Special Collections

The gateway to library resources for family history

Whatever the question, our staff will direct you to library resources that will provide context, diversity and depth to your family history.


How do I learn more about family history? 


Books on family history are available to borrow from The Mitchell Library in person or by reserving books through our online catalogue. You can join the Library if you're not already a member and browse the catalogue for particular titles or a general search for "Family History". Your local library will also have books on family history. We also offer learning sessions, free-of-charge, to assist you in your research.  Library Resources for Family History sessions, suitable for beginners, demonstrate how our materials can be used at different stages, and signpost services provided by Registrars and City Archives.  Family History Advice sessions offer a one-to-one service to help point you in the right direction and are suitable for those with more experience. 


We provide access, free-of-charge to library members in the library , to a number of online resources, including the genealogical website, Ancestry Library Edition, and Nineteenth Century British Library Newspapers. We also have microfilm copies of Old Parish Registers (OPRs) for large parts of Scotland. There are also indexes to births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales.  Access on microfiche is provided to the International Genealogical Index, a family history database that lists several hundred million names of deceased persons throughout the world.


Where did my ancestor live?


We have maps of the whole of Scotland, with Glasgow and the counties of Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire being particularly well-covered.  Ordnance Survey maps from 1856 to the present day are available for most areas.


How would my ancestor have lived?


Directories of streets and businesses, as well as local histories, show the social and economic development of Glasgow.  This is further illustrated by our collection of photographs of the city.  Search also our archive of Glasgow newspapers and periodicals, including The Glasgow Herald, Evening Times, The Bailie and Forward.  Census returns for parts of Scotland dating from 1841 to 1901, provide a detailed insight into everyday lives.  Electoral registers from the nineteenth century to the present day may include a description of property and qualifications to vote.  Statistical Acccounts for all of Scotland are also available.


Where was my ancestor laid to rest?


We have burial records on microfilm  for most Glasgow cemeteries as well as Monumental Inscriptions for cemeteries throughout Scotland.