From mediaeval times until 1974, Scotland was divided into a system
of counties for the purposes of local administration. You can search the Gazetteer for
Scotland using these divisions, and link from these to parishes. Counties and parishes
are particularly useful if your interests are in family history, because this is how
historical records are arranged. Bear in mind that the boundaries of both have changed
regularly throughout history. There were 34 counties until 1890, although the maps here
show the 33 counties as they were in 1951.
From 1996 the divisions of local administration became a series of unitary authorities called
Council Areas. (Between 1974 and 1996 a two-tier system of regions and districts had been used, but
this was abandoned in favour of a return to a single-level of local government). This system remains
in use today. You can search the Gazetteer for Scotland using these contemporary Council Areas, of
which there are 32. The boundaries of these new divisions are often markedly different from those
of the Old Counties, even where the names are similar.