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Researching in the archives: guides

To help you get started with your own research, we have produced a series of guides highlighting some of the materials that you might find most useful. You will find some background information as well as a note of what materials we hold here at the John Gray Centre (and on this website), and what you may find at other places, such as the National Records of Scotland.

1: Getting started in family history research at the JGC

2: Scottish emigration and immigration

3: Poor law

4: Tracing your ancestors’ military records

5: Court and criminal records

6: Burgh records

7: Old Scottish money

8: School records and sources

Or browse our online exhibition, ‘The King, the Queen and the Vicious Strumpet‘ for a lively introduction to some of our most treasured records.

6 thoughts on “Researching in the archives: guides”

  1. Nicola says:

    Recently moved into a house in Dunbar … do you research individual addresses? The house is around 1899 and I’m looking for building plans , general history
    Many thanks

    1. HanitaR says:

      Hi Nicola,
      Thank you for your enquiry. Members of the public are encouraged to conduct research on their property by using facilities and resources at our Centre, such as valuation rolls, old newspaper articles, relevant archived records and reference books.
      We can certainly point you in the right direction but you would have to do the work yourself, I’m afraid. The opening times for Local History department is Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri between 9.30am to 5pm. For building plans, try contacting the Planning Department of East Lothian Council. Hope this information helps. Best Wishes.

  2. Sheila says:

    Hi, I am looking for any information on my 3x great grandfather who was born in North Berwick about 1826. He seemed to have been in some sort of trouble with the authorities between 1838-1844, and ran away and joined the Scots Guards in 1844. He then deserted them in 1847 and joined the RHA under an assumed name. This has been one of my brick walls for many years and the above information has only come to light now. His name was Andrew Hepburn, born to Andrew Hepburn and Catherine Logan as far as I can tell. If this information is correct I can then hopefully research into the rest of the family and discover why he changed his name to James Smith.
    Thank you for any information

    1. HanitaR says:

      Hi Sheila,
      Please see response below posted to your enquiry dated 10th October. All the best.
      “Thank you for your enquiry. I’m afraid we do not have any newspaper records covering the period you stipulated. This is because the Haddingtonshire Courier only began in Oct 1859. Perhaps you might like to search through the censuses (if you haven’t already), and check against any other military records/advice as well as court records from the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh. “

  3. Bruce G. says:

    I am researching an oil painting of Andrew Fletcher 1722-1779 eldest son of Lord Milton by Allan Ramsay painted about 1764-1774. If you have any information or
    leads about this painting I would greatly appreciate it!
    I have attached a photo of the painting which needs restoration.
    Thanks So Much!
    Bruce G.

  4. john paxton says:

    im looking to find a story and photo of my band called “barney” that appeared in the courier on dunbar page in 1977 think it was about april may or june wonder if you could help me find this

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