Forfar’s History - Resources For Researchers


There are many resources available for the study of Forfar's past. Some are held in Forfar Library or The Meffan museum, while others are housed in Angus Archives.

There are also many Forfar sources available in the National Archives of Scotland such as the kirk session records.

Jarman's Hotel Forfar

General sources:

Genealogy sources

Forfar Library holds a good range of genealogical sources for the Forfar area such as Old Parish Registers and the census (1841-1901) on microfilm plus the International Genealogical Index on microfiche.

Angus Archives holds the full collection of Angus IGI and census microfilms.


Forfar Library holds a variety of newspapers including the Forfar Dispatch, 1912 to date and the Forfar Herald, both on microfilm, 1884 - 1929. Forfar's newspapers have been indexed by surname and subject until the mid 1980's. Please ask at the issue desk to see the card index. Newspapers are an invaluable source of local history - why?


Forfar Library holds a good collection of Angus maps, mainly Ordnance Survey. The collection includes the 1865 6 inch to 1 mile series for all of Angus, and nearly complete sets for 1902 and 1927. The 1976 series is also available for Forfar.

Local History collection

Angus Archives and Forfar Library both house a collection of books and pamphlets concerning Forfar's history and Angus in general. The library catalogue is available online. Some titles are available for lending while others are strictly reference only. Items marked LH are usually only to be consulted within the library or archive.

Archival sources held within Angus Archives

Forfar Town Council records

There is a large collection of Forfar Town Council records, dating from 1660 to 1975. These records include Town Council minutes, police commissioner records, licensing, housing, charities, legal documents, a small number of Dean of Guild plans, miscellaneous papers including the confessions of the Forfar witches etc. The first Forfar Town Council minute book for 1660-1685 has been transcribed and indexed. The transcript is available in the reference collection of Angus Archives. A complete list of the records of Forfar Town Council is available.

Please order these items at least one day in advance of your visit.

Osnaburgh Pend Forfar

Forfar in Angus County Council records (ACC)


School records comprise school logs, admissions registers and school board records from 1872 at the earliest.

NB// School records are kept in the store and MUST be ordered in advance. More recent volumes are subject to the Data Protection Act.
Please consult archive staff for details.

Not all school records have survived. Please phone Angus Archives in advance to check if the sources you seek are available.

Poor relief

Each parish had a parochial board which was in charge of distributing aid to the poor. Poor registers were kept, often offering extensive information.

NB// 20th Century poor relief records are subject to the Data Protection Act.
Please consult archive staff for details.

Burial records

Burial records for the Forfar cemeteries are held by the Burial Section of Angus Council. Further information on Forfar burials should be sought from the Burial Section of Leisure Services, Angus Council, at 01307 473225.

Angus Archives holds an index to 18th century burial registers for Forfar Parish Church plus the Pre-1855 Gravestones of Angus publication.

Angus Archives Miscellaneous Collection (MS) of major Forfar collections.

There are many Forfar items in the Miscellaneous archive collection. The larger collections include:

There are many references to Forfar and Forfar people in other collections. We can search the CALM database for you.

New donations of archival material and photographs are always welcome.

Other Forfar resources available in Angus Archives

Indexes available in the Angus Archives search room

33:324.241 Forfar Poll Book 1869
33:352.1 Treasurer's Accounts of John Brandon, 1662-1663 - surname and subject index
33:352.1 Treasurer's Accounts of David Wood, 1684
33:352.1 Treasurer's Accounts of Henry Forrest, 1706-1707
33:352.1 Inventory of the Cornes, 1689
33:352.1 Forfar Burgh Miscellaneous Papers - name index, 1546-1845
33:352.1 Forfar Burgh Miscellaneous Papers - subject index, 1546-1845
33:352.1 Forfar Town Council Clerks files index
33:352.1 Town Council minute book, 1660-1685 - name and subject index
33.366 Forfar Weaver's Incorporation, 1627-1836
33:366 Forfar Shoemaker's Incorporation, 1626-1813
33:366 Forfar Shoemaker's Incorporation, 1813-1847
33:720.9 Forfar Dean of Guild plans - street index, 1897-1953
33:929.3 Surnames extracted from Bailie David T. Adam's summary of Forfar Town Council minutes
33:929.5 Forfar Burial Book, 1733-1760 - burials in Forfar Parish Churchyard
33:929.5 Forfar Burial Books, 1772-1784 - burials in Forfar Parish churchyard
33:941 Protocol Book of Thomas Robertson, 1657 - surname index
33:941 Forfar Hearth Tax, 1693 - surname index
33:941 St. James Fair Riot in Forfar, 1672 - surname index

Angus Image Index

- features many Forfar area people, especially ministers, town council officials, landed gentry, philanthropists, office bearers etc

Forfar Photograph Collection

Angus Archives currently holds a small collection of photographs of Forfar and its people, from the late 19th century to date. The collection includes some antiquarian prints. Photographic images comprise street views, events, industry, Provosts, historic buildings, and local characters.

This collection has not yet been indexed. Images of Forfar people included in local history publications are accessible through the Angus Image Index.

New additions to the photographic collection are always welcome.

Reproductions of copyright free photographs are available. Please request a price list.

Forfar Research Files

Angus Archives has a large and growing collection of files on many aspects of Forfar including industry, commerce, personalities, historic buildings, recreation and many other topics. They are an excellent place to begin your research.

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

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

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