Arbroath’s History - Resources For Researchers


Arbroath Burgess Ticket

There are many resources available for the study of Arbroath's past. Some are held in Arbroath Library while many others are housed in the Angus Archives. There are also many sources available in the National Archives of Scotland, such as Kirk Session records.

Genealogy sources

Arbroath Library holds a good range of genealogical sources such as Old Parish Registers and the census (1841-1901) on microfilm plus the International Genealogical Index on microfiche. The Archives holds most of these also.

The town of Arbroath encompasses 2 parishes: Arbroath and St Vigeans (which is also the name of a neighbouring village and the source of much confusion). You may need to search in both if you do not have a specific location.


Arbroath Herald is available on microfilm in Arbroath Library from 1838 onwards. A card index is available too and relates to indexed material from 1889-1985. Some earlier Arbroath information is contained within the Montrose Review, available from 1811, and can be used in Montrose Library on microfilm.

Newspapers are an invaluable source of local history - why?


Arbroath Library holds a collection of Arbroath area maps, mainly Ordnance Survey. Angus Archives holds some Ordnance Survey maps and some local estate plans.

Archival sources

Arbroath Town Council records

Arbroath 1599 Charter

Arbroath has a large collection of Town Council records, dating from 1727 to 1975. These records include Town council minutes, police commissioner records, licensing, housing, charities, legal documents, honorary burgesses, Arbroath Harbour Board and early modern burgh court books. A complete list [PDF 137K] is available.

Angus County Council records


County Council records are largely organised by parish, so to get a complete picture of Arbroath, you need to consider searches in both Arbroath and St Vigeans parishes, or know in advance in which parish an ancestor lived.

School records, mainly log books, have survived for both parishes.

Please check with Angus Archives staff in advance as school records have a 50 year closure period. Any items that are available to researchers MUST be ordered in advance to avoid disappointment.

Poor relief

Poor relief records are subject to closure periods of 75 years. Items out with a closure period must be ordered in advance.

Burial records

East Mill Wynd Arbroath

Burial records are available from

In addition, the Arbroath Old parish Register of burials has survived and its extensive and comprehensive records have been indexed. A copy of this index is available in Angus Archives.

Arbroath Library and Angus Archives holds the Pre-1855 Gravestones of Angus publication

Angus Archives Miscellaneous Collection (MS)

There are many Arbroath items in the Miscellaneous collection. These include:

Other Arbroath resources available in Angus Archives


Apprentices, Arbroath
18:352 Arbroath Court Book, 1565-1575 - surname index
18:352 Arbroath Court Book, 1618-1704 - surname index
18:352 Register of Qualified Voters, 1832-1857 -surname index
18:352.1 Index to Arbroath Town Council Town Clerk's files
18:641.873 Officers of the Arbroath Brewer's Fraternity, 1805 - 1861
18:929.2 John Colville's Protocol Book Index, 1775-1783 and the list of Persons in the Burgh of Arbroath, from Montrose Burgh Court Records, 1707 - 1826 bound as one volume
18:929.3 Index to Arbroath and St. Vigeans Burial Registers, 1825 - 1854
18:929.3 Examination roll of Arbroath, 1752 edited by Flora Davidson
18:929.5 Arbroath Abbey: Pre 1855 gravestones and allied descriptions as listed by Sydney Cramer
18:941 Arbroath: Royal Burgh of Romance - surname index
18:941 Arbroath Traders Index - surname index of merchants and shop keepers, often listing their business address, 1839-1843
Card Index Arbroath Weavers Incorporation surname index- ongoing (Progress at August 2004 = three quarters completed)

Arbroath Photograph Collection

The Archives holds nearly 2,000 images of the town and its people from the late 19th century to more recently. The collection also includes antiquarian prints from the 18th century. Photographic images include street views, industry, Provosts, historic buildings, the seafront and local characters. An index to the Arbroath Photographic Collection is available. It can be used in conjunction with the Image Index which indexes photographs of people contained within local history books.

New additions to the photographic collection are always welcome. Reproductions of copyright free photographs are available. Please request a price list.

Arbroath Research Files

The Archives has a growing collection of files on many aspects of Arbroath including industry, commerce, personalities, historic buildings, recreation and many other topics.

Arbroath 1838

Other items of interest

The Archives team is happy to answer any queries relating to Arbroath sources.

Please contact the Angus Archives team who will be happy to answer any queries relating to Arbroath sources.

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