One Stop Shopping for Scottish Genealogists

The website ScotlandsPeople, run by Brightsolid, has a multitude of government records you will not find anywhere else online. They say “it is the official Scottish genealogy resource.”

ScotlandsPeople has lately undergone a revamp and have now released the 1911 Scottish census.

It is a pay per view website but the rates are reasonable. The cost of 30 credits is 7 GBP. This is about $11.00 CDN at the current exchange rate. It costs one credit to view one index page which contains 25 entries. It then costs 5 credits to view an image. If the correct image is found right away that would cost you about $2.20 CDN for each image. It is free to register on the site.

You will find the Statutory Registers for births, marriages and deaths. The indexes for all the registers cover 1855 through 2006. The images for births can only be viewed up until 1910, the images for marriages up until 1935 and the images for deaths up until 1960. At New Year another years images are released for the registrations.

Statutory birth registrations for 1855 include information on the child (date, place and time of birth, full name, sex), the parent’s (names, maiden name of mother, father’s occupation, ages, birth places, usual residence, date and place of marriage) name of informant and the informant’s relationship to child. Also included is information on the child’s siblings. This proved too much information for the registrars so in 1856 they stopped asking for the details of the siblings as well as the parent’s ages, places of birth and date/place of their marriage. The marriage question was added again in 1861.

The information gathered for the marriage registration in 1855 included full name, age, marital status, occupation, usual residence, date/place of marriage, name/occupation of father, name/maiden name of mother, names of witnesses and officiating clergy. You can also find place of birth, number of former marriages of each spouse plus the number of children from each of those marriages. The birthplace and former marriage questions were stopped after 1855. They started asking the place of birth question again in 1972.

Death registrations for 1855 include the date, time and place of death, deceased’s name, sex, marital status, age and occupation, cause of death, duration of last illness, doctor’s name and details of the informant. The place of burial, name of the undertaker and last time the doctor saw the patient alive were included on registrations up until 1860. You will not find a place of birth or the names of any children after 1856. Between 1856 and 1861 you will not find the spouse’s name.

Register of Corrected Entries or RCE (after 1965 it was Register of Corrections, Etc.) refer to changes on registrations. If any changes were made to an entry after it had been completed a note would be made in the left or right hand margin of the register. They could not alter an original entry so the note was necessary. These corrections had to be approved by the sheriff. You can view copies of the RCE to registrations for the cost of 2 credits. Please read their section on help with RCE’s prior to viewing them.

Another record source is the Minor Records. These are records relating to birth, marriage or death for those Scots living outside of Scotland. These are great. I found a marriage in the late 1800s of a military person getting married in a Roman Catholic Church in Gibraltar in Malta. He was Protestant but was given dispensation to marry in the Catholic Church. Notes relating to this are found on the marriage entry.

You can search indexes and images for the Old Parish Registers. It must be noted that this is only for the Established Church of Scotland. Please check the Extant Records to see what areas and years are covered by the OPR’s.

These records can be minimal but you may come across some interesting information. You might get some of the following information for a birth/baptism: child’s name and baptism date, father’s name and occupation, mother’s name.

A bann/marriage record includes the name’s of the couple and place of residence, occupation of the groom, sometimes the name of the bride’s father. Marriage records in Scotland can be tricky especially with the Irregular Marriages. A marriage may have taken place with no official record of it recorded anywhere.

The death/burial records are very sparse. You must read the section on OPR death records that describes what years are available for each parish before you begin your search.

In the Catholic Parish Registers for Scotland you can find records dealing with: births/baptisms, marriages, confirmations, deaths/burials, communicants, sick calls, status animarum, converts, first confessions, and seat rentals.

These cover all parishes in Scotland that were in existence by 1855. About 700 registers have survived some as early as 1703 but most are within thirty years of the 1790s.

Census records can be found from 1841 through 1911. Each census year has its own criteria. In 1841 the ages were rounded up or down to the nearest 5, relationships to head of household were not given, birthplace was within county or not and occupations were recorded in an abbreviated format.

The 1851 census distinguished between households, family relationships to head of household were shown, a more detailed birth place was given, ages were recorded as given, marital status was asked and notations for blind, deaf or dumb were made.

The 1861 to 1901 censuses asked similar questions to the 1851 census. In 1911 there were additional questions asked: number of people in the household, marital status, duration of marriage, children born alive, children still living, industry or service with which the employee/employer is connected, nationality if born in foreign parts and whether they were totally deaf, deaf and dumb, totally blind, lunatic, imbecile or feeble minded.

You can search the Wills and Testaments for free but it costs you 5 GBP to view the image. You can find wills, inventories and other records related to probate.

There are sections on the website to help you with your research such as deciphering Scottish handwriting, a glossary of terms, and the way people lived. You can find out more under Research Tools. There are more suggestions under the Help section on ScotlandsPeople. You may feel like joining the Discussion and User Groups associated with ScotlandsPeople.

This weekend visit the website and see what you can find out about your Scottish ancestors.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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