Whenever I find a street address for a person I'm researching, I like to look for property records to find out whatever I can about the building the person was living in. Even when the person is a tenant rather than a property owner, there are often useful clues to be found (especially in the US, where property tax records can reveal how many units are in a multi-family dwelling).

Brief descriptions in the Family Search Research Wiki article on Scotland Land and Property and a brief page on The National Archives of Scotland talk about Valuation Rolls, a property record which "gathered information about the ownership and tenancy of land and houses in order to raise property taxes".

A fuller description of the records can be found at the website National Records of Scotland, which has a Research Guide and a more extensive article on how the Valuation rolls between 1855 and 1975 were divided into counties and burghs.

Sample images of the Valuation Rolls can be seen on this article Launch of the Valuation Rolls in Scotland for 1915 - March 2012. The records are searchable on Scotlands People by name, but the images are available as pay-per-view only.

My research subject is William Henry Cole, born around 1890, who can be found in other questions here. He was a Mason, and according to the Mason Membership Cards (accessed via Ancestry.com), his mother lodge was Clyde Lodge #408 in Glasgow. The membership secretary at his mother lodge very kindly provided an address from their records of 1 Holmhead Street, Glasgow.

My date bounds for this address are after Census Day, 1911, where he was enumerated with his family in Cheshire, and before October of 1924, where an outbound UK passenger list gives his former address in Belfast. Given the dates of his participation with the lodge, my estimate for when this address might have been valid is somewhere around 1913.

Scotlands People has Valuation Rolls for the following years:

1875 1885 1895 1905 1915 1920 1925

Of these years, it seems likely that William Henry Cole would only appear as a tenant or inhabitant in 1915, and perhaps in 1920; in 1901, he is still living with his family, and by the time the 1925 data was collected, he was already in the US.

Searching in all places with surname Cole fixed and first names beginning with W yields 16 results in 1915, 17 results in 1920, and 15 results in 1925, none of which are 1 Holmhead Street.

Using the Advanced Search in 1915 for Holmhead and setting City: GLASGOW CITY; Parish: GLASGOW; Place: ""; Burgh: "GLASGOW" yields 179 records on Holmhead Street and other places which include the name Holmhead. This yields an owner and several tenant occupiers.

If I were on a subscription website where all the images were available to view, I would collect the images for the most likely candidates from my search by name, and whatever I could find for 1 Holmhead Street for reference purposes. But on pay-per-view, I dislike paying for images when I have no idea whether they are likely to be useful in future; if I want to pay for specific images, I have a long list of documents (wills and certificates) which have higher priority.

So I'm wondering what strategies would be best, for capturing the search results and storing them, in case I want to come back to this record set later on, and what other records might be helpful to use in conjunction with these records. If I had gotten a hit for William Henry Cole at 1 Holmhead Street, I would have purchased the image to see what else I might find, but there's no guarantee that the William Henry Cole I found elsewhere in Glasgow is the William Henry Cole I'm looking for.

One strategy might be to make a spreadsheet of the wide by-name search and show which people show up in multiple years at the same location, and thus are likely to be too old to be my person of interest.

I also plan to collect the search results during this free access period for the address given for the William Henry Cole I found at a different address in Glasgow, in case it does turn out to be the right person. There's no guarantee that other tenants at that address are his associates, but without a list of the names, I won't able to recognize them if they turn up in other records.

If you have experience working with Valuation Rolls, what techniques worked well for gathering and organizing the information you found during your searches and analysis?

  • 2
    Not answering your question but have you checked the City Directories for Glasgow? The National Library of Scotland (which probably isn't called that now) has a massive collection of Directories from across Scotland and those for the big cities tend to be very comprehensive.
    – AdrianB38
    Dec 15, 2015 at 19:04
  • 1
    @AdrianB38 Thanks for the reminder -- need to check there. Love City Directory research, but I'm much more familiar with US Directories than UK ones.
    – Jan Murphy
    Dec 15, 2015 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


This is a stub of an answer which I'll expand on, once I find the notes I took during my previous searches of Scotlands People.

Following a suggestion from AdrianB38 to look for directories at the National Library of Scotland, I began by looking for a period map. Some City Directories have numerical guides as well as alphabetical lists, and if you can find a period map to use along with the city directory, the combination can be very helpful.

According to Glasgow Guide's table of Street Name Changes, described as "A list of Glasgow street names which were subject to change prior to the 1940s". Holmhead Street's new name is Cunningham Street, C1.

However, when I attempted to use the NLS's historical map feature, which has a gazetteer, no results appear if you type in Cunningham Street, C1.

Next I discovered a thread on an Ancestry message board Old Glasgow Streets, where an Ancestry member paulh1960 asked for help finding an address on Holmhead street. User DonGillies61 posted this reply:

The street no longer exists. It WAS in the city centre, but nowadays the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre covers that area. If you look at a modern map it ran in between and parallel to Cathedral Street and Killermont Street.

The thread had links to the OS maps at the National Library of Scotland, and to a 1935 Glasgow Street map, both posted by member Tony Allison.

Having these two maps to triangulate will help once I start exploring the city directory collection.

OS Six Inch, 1888-1913 map series at NLS

Snipped from OS Six Inch, 1888-1913 map series at NLS

enter image description here

Snipped from quarter 2 of 1935 Map of Glasgow

We can see from the maps that Holmhead Street had already been renamed by the time the 1935 Map was published.

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