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National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

NRS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

NRS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

In line with the Scottish Government COVID-19 Strategic Framework, NRS on site services will remain closed to the public until at least 26th April.

During this time, NRS will continue to deliver business critical services, including providing urgent legal documents to support the property market, the probate sector and court services, and official birth, death and marriage certificates to enable citizens to obtain passports, employment and register with GPs, as well as the processing of Adoption Orders.

We are continuing to plan for the restart of other services. Once protection level systems are reintroduced, the timing for the restart of these services will be dependent on the level systems and protective measures in the Edinburgh area. Full building re-opening including public access to NRS buildings is not expected to take place until Phase 4 of the Scottish Government route map. Our top priority is the safety of our customers and staff.

We appreciate your understanding whilst we take time to plan limited re-opening carefully and we will be providing further updates in the coming weeks.

We look forward to welcoming you back to our buildings when it is safe to do so.

Update on Historical Search Room

Due to difficulties with ventilation and entry and exit routes, it is not possible to effectively mitigate COVID-19 risks to allow public access to the Historical Search Room at this time.

We have therefore carried out feasibility planning on alternative available spaces to identify where it may be possible to open to provide access to both our digital and physical records, on a very limited basis.

Following appropriate preparatory work and taking into account the latest advice from the Scottish Government, we anticipate that these spaces will be ready from April 2021, and access to our records on a limited and appointment only basis will be provided, when restrictions allow.

NRS is currently engaging with stakeholders to collect information on specific access requirements. Further information will be provided to customers in the coming weeks, detailing the specific records which will be available during our first phase of on-site re-opening.

Update on online certificate ordering system

We have opened our online certificate ordering service on ScotlandsPeople and further information can be found below. Due to increased demand and restricted working arrangements our normal 15 working day target may not always be met. We will endeavour to process applications and issue certificates as soon as we can.

Latest updates

Ordering a Certificate

Customers can order a certificate using Certificates and Copies on our ScotlandsPeople website.

Certificate ordering will be available online Monday to Friday between 9 am and 4.30 pm.

We have removed our priority ordering channel and we will do our best to complete orders as soon as we can however this may not be within our usual timescales.

We can only process online orders and will not be able to process those received by any other contact channel.

We understand that there may be very urgent cases where certificates are required quickly. If this is the case, please order the certificate online and then use our contact form on ScotlandsPeople selecting ‘Certificates and Copies’ to provide information on your urgent requirements and one of our team will respond directly.

For urgent Adoption Birth Certificates and No Trace Divorce Letters, these can be requested through the Contact Us button, on the ScotlandsPeople website at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/contact-us selecting ‘Certificates and Copies’. One of our team will then contact you.

Copies of Census Records and Old Parish Records are not available to order online at this time. Please use our contact form if you have a query regarding copies of these records.

Information Regarding Registration Services

In late March, registration of births was temporarily suspended to allow registrars to focus on the registration of deaths and still-births. Since 29 June, registration offices have been reopening for high-priority activities. This includes birth registrations and processing notices of intention to marry and to enter a civil partnership.

Registration of Deaths and Still-births

NRS understands that this is a very distressing and difficult time for bereaved families. We have been working closely with the Scottish Government and local authorities to introduce a system which will allow registrars to take ‘remote’ registration of deaths, by telephone or electronic means. This system is now live and further information is available from our Registering a Death page or contact your local registration office (90 KB PDF) direct, to arrange an appointment.

Registration of births

Please  check the guidance for Registration of Births issued by the Registrar General for Scotland on Phase 3 of the Route map through and out of the COVID-19 crisis

Registration of Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Please  check the Getting Married in Scotland for guidance issued by the Registrar General for Scotland on Phase 3 of the Route map through and out of the COVID-19 crisis.

 Guidance for Registration of Civil Partnerships

NRS Services

Marriages and Civil Partnerships:

If you have an urgent query about a marriage or civil partnership, please email: marriage@nrscotland.gov.uk.

Change of Name:

If you would like advice on how to have a change of name recorded, please email: namechange@nrscotland.gov.uk. Please be aware that no change of name requests can be processed until our normal service has resumed.

Re-registration of a Birth or Still-birth:

If you would like advice about the re-registration of a birth or still-birth, please email: reregister@nrscotland.gov.uk. Please be aware that no re-registration applications will be processed until our normal service has resumed.

Gender Recognition:

If you would like general advice about the gender recognition process or how the birth registration process works in Scotland, please email: grusupport@nrscotland.gov.uk.

Services which will not be available:

  • Corrections to register entries
  • The issue of Multilingual Translation Aids
  • Letters confirming the status of someone after a check of national indexes (To Whom it May Concern Letters).

Information Regarding Services to Record Depositors

Transfer of Records to NRS

The transfer of records to NRS is currently suspended. However we continue to offer advice and guidance to our client depositors. Please contact us as follows:

Retransmission Service

The temporary return of records to client bodies from NRS is currently suspended. We understand that there may be very urgent cases where access to records is required. If this is the case please contact as follows:

More Information

Which NRS services can I use during this closure?

We will continue to deliver a number of our services including:

  • Statistical publications: NRS is reviewing its data gathering and release practices, and focussing efforts on priority statistics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Users and stakeholders will be advised of any changes as soon as possible. The latest information on publication dates and further information including contact details is available on our statistics publication page.
  • Historical and Legal documents: if you have any enquiries related to historical or legal documents held in our archives (which are not held on our ScotlandsPeople website) please contact us via email. Our access to these documents is limited.
  • Scottish Register of Tartans: You can currently apply to register your tartan online via your account and submit enquiries via email. We are registering approved tartans on our website but we are currently unable to issue tartan certificates related to recently approved registrations. We will issue these as soon as we can.
  • ScotlandsPeople: our online services are available as usual and our teams are currently working from home to make new records available for release. There are a number of our records which you can search and view for free. ScotlandsPlaces also offers a range of free resources which will help to support your research and ScottishHandwriting website, offers free online tuition in palaeography for anyone who is having difficulties reading manuscript historical records written in Scotland.
  • NRS Learning Services: Teachers, pupils and learners of all ages and stages can access and engage with our online resources via the Learning section of the NRS website. The resources available at Services for Schools and Scottish Archives for Schools are designed to support the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications. If you have any enquiries, contact us by email.
  • NRS Web Continuity Service continues to operate. If you have any questions please contact digital_records@nrscotland.gov.uk.
  • Public Records Scotland Act (PRSA): The Records Management Plan and Progress Update Review rolling programme of assessmentcontinues as normal. We do however appreciate that many of our stakeholder authorities will themselves be experiencing disruption during this time. Please contact the team by email if you have any queries or concerns.
  • National Register of Archives for Scotland: Access to records held privately has necessarily been withdrawn during this period. The NRAS however continues to offer advice and guidance to owners and researchers, please contact us by email.
  • Advice and support for the archive sector: while premises are in lockdown, it is important to ensure that archive collections remain safe and secure. The National Archives has useful webpages covering collections safety, Archive Service Accreditation, and a list of useful guidance and resources from other organisations.
  • Disaster or incident control advice relating to archive collections can be provided remotely by the NRS Preservation team.  Please contact preservation@nrscotland.gov.uk.
  • Exhibition Loans: we can still provide advice on current and potential exhibition loans.  Please contact registrar@nrscotland.gov.uk.
  • Adoptions: Our team are currently working from home with limited access to our records. The registering of new adoptions and the issuing of new adoption certificates has been suspended until staff are able to get back into the office. Work on issuing original birth certificates will recommence once staff are able to return to the office. If you require information on ordering an older adoption certificate please see the Ordering a Certificate section. If you have any enquiries relating to adoptions please contact us by email.  

Contact Us

Your inquiry is important to us and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. Due to current circumstances, we may not meet standard timescales for response and our normal access to our records may be limited, which will impact on the information and copies which we can provide at this time. To help you get to the right team as quickly as possible, we have provided a list of our direct email addresses which can be used to contact us with your enquiry.

Service Email Address
Adoptions adoptions@nrscotland.gov.uk
Change of Name namechange@nrscotland.gov.uk
Correction of Statutory Registration errors corrections@nrscotland.gov.uk
Data Protection dataprotection@nrscotland.gov.uk
Divorces Indexes for divorces from 1984 can be viewed at ScotlandsPeople at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

For divorces from 1919 to 1984 dpo@scotcourts.gov.uk.

Freedom of Information foi@nrscotland.gov.uk
Gender Recognition grusupport@nrscotland.gov.uk
General Registration Queries grusupport@nrscotland.gov.uk
Advice and guidance to bodies who deposit historical records with us CourtLegalPrivate@nrscotland.gov.uk
Advice and guidance for Government bodies, agencies & departments Government_Records_Branch@nrscotland.gov.uk
Historical and Legal Documents Contact us through ScotlandsPeople at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk or if unable to access the website then contact us at lsrhe@scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Learning Services education@nrscotland.gov.uk
Local organisation unit lou@nrscotland.gov.uk
Marriages and Civil Partnerships marriage@nrscotland.gov.uk
Media Enquiries communications@nrscotland.gov.uk
Multi-Lingual Translation Aids MLTA@nrscotland.gov.uk
National Register of Archives for Scotland - Research and advice to private owners of archive collections nras@nrscotland.gov.uk
Preservation/ Conservation of Records Preservation@nrscotland.gov.uk
Public Records (Scotland) Act - Submission of Records Management plans or advice Public_records@nrscotland.gov.uk
Re-registration of a Birth or Still-birth reregister@nrscotland.gov.uk
ScotlandsPeople service Contact us through the website at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk or customerservices@scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Scottish Register of Tartans enquiries@tartanregister.gov.uk
Statistical data statisticscustomerservices@nrscotland.gov.uk
Wills up to 1925 Contact us through the website at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Wills from 1925 to 1999 are available on a limited basis. lsrhe@scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Wills more modern than the year 2000 are not held by us. Scottish Courts should be contacted at CRU@scotcourts.gov.uk.

We are able to answer general enquiries via our phone lines as a means of support for customers who do not have access to email or for those who have urgent enquiries. Please contact us on 08000 308 308 and one of our staff team will be happy to help. Our helpline will be open Monday to Friday 9 am to 1 pm.