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Birth Certificates for Expats born in Colonies

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Janet Report 3 Mar 2018 19:58

Greetings from Cape Town. My grandfather (Alexander Munro Macdonald) was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) on 13th January 1903. HIs Scottish father had fought in the Boer War and afterwards taken up a position of Town Clerk there in 1900, instead of returning to Scotland. Birth registrations in those days were not compulsory in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and after a thorough search we can find no birth certificate. Only a baptism certificate. Alexander was sent back to Inverness to boarding school at Dollar Academy. I have been told that often expat parents used to register their children in their home country rather than in the colony which they were born in. Does anyone know how I can go about trying to find out if Alexander Munro Macdonald's birth was registered in Scotland or maybe England? His parents were John Macdonald and Mary Macdonald (nee Dougall). I appreciate your help.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 3 Mar 2018 20:09

You need Scotlands People website

It's not a subs site. Free to search but you need to purchase units to View the certs


lostmeboardname Report 3 Mar 2018 20:10

not the one you are looking for but do you think in some way this one is connected./

Name: Victor Alexander Munro Macdonald
Age: 3
Estimated birth year: abt 1898
Relationship: Son
Father's name: Henry Macdonald
Mother's name: Jane Ann Macdonald
Gender: Male
Where born: Elgin
Registration Number: 135
Registration district: Elgin
Civil Parish: Elgin
Town: Elgin
County: Moray
Address: High St 174
ED: 9
Household schedule number: 2
Roll: CSSCT1901_40
Household Members:
Name Age
Henry Macdonald 36
Jane Ann Macdonald 38
Sarah Ann Macdonald 14
Henry Macdonald 12
Jane Isabella Macdonald 9
Victor Alexander Munro Macdonald 3 >>>>>>>>>>
Ronald Hugh Gordon Macdonald 8 Mths
Katie Fraser 36
Ann Mcpherson 82
Source Citation

Parish: Elgin; ED: 9; Page: 1; Line: 9; Roll: CSSCT1901_40
Source Information

1901 Scotland Census

Original data: Scotland. 1901 Scotland Census. Reels 1-446. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Rambling Report 3 Mar 2018 20:16

? from search on Scotlandspeople

098/ 596


lostmeboardname Report 3 Mar 2018 20:17

Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960
Name: Alexander Munro Mcdonald
Event Date: 01 Jun 1944
Event Place: Pierce, Tacoma, Washington
Gender: Male
Age (Formatted): 55 years 8 months 1 day
Birth Year (Estimated): 1889


AnnCardiff Report 3 Mar 2018 21:03

Alexander M Mcdonald

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

Name Alexander M Mcdonald
Event Type Death
Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar
Registration Year 1962
Registration District Abingdon
County Berkshire
Event Place Abingdon, Berkshire, England
Age (available after 1866) 58
Birth Year (Estimated) 1904
Volume 6A
Page 10
Line Number 118


AnnCardiff Report 3 Mar 2018 21:04

Alexander M McDonald

New York, Northern Arrival Manifests

Name Alexander M McDonald
Event Type Immigration
Event Date 1943
Event Place New York, United States
Gender Male
Age 39
Birth Year (Estimated) 1904
Birthplace Glasgow Scotland


GlasgowLass Report 3 Mar 2018 22:09

His birth isn't on the foreign register but, I suspect the one Nyx located in Inverness may be the correct one.
Dollar Academy is in Stirlingshire and roughly 135miles from Inverness?


Janet Report 4 Mar 2018 09:56

Thank you Glasgowlass, Anne, Nyx, Shirley and others for your insight and information. I was so excited to follow up on that lead for the birth reference of Alexander Munro Macdonald in Sirling as it was the only record for his birth year of 1903. But after getting access to the record, I see that the parents names (Murdoch & Margaret) don't match that of my grandfather's which are John & Mary Macdonald (nee Dougall). It's disappointing, but such is life. And Glascowlass says that his birth is not showing on the foreign register, so with avenues in Zimbabwe and Scotland exhausted, I guess that this road has come to an end.

Just to address some of the other leads mentioned above: Alexander Macdonald finished his schooling in Stirling and then came to South African where he married a local scottish girl and worked as Bank Manager for Standard Bank for his entire life. He died in Cape Town in 1995, so those leads would not be applicable to him.


JoyLouise Report 4 Mar 2018 12:13

I am not at all sure that his birth would be registered elsewhere unless there is a Colonial Register that someone may know about. If there is such a thing, I would have thought registration would have been done through the capital city.

If you think it could have been done in England (or even Wales for any reason), you can register (free) and check the GRO for births and deaths for the period you mention; they give the mother's maiden name too. However, I've had a quick check for that year only and come up with nothing.

When he arrived for school in Stirling, do you think the family could have completed a late registration that could have been carried out in Stirling or Edinburgh?

If all else fails, perhaps his baptism may have been the requirement that the family was happy with.

For an outside chance, have you checked whether the birth was registered in South Africa?

Good luck. :-)