Local & Family History

Local & Family History

We offer a wealth of resources to anyone interested in local and family history. We have material on all aspects of the Western Isles, including history, architecture, clan & family histories, geography, geology and natural history.

You can access historical local newspapers and periodicals. These are available in bound volumes and/or on microfilm.
Examples are Stornoway Gazette, Highlands News, West Highland Free Press, Gairm, Eilean an fhraoich annuals, Nicolson Institute annuals, Am Paipear, etc.

You may be able to view and research various specific resources such as the Old Parochial Registers (records of christenings and marriages prior to 1855), Census Returns from 1841 to 1901, School Log Books, Croft Histories by Bill Lawson, the Seaforth Muniments documents, Rental and Valuation Rolls, etc.

Stornoway Library hold Ordnance Survey maps of various scales and dates from the First Edition 6 inch issue of 1848 as well as older maps and Admiralty Charts.
The Gibbs Map of Lewis, 1817, is housed in the Council Offices and may be viewed on the first floor landing.

Albums of old postcards and photographs are available for reference.

You can also access Find My Past freely from any of our libraries.

The resources listed above are not exhaustive. Please get in touch with us if you would like more information on our Local & Family History resources.



You may also be interested in getting in touch with Tasglann nan Eilean
(Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Archive Service).

Open Resource




We are in the process of digitising our local history resources in order to make them freely available online.
Soon to be available.

In the meantime you can find a collection of digitised historic maps of Stornoway and environs, dating from the 1780s to the 1960s on the
National Library of Scotland website.





Resources mentioned on this page

Find My Past

With a bank of billions of digitised records, and access to some of the world’s most renowned historical databases, Findmypast allows you to connect to people, both past and present, and visualise their family story in more detail than ever before. 

Access to Find My Past is within a library only.

Open Resource


National Library of Scotland

If you live in Scotland, you can join the National Library of Scotland to remotely access
over 100 online resources.

Log in or join the library to gain access to these resources which include thousands of books, reports, newspapers and journals, plus much more.

Open Resource