Scottish registers of aliens

Although the various registers of aliens held by The National Archives in Kew have been fairly well covered in family history magazines, I’ve never heard of any similar records held in Scottish archives…. until today.

As usual, I was looking for something else, and came across a mention that the Edinburgh City Archives (ECA) catalogue had gone online at the Scottish Archives Network site SCAN. There was also a link to their website and it was when exploring this that I came across a mention of a register of aliens in Edinburgh dating back to 1794.

It appears that the register is in 2 volumes:

  • The first is declarations given by foreigners about their place of birth or country they came from, their occupation, the length of time they have been in the country and how long they intend to stay in Edinburgh. Most of these declarations date from 1794. (ECA Ref: SL115/1/1)
  • The second consists of forms asking a series of questions about the alien’s name, origins, status, occupation and age. They also include the port of arrival and their current address. These forms date from 1798-1825. (ECA Ref: SL115/2/1)

Best of all – there’s an index which you can download in PDF format from

However, it’s not an alphabetical index. Bear in mind I haven’t actually seen the registers, but from the format of the index I’m assuming that the names are in the same order as they appear in the register. There are almost 70 names in the first register and about 130 names in the second.

I had a further dig in the SCAN and NAS online catalogues…

and it appears that there are some further registers of aliens scattered around archives across Scotland:

(I’m not sure if these 2 are the same register catalogued twice)

I didn’t come across anything described as a register of aliens in the NAS catalogue, but there are some items that might be interesting:

  • Deaths of Enemy Aliens in Internment Camps; Transmission of Special Certificates of Death GRO5/1208 (covering 1916-1917) and GRO5/1209 (covering 1918-1944)
  • Edinburgh (Saughton) Prison registers Male Aliens 1939-1943; Female Aliens 1939-1941 (class HH21/71/44)
  • and a series of papers in class HH31 which include statistical returns and case papers on enemy aliens in WWI

Who knows what else is out there in archives which don’t have their catalogues online?

And just to top things off, Polish Residents in Scotland: A Statistical Sourcebook based on the Census of Scotland, 1861-2001 Edited by Jim Lipka is online at


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