On St Andrew's Day 2022, family historians with Scottish ancestry rejoiced as the 1921 Scottish census was finally released on ScotlandsPeople, the official records website of the National Records of Scotland (NRS). Jocelyn Grant, the NRS' Outreach and Learning Manager, shares some of the most unusual records in the collection - including both the oldest and youngest people in Scotland, and women who broke barriers in the field of law.


Madge E Anderson, age 25, from Glasgow

The 1921 census was carried out after the passing of the 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which for the first time allowed women to join the professions and professional bodies, sit on juries and be awarded degrees. Madge Easton Anderson (second record from bottom) became the first British woman to qualify as a lawyer in 1920. Her profession is given as 'Law Agent', the equivalent of solicitor.

Margaret H Kidd, age 21, from Carriden

Margaret Henderson Kidd (third down) was another pioneering woman in the field of law. Her profession here is given as 'Law student'. She qualified as a lawyer and became Britain's first woman King's Counsel in 1948.

(not christened), son of Edward G. Batchelor, age 26, and Jenny L. Batchelor, age 24, from Angus

This unnamed baby (sixth down), whose age is given as 1 hr, is the youngest person in the census. He led a long and extraordinary life. His name was Lockhart Edward Robert Batchelor Frain-Bell. Dr Lockhart Frain-Bell served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Burma in the Second World War and had a renowned career in medicine after the war, becoming a consultant radiologist. He died on 2 September 2020, aged 99. You can read his obituary here.

James Todd, age 109, Dumfries

At the opposite extreme, James Todd (seventh down) is the oldest person in the census - although a note on this record by the census taker says that they thought his age was closer to 50!

Don A McKinnon, age 17, Knockbain

This record is notable for showing 'three Donalds in a tent' - Don A McKinnon (eleventh down) and Don S Munro, age 17, and Don Miller, age 16. Their address is given as 'Tent' and they were all born in Inverness, but appear to be on holiday in Knockbain on the Black Isle. The 1921 census was originally due to take place on 24 April but was postponed to 19 June due to strikes, so many people were recorded on holiday rather than at their home address.

James Arthur Cleland, age 44, Blackpool


This record of the Cleland family is found in the England and Wales 1921 census collection on Findmypast, not on ScotlandsPeople. However, it's notable for being a rare surviving example of the original Scottish census forms. The other Scottish census records are copies created by the enumerators while the originals were destroyed. But this is a Scottish census form that James, from Kirkcudbright, apparently took with him and filled in while on holiday in Blackpool.