Access to Scotland Census Indexes
I am not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so I access Family Search using what I believe it termed a Patron Account.
I understand and accept that access to record collections on the FamilySearch website are regulated through agreements between the Family History Library and the collection owner/creator. I the agreements do not allow me to view these indices then that is an acceptable outcome.
My question regards accessing the index information from the census records for the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 census’ of Scotland. My question does not cover viewing the digitized microfilms containing actual census images. I know these films must be viewed at a Family History Centre or affiliated library.
My questions are
1. Why can I not view the index information for the Scotland Census at home? I can view the England Census. The collection numbers for the Scotland census are as follows:
Year Collection Year Collection
1841 201600 1851 2028673
1861 2028677 1871 2028678
1881 2046756 1891 2046943
If I can view the census indices for the England and Wales why can I not view the Scottish ones. Since both the England and Scotland indexes where provided by Find My Past I do not understand why I cannot view the Scottish index entries.
2. Why can I not view the Scottish indexes while at an affiliated library even though I can access the underlying digital images? I do have to use the Family Search Catalogue in order to access the digitized microfilm.
3. At a Family History Centre using Google Chrome web browser with the portal add-on active I still cannot access the Scotland Census when viewing all Scotland Collections. However, when accessing the census records via the wiki a search of the census is available. NOTE: All cookie and browser data cleared prior to accessing the Family History data. I can also access these by directly by setting the url
At a Family History Centre, I suspect that some cookie or other item is setup by the portal add-on that allows access.
4. Why when I view an image from a digitized Scotland Census microfilm do I get a message that the Image was provided by Find My Past when, in fact, Find My Past do not have the digitized microfilm?
My understanding is The National Records of Scotland (or General Register Office of Scotland prior to 1911) provided these records, which were microfilmed by the Church in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Thank you for reviewing this question.
As I recall, FindMyPast provides the host platform for ScotlandsPeople. And the images show as coming from FindMyPast. I'm at my affiliate library this afternoon:0
Non-members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have not had access to the indexes of Scotland censuses from their home computers for at least a couple of years. As of when this issue was last being discussed on this forum, church members did have access.
Scottish censuses are owned by National Records Scotland (NRS) while the National Archives (TNA) owns England/Wales censuses. Each organization has separate contracts with FS.
Like you, I accept that restrictions/regulations on access will exist. But what I found concerning was that NRS (a branch of the state) had voluntarily agreed that members of one religion got greater access to public records than members of other religions. In 2020 I corresponded with NRS, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture. The first and third defended the contractual arrangements, the second was legally unable to investigate.2
I am not connected with FamilySearch and am not a church member.
I can't comment directly about the Scottish Census images, but a similar situation exists today for many of the Bengal and other India parish records which were filmed by FamilySearch back in the 1960s from records at the British Library in London, along with many other records from the British Library.
Findmypast separately filmed these records and released many of them from 2014 on the Findmypast website, but FamilySearch has a more extensive collection. When the FamilySearch Bengal parish records etc were digitised, FamilySearch came to an agreement with someone (not too sure who, but I think Findmypast and from memory I've heard not the British Library) that these records would be available to LDS church members on their home computers. All other records from the British Library are only available, whether for church or non church members, at Family History Centers and Affiliate Libraries.
These Bengal etc parish records (there are hundreds , possibly thousands of films), similar to the original post say images courtesy of Findmypast. In fact the images are NOT courtesy of Findmypast, although Findmypast has separately filmed the images. The images available are the digitised FamilySearch microfilms, which in fact cover a greater range of years than the Findmypast images.
My own view is that the reason the digitised microfilms say that the images are courtesy of Findmypast is to disguise the fact that the actual images being shown "should" (if there is consistency) only be available at a Family History Centre or Affiliate Library. Given I believe the British Library was not involved with any of this I think it casts grave doubts on FamilySearch's repeated comments that it relies on contracts with the holding archive as to what records are displayed/available. I also believe that FamilySearch should be honest and accurate in the statements it makes.
I also note the screen shot shown by Aine above appears to for a digitised FamilySearch microfilm, and not a Findmypast image.0
I must apologize that my previous comment was misleading. After looking back at my correspond with NRS and other Scottish public organisations I realised my correspondence was only regarding parish records, not census records. I did not (and do not intend to at any point in the future) discuss access to 1841-1911 Scotland census records. Sorry for forgetting this important detail.2
Thanks for the comments. Seems like I will have to visit a Family History Centre to view these census indices. Fortunately for me there is one nearby.0
@George Caldwell These are also available at Affiliate Libraries, and Affiliate Libraries generally have much longer open hours.0