Old Counties

OR Modern Council Areas

From mediaeval times until 1974, Scotland was divided into a system of counties for the purposes of local administration. You can search the Gazetteer for Scotland using these divisions, and link from these to parishes. Counties and parishes are particularly useful if your interests are in family history, because this is how historical records are arranged. Bear in mind that the boundaries of both have changed regularly throughout history. There were 34 counties until 1890, although the maps here show the 33 counties as they were in 1951. From 1996 the divisions of local administration became a series of unitary authorities called Council Areas. (Between 1974 and 1996 a two-tier system of regions and districts had been used, but this was abandoned in favour of a return to a single-level of local government). This system remains in use today. You can search the Gazetteer for Scotland using these contemporary Council Areas, of which there are 32. The boundaries of these new divisions are often markedly different from those of the Old Counties, even where the names are similar.
  ©1995-2021 The Editors of The Gazetteer for Scotland
Supported by: School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society

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