Deeds are documents in which agreements, contracts and obligations were registered, signed and witnessed in order ‘to stand the strength of time.’ They cover a wide variety of subjects, such as testamentary settlements, marriage contracts, apprenticeships, financial contracts, partnerships, tacks (leases) and so on. Their value lies in the fact that they help to illustrate the lives and times of our ancestors. They also can be useful for finding people during periods when parish registers do not exist or where there are gaps in them.
Deeds were recorded in the Registers of:
- the Court of Session (Books of Council and Session) which begin in the first half of the 16th century
- the Commissary Courts (up to 1824)
- the Sheriff Courts (many begin in the early 1600s)
- the Royal Burghs (some are held in local archives)
- the Franchise Courts (few have survived)