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How to find your East Lothian ancestors at the John Gray Centre in Haddington


Discover how to find out about the lives and times of your East Lothian ancestors at the John Gray Centre, which has thousands of records relating to the history of East Lothian. 

If your ancestors were from East Lothian and you want to learn more about them then East Lothian Archives & Local History Service can help. Based in the John Gray Centre in Haddington- which also includes a library and museum - the service hold a vast array of records. These include:

  • East Lothian Council records
  • Parochial board/ poorhouse records
  • Army and militia records
  • Burgess and Incorporated Trades records
  • Taxation records
  • School records
  • Records of local societies and organizations
  • Local newspapers dating back to 1859
  • An extensive reference library

How to find out more about the records that we hold

The majority of our records are catalogued and searchable on our website. The catalogue also allows you to search across the collections for East Lothian museums and archaeology services.

We also have research guides on topics such as using burgh records and the poor law to assist you in your research. Indexes for some of our record series can also be found on the website. One of the most useful for family historians is the index to the East Lothian Courier, the local newspaper where you can search for details of your ancestors. We also have index lists for the local militia, criminal records and district council minutes.

One of our most popular collections are our photographs. We hold around 75,000 images of the County and recently with the help of our volunteers have been digitizing these. The first 7,000 or so of these are now available to view and purchase on our website. So if you ever wondered what Haddington looked like in 1900 then this is the place to look. We might even have a photograph of your ancestors.

The archives also hold a small oral history and local film collection with interviews on various topics such as mining, holidays and farming.

Coming attractions!

We will shortly be putting up indexes to our poor law records online. We hold a large number of records covering the period 1773-1930 and they are one of the richest resources we hold for family history.

We’ll also be adding our maps and plans catalogue to the website shortly and expanding our image digitization project, making even more of our collection available online.

Using the John Gray Centre

  • You are more than welcome to come and visit us. We’re a friendly bunch and the service is open to the public Monday 9:30am-5pm, Tuesday 9:30am-7pm and Friday 9:30am-5pm
  • Alternatively you can submit an enquiry by e-mail
  • We are based at 15 Lodge Street, Haddington, EH41 3DX
  • You can also keep up to date with news and events from the service by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Simply search for ‘John Gray Centre’

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