research
  • Dr. Alice Crook
    Personal Naming in Early Modern Scotland: consultation and analysis of the Old Parish Registers
  • Chris Fleet
    How to Avoid 'Heathery Buttocks': new developments in online maps, gazetteers and applications
  • Prof. Carole Hough
    An Online Resource for Berwickshire Place-Names
  • Dr. Simon Taylor
    Inter Limites Specificatos: some thoughts on place-name research in Scottish records.
  • Dr. Joanna Tucker
    Cartularies as a Source for Place and Personal Names
  • Robin Urquhart
    Where the Heck is Heck? Sources for locating early modern places
  • Dr. Eila Williamson
    Scotland’s Ordnance Survey Name Books: A ‘treasure trove’ for toponymists

Registration is expected to take place between 9.15am and 10am.
The conference is expected to run from 10am to 4.45pm.

The conference will provide a practical guide to sources for the study of place-names and personal names in Scotland. It will be of interest to academic and other researchers in the fields of languages, history and geography; archivists, librarians and curators who deal with enquiries relating to personal names and place-names; and anyone interested in names and their origins. It might also be of interest to family historians, as it deals with medieval and early-modern sources of information on people and places.


The conference will be held at the Netherbow Theatre and lunch will be served in the Storytelling Court of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR (

Conference fee

  • Members of the SRA and SPNS and their guests: £21.50 (excluding lunch)
  • Non-members: £24.50 (excluding lunch)
  • Students: £17.50 (excluding lunch) – limited number of places available for students active in place-name and personal name research
  • Lunch: £15

Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Records Association

The Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Records Association will take place in the lunch interval of the conference at 12 noon. It is expected to last approximately 15 minutes.

Launch of the Berwickshire Place-Names Online Resource

Survey of place-names in the historical county of Berwickshire has been funded for 3 years by The Leverhulme Trust. An online resource covering names on the OS 1:50,000 Landranger map will be launched during the conference. More

Bookings and enquiries

To make a booking or an enquiry about the conference please contact:

SRA conference 2017 and AGM

Putting on the Writs
Scottish Court and Legal Records

This year's conference will be on the theme of the records of Scotland's courts and legal system.

Date: Friday, 10 November 2017

Venue: National Records of Scotland, New Register House, Edinburgh
9.15am to 4.45pm

Session 1:  Civil and Ecclesiastical Courts

• Dr. Tom Green
Catholic, Commissary, and Reformed Church Courts and Their Records, 1500-1580

• Loren Moulds and Dr Jim Ambuske
Recovering Hidden Histories of Early America and the British Atlantic World with the Scottish Court of Session Records Digital Archive

• Dr. Alan Borthwick
Court of Session Case Study: Donoghue v Stevenson or the Snail in the Bottle

Session 2: Sheriff and Franchise courts

• Charles Fletcher
Barony and Regality Courts: a case study

• Fergus Smith
Sheriff Court Records

• Alison Diamond and Professor Allan MacInnes
Heritable Jurisdictions in Argyll, 1707-1730

Session 3:  Burgh Records

• Dr Jackson Armstrong and Dr William Hepburn
Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers (LACR)

• Dr Edda Frankot and Dr Claire Hawes
The Records of the Medieval Burgh Courts of Aberdeen

Plenary session:

• Professor Hector MacQueen
Ae Fond Kiss: A Private Matter?

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Records Association will take place in the lunch interval of the conference at 1pm. It is expected to last approximately 15 minutes.

Conference and AGM 2015

Image courtesy of the National Records of Scotland, BR/HR/4/27: Photograph of Inverness Station platforms (north side) on arrival of London train, c 1906

The Thirty-Eighth Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Records Association took place at the A.K. Bell Library, Perth, on 6 November 2015.

In her report to the meeting, the Chairman, Mrs Elizabeth Roads, remarked upon the successful shift from paper to electronic distribution of Retour during 2014-2015, and on the enjoyable nature of last summer's visits to the Advocates Library and the Signet Library in Edinburgh, and the Scottish Theatre Archive and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Archives in Glasgow. She observed, however, that the consistently low turnout of members for the AGM may be a cause for concern.

The Chairman then recorded her thanks to all the office bearers and members of Council for their work on behalf of the Association. Miss Sophie Volker resigned as Honorary Treasurer, and Ms Josephine Dixon was elected as her successor. Dr Maria Castrillo, Lady Coulsfield, Dr Alastair Durie and Dr Jan Merchant demitted office as Ordinary Members of Council, while Mr Robin Urquhart, Mr Keith Adam and Miss Sophie Volker were elected as Ordinary Members. Mrs Ingrid Thomson and Lady Hopetoun had been co-opted as Ordinary Members during the course of the year, and their co-option was ratified by the meeting. Finally, the Chairman intimated that, despite having given notice of her intention to step down, she would remain in office for a further year. This decision had been taken with the approval of Council, as the only candidate who had expressed an interest in succeeding her in the Chair had been unable to stand for election this year. She hoped that they may be in a position to do so next year.

Conference and AGM, 6 November 2014 

This year's Annual Conference addressed the theme of researching Scotland's common lands and common good. In the elegant setting of Linlithgow Burgh Halls, 70 delegates enjoyed a fascinating programme of speakers, augmented by a lunchtime showing of film footage from the Scottish Screen Archive and a slide show of records from the National Records of Scotland. We are grateful to all the speakers, to those who chaired the various sessions, and to the staff of Linlithgow Burgh Halls for helping to make the day such a success. Particular thanks are due to the Association's conference committee - Kirsteen Mulhern and Robin Urquhart - for their smooth and efficient organisation. A blog about the conference, written by two of our Council members, Fiona Musk and Anne Cameron, is now available to read on the History Scotland website.

The Thirty-Seventh Annual General Meeting of the Association took place during the lunch interval of the conference. At the meeting, the Chairman intimated that the SRA's biannual newsletter, Retour, will be distributed by email as of Spring 2015. This will be faster and more economical than posting out paper copies to all members; however, any members without an email address will still receive the newsletter in hard copy, as will anyone who specifically requests a paper version. The Chairman also referred to the recent difficulty that had arisen with the distribution of issue 22 of Retour. The filled and sealed Retour envelopes had been taken to the Post Office to be weighed for dispatch, but the Post Office counter staff had applied the wrong postage rate. Members had consequently been obliged to pay a surcharge in order to receive their envelope. It had been suggested that the underpayment of postage was due to the inclusion of a plastic advertising insert, which had made the envelopes heavier than usual. However, the Chairman pointed out that all the envelopes had been weighed with the insert inside, and so the underpayment was entirely due to human error on the part of the Post Office staff. She apologised to members for the inconvenience, expense and annoyance this had caused, and assured them that the Association is currently pursuing the matter with the Post Office.

Two members of Council, Mr Keith Adam and Dr Kirsteen Croll, were due to complete their terms of office in November 2014, and accordingly stepped down at the meeting. Dr Annie Tindley of the University of Dundee was elected as a new Ordinary Member of Council to fill one of the two vacancies. Any members who are interested in filling the second vacancy are encouraged to contact us.

Conference and AGM 2013

Image displayed with kind permission of the artist, © Kyra Clegg

The SRA's Annual Conference, 'Et in Archiva Ego: Artists in the Archives', held jointly with the Archives and Records Association Scotland (ARAS), took place at Perth Concert Hall on Friday 8 November. Around 60 members of the SRA and ARAS enjoyed a most stimulating and thought-provoking day, with artist Hugh Buchanan's illustrated presentation, 'Dead Flies, Dust and Tax Demands' proving particularly popular. We are grateful to everyone who helped to organise the conference, especially Robin Urquhart; to Ben Greenan and Steve Connelly for their skilful chairmanship of the morning and afternoon sessions; to all nine speakers for their engaging and entertaining presentations, and to the staff of Perth Concert Hall for their efficient assistance on the day.   
          The Thirty-Sixth Annual General Meeting of the SRA was held during the conference lunch interval. Members voted to amend the Constitution to introduce a new office of Honorary Web Editor, and ratified the co-option of Dr Stefanie Metze to this office. Dr Alison Rosie stepped down from Council on completion of her three-year term as an Ordinary Member, and three new Ordinary Members were elected: Dr Kirsteen Mulhern, Mrs Olive Geddes and Mr Douglas Roberts.