Library & Archives

Leabharlann & Tasglann

The Library & Archives are housed in the Museum building. Covering all aspects of Scottish culture and history, the Library has one of the best reference collections in northwest Scotland. 

2021 season update: Due to Covid-19 the Library will be open by appointment only until further notice. To enquire or book an appointment please contact us at

In the Library you can browse through thousands of books and journals on tartans, Highland dress, clan histories and much more.

In addition we hold an extensive Archive.  If you wish to consult the Archive you are very strongly advised to alert us in advance on, as staff may be busy with Library visitors. A charge is made for consulting the Archive, which contributes towards the cost of conserving and developing it; you can download the scale of charges from this page.

The Archive collections include 17th and 18th century material on the Jacobites as well as an extensive range of antiquarian and modern maps relating to Skye and the Highlands. It also houses the Macdonald Estate Papers and Correspondence, a unique collection of original rentals and estate documents relating to Skye and North Uist which provide a framework for local history and genealogy research. The catalogue of this collection is available online through the National Register of Archives for Scotland; the catalogue reference number is NRAS3273. For further details of Macdonald Estate documents held in our Archive please contact the library, quoting the individual document reference number.

Tracing your ancestors

In the Museum Library you can check if your surname is Scottish and its derivation and meaning.

If you have ancestors from Skye, or Macdonalds in your family tree, then we may also be able to help with your family history research. Please note that most of our records are from the 1800s onwards and represent parishes associated with Clan Donald on Skye. We have census reports, parish records, monumental inscriptions, maps and a database of detailed records of several thousand Skye families.

Please be aware that Highland genealogy can be frustrating, especially to those unfamiliar with the places and people concerned. The library team, led by our Museum Manager, is on hand to assist if you require advice.

Clan Donald USA’s DNA project, now over 18 years old, is among the largest family-based genetic genealogy project in the world. It has now reached the 2000 participant level. See their website for further details.

Using the Library & Archive

Please note the following information will apply when we reopen.

The Library is open the same days as the Castle Gardens & Museum – see Plan Your Visit. In high season we open 10.00-12.30 and 14.15-16.30 and in low season (November and March) 10.00-15.00. The Library may close for short periods when staff are offering tours or other activities within the Museum. If you wish to consult the Library resources and are visiting on a schedule you are strongly advised to book with the Library in advance: Tel. 01471 844305 or direct line 03300 552528;

During the closed season it may be possible to access the Library and Archives for research purposes by appointment; please email us to enquire.

We may also be able to conduct remote research, depending on our researcher’s availability. Charges apply for this service; contact us for details.  Please note that time spent on genealogy does not guarantee the finding of desired information.