Search the archives

This guide was last updated in 2010

There is always a chance that some documents relevant to your ancestor or their shop may have been deposited in the appropriate local archive – perhaps correspondence, rate books or accounts.

If your ancestor worked for a large or famous shop or a chain that has its own archive or deposited collection, you might find such things as staff records or wage books, staff magazines or rule books that provide a picture of your ancestor’s likely experiences, even if there is no mention of them by name.

You might find photographs of the relevant shop or branch, either in the company’s archive, in a volume of local history or in online collections, and a staff photograph may allow you to see uniforms, the age and sex range of the employees and other details.

To examine the collections of local archives and find contact details for them, have a look at Access to Archives at, the Scottish Archive Network at and the Archon Directory at

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