City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Genealogical Boost as Death Records No Longer Buried


By edg - Posted on 02 April 2009

General Register House - Princes Street, Edinburgh

Newly digitised records of famous Scots, including Adam Smith and Sir Walter Scott, have been made available online.

The digital images, on scotlandspeople.gov.uk, the official Government source of genealogical data for Scotland, are of deaths and burials contained in the Old Parish Registers of Scotland (OPRs).

The OPRs are the records which the Church of Scotland kept of births and baptisms, banns and marriages and deaths and burials for the 300 years before the start of the civil registration system in 1855.

As genealogists know, ScotlandsPeople website already contains the OPR entries for births/baptisms and banns/marriages. Now, in the year of Homecoming, the death/burial entries will complete the project to make all the OPRs of Scotland available on the internet.

The new images will enable family historians from across the world to trace their Scottish roots more easily. The deaths and burial records also include one-line, penned entries for some famous Scots such as:

When the office of Registrar General for Scotland was created in 1855, every parish in Scotland was required by law to deliver to the Registrar General all its registers of births and baptisms, banns and marriages and deaths and burials up to and including those for 1855. The earliest surviving entries in the OPRs were created in the 16th century.

There is no death or burial entry for Robert Burns (died 1796 in Dumfries). The parish register for Dumfries did not survive long enough for the Registrar General to take it into care in 1855 along with the other OPRs.

"Making available on the internet the images of the Old Parish Register burial and death records dating back to the 16th century marks the completion of the digitisation project begun by the General Register Office for Scotland in 2001," said Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland.

ScotlandsPeople holds digital images of Scottish records of births,
deaths and marriages dating back to 1553, the open census records from
1841 to 1901, wills and testaments from 1513 to 1901 and Coats of Arms
from 1672 to 1907."

Macniven says that more records will be digitised and placed online in the future.

Minister for Tourism Jim Mather said the increasing digitisation of Scottish records would be a boon to genealogists looking to trace their scottish roots. "The international
availability of these records allows the diaspora to discover their
family connections to Scotland and encourage them to walk on the land
of their forefathers."

Access to National Archive of Scotland physical documents is also available at General Register House and West Register House

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The Walter Scott record is a lot more effusive and his name writ large. No doubt a reflection of his popularity even in his lifetime.