East Lothian (or Haddingtonshire as it was formerly known) is
a county in the south-east of Scotland, bounded on the west by Midlothian,
on the north and east by the Firth of Forth and the North Sea, and on
the south by Berwickshire. In the southern part of the county are the Lammermuir
hills, in the north the land is generally flat and fertile. Traditional
industries in the area are farming, fishing and coal-mining. The county
town is Haddington; other towns in the county include Dunbar and North Berwick.
There is also a map showing the
relative position of the county.
Copyright Vivienne S Dunstan, 1997
There are also maps showing the relative positions
of the parishes, and a more detailed map of "Haddingtonshire" in the
INFORMATION RELATED TO ALL OF EAST LOTHIAN
Archives and Libraries
Many local records may be consulted at the John Gray Centre, East Lothian District
Councils Local History Centre in Haddington. This facility was opened in March 2012, offering
much improved facilities over the (now closed) library in Newton Port.
A large number of documents covering trades, people and places
in East Lothian are referenced in the National Register of Archives
Local university libraries may hold a number of papers, books etc,
however access to these is likely to be limited.
Universities in Edinburgh include:
University of Edinburgh
The British Pathe
archive of newsreels is available on-line. A number of East Lothian places
and events are included.
The Lothian Health Service archive
provides details of available archive material, and brief summaries of the history
of hospitals in the Lothians.
"Bibliography of East Lothian"
compiled by James H Jamieson
Published Edinburgh, 1936 (East Lothian Antiq. & Field Naturalists'
by Charles Green
Published Edinburgh, 1907 (385 pages)
"Reminiscences and Notices of the Fourteen Parishes of the County
by John Martine
ISBN 1 897857 19 5
Published East Lothian 1999.
A Millennium of Fame of East Lothian
by David Dick
Biographies of 200 famous people from East Lothian over 1000 years
A number of publications
are available from East Lothian libraries.
A number of monumental inscription lists for East Lothian are
held at the Local History Centre in Haddington.
In addition to these lists, the Scottish Genealogy Society
holds a number of East Lothian inscription lists in its library collection
For a descriptive account of East Lothian cemeteries see Islay M. Donaldson's
East Lothian Graveyards published in the Transactions of the
East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists' Society, 21st volume (1991),
pp.9-31. The article includes a number of photographs and sketches of gravestones
and also has a substantial bibliography pointing to other articles on
There has been a census every ten years since 1801 (excluding
1941) but only those returns after 1841 (with a few exceptions) carry
details of named residents. Census returns for 1841-1901 can be consulted
at the General Register
Office in Edinburgh and copies on microfilm may be consulted in
LDS Family History Centres around
the world. LDS centres also carry microfiche indexes to the 1881 census
returns. Computerised indexes for 1881, 1891 and 1901 are available at
the General Register Office in Edinburgh and are also available through
Scotlands People .
project is working to provide access to all of the 19th Century
census returns. This includes a searchable database.
The Vision of Britain site contains
a wide range of summary information of the census, housing, etc, across the county,
and for individual parishes.
The records of the synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, 1589-1596, 1640-1649
edited by James Kirk were published by the Stair Society in Edinburgh
circa 1977. This work is also available on microfilm through LDS family history centres around
the world. A synod is a court within the post-Reformation Church of Scotland,
between the General Assembly and more local presbyteries.
Stephen Bunyan's The Episcopal Tradition in East Lothian gives
a descriptive account of the Episcopal ministers and churches in Haddington
since 1560. This article was published in the Transactions of the East
Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists' Society, 21st volume (1991),
pp.53-62. Several surviving Episcopal church records, including those of
the church at Haddington, are held at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
The history of the Presbyterian churches is complex, with many buildings, and congregations,
taking part in mergers and seperations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. This
chart attempts to show the major mergers and separations,
which may impact on which church records you require to seek out.
For information on registers (baptisms, marriages and burials)
for a particular parish, please see that parish's page.
The Kirk Session
records of a parish can be useful source material and are often overlooked
by researchers. The Kirk Session consists of the minister of the parish
together with the elders of the congregation. Its role is largely to look
after the general wellbeing of the congregation and, particularly in centuries
past, parochial discipline. Most Kirk Session records are held in the National Archives of Scotland
in Edinburgh and can be fascinating reading.
See also under Tynninghame
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland
on 1st January 1855. For details of these and other records held at the
General Register Office in Edinburgh, see the GRO website .
Old court records for East Lothian are generally held at the National Archives of Scotland
. An article is available giving further information about those records
concerned with land and property
Description and Travel
D. Croal's Sketches of East Lothian is available on microfilm
through LDS family history centres
worldwide. This is a reproduction of the original 216-page book published
in Haddington in 1875.
Many local directories would have covered East Lothian in the
past. Some which are available worldwide through LDS family history centres are Oliver
and Boyd's New Edinburgh Almanac and National Repository for the
years 1837-1881, 1883, 1890-1891, 1898, 1902, 1906 and 1923. These cover
Edinburgh and surrounding areas such as East Lothian.
Extracts for this county from the 1868 National
Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland are available.
You may find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI gazetteer.
Where is it in East Lothian? - A
hyperlinked index to information on many of the places in East Lothian:
towns, villages, and parishes.
There are electronic mailing lists covering this county. To subscribe
to MIDLOTHIAN-L (covers the three counties of Midlothian, West Lothian
and East Lothian) or to its digest form MIDLOTHIAN-D, send an email message
to either MIDLOTHIAN-Lemail@example.com or MIDLOTHIAN-Dfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave the subject field blank and put "subscribe" in the body of the
message. More recently, but more specifically is SCT-EAST-LOTHIAN-L,
which obviously only covers East Lothian. Subscription information for
this list is available from
There is also a surnames
list for the county. If you are researching any surnames in East
Lothian, please consider submitting details to this list.
East Lothian researchers may be interested in the East Lothian
GenWeb Page .
East Lothian Council runs a number of museums, and maintains a
There is also a site dedicated to East Lothian Heritage.
(Kirk Session Records - see Church Records)
Land and Property
See the Land and Property Records
in East Lothian page.
Law and Legislation
Deeds relating to East Lothian compiled by J. G. Wallace-James
and published at Haddington in 1899 (61 pages) is available on microfilm
through LDS family history centres
around the world.
Huge numbers of historical deeds for this county are in the National Archives of Scotland
For an account of early maps of the county, see The early printed
maps of East Lothian 1630-1848 by John N. Moore, published in the
Transactions of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists' Society,
18th volume (1984), pp.23-42. This article describes 28 maps in detail.
Copies of early maps are available from places such as the National Library of Scotland , and
on-line from Old-Maps.co.uk and
The Vision of Britain site also
contains links to maps, and other resources.
(Monumental Inscriptions - see Cemeteries)
Gaelic place names of the Lothians by John Milne is available
on microfilm from LDS family history
centres around the world. It is 30 pages long and was published by McDougall's
Educational Company in Edinburgh.
East Lothian is now covered by Graham Jaunay's
Online Scottish Names Directory.
If you are researching any surnames in East Lothian, please consider
submitting details to this new list.
Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
A short (8 page) booklet titled The poorhouse and poor relief
in East Lothian was written by David Moody and published in 1983 at
Here are some figures showing the county's population through
- 1755 - 29709
- 1790s - 27886
- 1801 - 29986
- 1811 - 31050
- 1821 - 35127
- 1831 - 36145
- 1841 - 35886
- 1851 - 36386
- 1861 - 37634
- 1931 - 47369
The Lothians Family
History Society covers East Lothian.
For a social and economic record of the parishes of East Lothian,
together with masses of statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's
Statistical Account of Scotland which was compiled in the 1790s.
Volume II deals with the Lothians, including East Lothian. The account
was reprinted in facsimile form in 1975 by EP Publishing Limited of Wakefield,
Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known
as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s;
and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared
since the Second World War.
The first and second Statistical Accounts
are now available online. These can be accessed by parish for example.
The pages take the form of a scanned GIF image.
See also the Population section above.
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Last updated 6 May 2012