Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


The Murkey World of Statutory Records

Dont know your Statutory Records from your Old Parish Records? Find out about the various record types and the sorts of information you can glean from each about your Scottish roots

There are various important records which a genealogist will come across during the course of their research. This is by far not a concise list as genealogical research can include Wills, Land registers, ship passenger lists etc. However, these are of grestest importance by far.

Statutory Records
Civil registration of briths, deaths and marriages did not start in Scotland until 1855, 18 years after England, however the Scottish certificates normally contain more information.

Birth Certificates contain date, place and time of birth; All given names of child; names of parents and occupation of father; date and place of parents’ marriage; informant’s name; usual address if different from place of birth; date of registration and name of registrar. district name and number; entry Number; .

Marriage Certificates contain Date and Place of Marriage; Name, Occupation, Address and Marital Status of both Bride and Groom; Names of Parents of both Bride and Groom and Fathers’ Occupations: Ages of Bride and Groom; According to Which Church the Wedding Took Place and Name of Clergyman Officiating; Names of Witnesses and sometimes Their Addresses; Date of Registration and Name of Registrar. District Name and Number; Entry Number;

Death Certificates contain Date, Time, Place and Cause of Death; Name of Doctor who certified Death; Name of Informant; Occupation of Deceased; Names of Parents, whether or not they are Deceased and Occupation of Father; Sometimes Name of Spouse but always Age and Marital Status; Date of Registration and Name of Registrar. District Name and Number;

Old Parish Registers (OPR’s)
The old parish registers, which were compiled by the Session Clerks of the individual parishes where a person lived, are the prime source of information prior to the start of Statutory Registration (i.e. Pre-1855). The amount of information for each event recorded in each parish is variable (depending on the individual Session Clerk who was preparing the records) and are sometimes barely legible and, to complicate matters further, some registers are missing altogether.

Census Returns
Cenuses have been taken every 10 years since 1841 and consist of a survey of every household. The information contained in the census returns gives, for each person staying at each individual address in Scotland on the night of the census, the following information:- name, age, Relationship to the head of household, occupation and place of birth. The latest Census Returns open to public access are those for 1891.

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