Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

23/8/2007

What proportion of contemporary events came to be recorded in the OPRs?

Gauging the level of inaccuracy/omission in the OPRs and putting an all-Scotland figure on it, is well-nigh impossible, particularly now that we are so far removed from the events themselves. The level of registrations varied from period to period. There are a lot of contemporary accounts, particularly in the Old Statistical Account of Scotland published in the late 18th century, that made frequent references to the unsatisfactory state of the parish registers. The principal causes attributed were i) the ‘negligence’ of people, particularly the Dissenters, and ii) the provisions of the Act of 1783 (23 Geo.III c.67). This Act is believed to have contributed more than any other cause to the imperfect state of the registers. Under this statute, a stamp-duty of 3 old pence was imposed upon the registered entry of every Scottish burial, marriage, birth and christening. Ministers and session clerks were empowered to demand the duty. Refusal to pay rendered people liable to a penalty of five pounds. Needless to say it was very unpopular, and it is alleged that whole parishes, and even some counties (Sutherland), ceased maintaining registers entirely. for more click here

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