Researching your family history

North Lanarkshire Family history

The first rule of genealogical research is to start with yourself and work backwards in time. You could produce a very simple family tree which traces only your father’s line.

Family History Research in North Lanarkshire

There is a wealth of information available free of charge within North Lanarkshire’s Archives and Local Studies Services to carry out your family history research.

The main sources available for starting out with your family history research are:

  • Old parish registers on Microfilm
  • Census Returns on Microfilm
  • Poor relief records
  • Burial records
  • Valuation rolls
  • Electoral Rolls

A wide range of materials is also available to help piece together the day to day lives of your ancestors including:

  • School records
  • Local Newspapers
  • Book collections
  • Map collections
  • Photographs
  • Registers of Sasines
  • Achieves collections

Staff at the Archives and Local Studies Search Room at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre in Motherwell and at the Local Studies Room in Airdrie can also help you with your research.

Resources available:

Old parish registers on Microfilm (available at the Local Studies Rooms)

  • Bothwell Parish 1671-1854
  • Cadder Parish 1662-1854
  • Cambusnethan Parish
  • Dalziel Parish
  • New Monkland Parish 1693-1854
  • Old Monkland Parish 1695-1854
  • Shotts Parish 1707-1854

Census Returns on Microfilm (available at the Local Studies Rooms)

  • Bothwell Parish
  • Cambusnethan Parish
  • Dalziel Parish
  • New Monkland Parish 1841-1901
  • Old Monkland Parish 1841-1901
  • Shotts Parish 1841-1881

Poor relief records (available at North Lanarkshire Archives)

  • Bothwell Parish
  • Cambusnethan Parish
  • Dalziel Parish
  • Kilsyth Parish
  • New Monkland Parish
  • Shotts Parish

An index to the poor relief records is also available at North Lanarkshire Archives.

Burial records

Registers for most cemeteries (please see list below for details) in North Lanarkshire are held at North Lanarkshire Archives and are available for inspection in the public search room. If a visit to the Archives is not possible there is a research service available. (Please note there may be a cost for this service.)

The following cemeteries are covered:

  • Airbles, Motherwell
  • Bedlay, Moodiesburn
  • Bothwellpark, Bellshill
  • Calderhead, Shotts
  • Cambusnethan, Wishaw
  • Clarkston, Airdrie
  • Cumbernauld Village
  • Eastfield, Cumbernauld
  • Gartsherrie, Coatbridge
  • Globe, Motherwell
  • Hartwood Asylum Cemetery, Shotts
  • Holytown
  • Kilsyth
  • New Monkland (Glenmavis), Airdrie
  • Old Manse, Motherwell
  • Old Monkland, Coatbridge
  • Shottskirk, Salsburgh
  • St Joseph’s, Airdrie
  • Stane, Shotts
  • Wrangholm (see also Holytown)

Copies of Historic Records not held at the Archives are available at the Cemetery Administration Office in Bellshill Tel. 01698 506 300

These are:

  • St Patrick’s Cemetery, New Stevenston

Indices to several cemeteries in North Lanarkshire are available at the Local Studies Rooms.

School records (available at North Lanarkshire Archives)

Registers and log books of many (but not all) schools in North Lanarkshire have survived at either the school itself or at North Lanarkshire Archives. A database of the school record holdings for the area of North Lanarkshire is available at the Archives.

Valuation rolls (available at North Lanarkshire Archives and/or Local Studies Rooms)

  • Burgh of Airdrie 1855-1950, 1957-1960 and 1961-1974
  • Burgh of Coatbridge 1886-1950 and 1967-1974
  • Cumbernauld 1963-1975, 1975-1976, 1977-1985, 1987-1988 and 1989-1996
  • Monklands District Council 1975-1993
  • Joint Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw 1948-1949 and 1967-1994
  • North Lanarkshire Council 1996-1997 and 2001-2002

[Valuation rolls not held within the Council can be accessed at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh]

Electoral rolls (available at North Lanarkshire Archives and/or Local Studies Rooms)

  • Burgh of Airdrie c. 1830, c. 1840, 1846,1847, 1851, 1856, 1857, 1859-1860, 1880-1881, 1886-1887, 1900-1913, 1932-1939, 1945-1978
  • Burgh of Coatbridge 1919-1939, 1968-1978
  • Monklands District Council 1978-1995
  • Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw 1932
  • Motherwell District (including Bellshill, Shotts and Wishaw) 1975

Local Newspapers (available at available at the Local Studies Rooms)

  • Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser 1855-present
  • Airdrie and Coatbridge Luminary 1847 and 1851-1851
  • Airdrie Journal 1850-1851
  • Airdrie Literary Album 1828-1829
  • Bellshill Speaker 1898-present
  • Coatbridge and Airdrie Standard 1868
  • Coatbridge Express 1885-1951
  • Coatbridge Leader 1905-1955
  • Cumbernauld News 1961-1977 (hardcopies at the Archives and Records Centre)
  • Hamilton Advertiser 1862-1875
  • Kilsyth Chronicle 1959-2005 (hardcopies at the Archives and Records Centre)
  • Motherwell Times 1883-present (Surname and subject indexes available)
  • Wishaw Press 1873-present (Surname and subject indexes available)

Book collections

The Local Studies Rooms and hold books covering the following subjects:

  • the general history of the local areas
  • the development of the coal, iron and steel industries
  • trade directories
  • how to carry out family history research
  • paleography

Map collections

Collections of Ordnance Survey maps (First, Second and New Editions, small and large scale), local estate maps, burgh plans, street plans, geological maps, mine workings plans and bound atlases are available at North Lanarkshire Archives and the Local Studies Rooms.


Large collections of photographs are available at North Lanarkshire Archives as well as at the Local Studies Rooms. These include images of towns, villages, farms, places of work, events, social activities and people.

Registers of Sasines

Abridged Registers of Sasines (records of the transfer of ownership of a piece of land or building) for the County of Lanark (1831 – 1947) are available at Airdrie Library’s Discovery Room.

Sasines are also available at the Local History Room at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre, Motherwell.

Archives collections

North Lanarkshire Archives cares for collections of historical value including the records of local authorities, landed estates, businesses, clubs and societies, and personal papers. All of these can contain information of interest about your ancestry.