At West Lothian's Local History Library, you’ll find masses of information about the rich heritage of West Lothian– thousands of books, maps, photographs and old newspapers.
And if you’re doing your family history, it’s the essential place to go. We can help you put flesh on the bones of your family tree: find a photo of the places your ancestors lived, see their names in old documents, learn about the jobs they did, the buildings they knew, the lives they lived.
Experts from the West Lothian Family History Society are in the library on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am-3pm to give one-to-one help and advice on your research. Just drop in – what will you find?
Have a look at our Flickr Account to see a sample of all the fantastic images we have on file!
West Lothian Council History Library is the place to go if you’re interested in your local area. The library holds material on all aspects of West Lothian past and present, including places, people, buildings and events. The library is a reference library, is open to the public and is free to use.
Histories of all the towns and villages of West Lothian; biographies of famous West Lothian people; books by West Lothian writers; books on all aspects of West Lothian – industries, agriculture, churches, societies, geography, sports, architecture, wildlife, etc.
Over 1,100 maps covering all areas of West Lothian, at various scales, and dating from the 17th century to the present day; and specialised maps showing geology, rights of way, railways, mines, etc. O.S. name-books for West Lothian parishes.
Some 11,000 photos and slides of all areas of West Lothian, from the late 19th century to the present day. Copies can be ordered.
Several hundred DVDs of old gala days and other topics of local interest.
- Censuses (West Lothian parishes) 1841-1901
- Old Parish Registers (West Lothian parishes)
- International Genealogical Index for Scotland and Ireland
- Pre-1855 Monumental Inscriptions in West Lothian
- West Lothian Poll and Hearth Tax Records
- Some West Lothian Kirk Session Records
- 1881 Census for Great Britain on CD
- Confirmations and Inventories (1876-1933) for Scotland
- Indexes to the 1851 Census and Monumental Inscriptions for many other parts of Scotland.
1855 to date.
1869 to date.
A number of local history books and booklets are always available for sale at the Local History Library and in branch libraries.
- West Lothian Courier 1873 to date
- Linlithgowshire Gazette 1891 to date
- Midlothian Advertiser 1906-67
- Bo’ness Journal & Linlithgowshire Advertiser 1879-1950
- Livingston Post 1968-1984
- Lothians Express 1893-1921
- West Lothian Herald and Post 1996 to date
- Edinburgh Evening Courant 1780-1812
The first three are indexed, and the index can be searched online at http://wlhas.westlothian.gov.uk and click on the Newspaper Search tab.
The Local History Library also offers:
- Schools' packs for each town and village
- Local History events
- Local history publications for sale
- Free access to Ancestry and to Scran, within the library
- A Local History Library facebook page
We are always grateful for donations, or the opportunity to make copies of photographs and other material of local interest. Photographs can be copied while you wait.