a Scottish landscape

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the questions often asked by users. Please email me with any further questions.

Why do I have to pay to see the information on this site?

Well, first of all you can explore all of the rest of the site for free including the search facilities to see whether in fact the information you are after is here before deciding whether to subscribe.

For six years I ran this site and provided free access to all. Many generous donors helped to pay for the ongoing costs but it was not enough to cover the ongoing costs. I need to pay for access to the Registers of Scotland and to determine the ownership of one landholding can involve the examination of 2 or 3 Search Sheets at a cost of over £6. To expand the site and keep all the records up to date costs around £8000 per year. I also need to earn a living and the research to expand and update this site takes time.

There is thus no viable alternative to subscription-based access. In developing this model, I took account of the feedback provided by users of the site in an online survey conducted in August 2009.

Why can't I find information on land I am interested in?

The most likely answer is because the land in question is not published on the website. This may be because I have not yet researched the particular area or because I have done so but have not yet published the information. Around 25% of Scotland will remain unpublished for some time due to the work required to expand coverage. The law of diminishing returns applies with each unit of extra effort yielding progressively less acreage.

Why do you use the old counties to organise the data?

All data is organised by county based on the Scottish Counties which existed prior to local government reorganisation in 1975. Click here for a map showing the county divisions. This division continues to be the basis for the recording of legal titles in the Registers of Scotland and is the basis for all historical records in the National Archives of Scotland. Since the boundaries are now frozen in time, it means that they will not change and will therefore provide a stable geographic framework for the future.

It should be noted that the boundaries of the existing local authorities which call themselves, for example, Aberdeenshire, do not equate with the older and far longer established entities.

Why do you not use modern mapping?

The short answer is because it is too expensive. See Mapping page for further details.

Can I download bulk data?

No, not at the moment, though this may be an option in future.