General collection information
This collection contains registries of aliens living in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1794 up to and including 1825 and contains handwritten declarations made by aliens to a magistrate. Most records are handwritten in English, however the preprinted forms are bilingual; typed in both English and French.
Using this collection
Records in the collection may include the following information:
Registries made on pre-printed forms are more standardised and will usually contain more information, including the addition of residents' current address and their port of entry into Great Britain.
While these records are associated with French migrants, the collection is not limited to people of French heritage. It was compulsory for aliens of all ethnicities to register.
Please note that writing from this time period uses the medial s. If the letter "s" appears in the middle of a word, it will be written in a form that resembles a lowercase "f."
Collection in context
In 1793, the Republic of France declared war on Great Britain. While Britain had previously remained neutral during the French Revolutionary Wars, the French occupation of Belgium threatened British trade networks.
As a result, Britain experienced a great deal of political unease towards those of foreign birth; especially those who aligned politically with the French Revolution. The registers in this collection were created as a direct result of that political fear. People born abroad who were living within the city of Edinburgh were required to appear before a magistrate and declare their personal history and intentions.
Edinburgh.gov. "Registers of Aliens." Last modified 10 August 2012. https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/24885/registers-of-aliens-1798-1825.
Tait, Sheena. "Scottish Register of Aliens." Scottish Genealogy Research. Last modified 4 December 2009. http://setait.co.uk/blog/2009/12/04/scottish-registers-of-aliens/.