- Getting Started
- Statutory Records 1855-Present
- Old Parish Registers 1553-1854
- Catholic Parish Registers
- Register of Neglected Entries 1801-1854
- Census Records up to 1911
- Miscellaneous Records
- Wills and Testaments 1513-1925
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- Coats of Arms 1672-1910
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- Visiting Scotland
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Statutory Records 1855-Present
Statutory Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths 1855 to present
The ScotlandsPeople centre provides access to indexes and digital images of all Scotland"s Statutory records from 1855 to the present year. These include Birth, Marriage and Death records.
What are Statutory Records?
In 1854 an Act of parliament was passed which sought to
"provide for the better registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Scotland"
It had long been recognised that the old system of Parish registration of births, deaths and marriages, administered by the Church of Scotland, was totally inadequate and failed to meet the needs of an increasingly industrial and urbanised Scotland in the mid 19th century.
The new system of registration which was brought into effect from January 1st 1855 was compulsory for everyone and just as importantly free. It sought to standardise registration throughout Scotland and produce accurate and complete records of everyone who was born, married and died in Scotland.
The Act also provided for the provision of a building to house these registers and this led to the creation of New Register House in 1861.
New Register House, built in 1861 to house Statutory records of Births, Marriages and Deaths
The post of Registrar General was also created as were local registrars whose job it was to collect the information throughout Scotland. The country was divided up into registration districts. These districts were normally along the lines of the existing parishes with the local registrars usually being a local person deemed trustworthy and responsible such as a schoolteacher or session clerk.
To prevent registers getting lost two copies were kept, one locally and one was sent to the Registrar General in Edinburgh and examiners were appointed to make sure a good standard of record keeping was maintained.
For the first time there were financial penalties for late registration and anyone guilty of providing false information could be imprisoned or sent to a penal colony!