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Help with Scotland birth records

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Flip Report 4 Jun 2014 19:07

Just want to say thanks for the information and help provided. The person I was looking for was deceased, and I was trying to trace his family, but I've now traced them and given closure to his relatives.

And no, I am not an heir-hunter :-D Had other reasons for doing this research.


rootgatherer Report 7 Sep 2013 12:26

The Mitchell Library in Glasgow also has a Family History Centre. I think you can look at recent BMDs there too but check it out first..

At the Scotlandspeople Centre in Edinburgh you can book in for a 2 hour starter session. I am not sure how much that costs but a full day researching only costs £15. You can take prinouts of recent events but you can view them and take notes. I use blank templates that I made - just to make sure I don't miss any of the details on the original entry.

Have a look here for info about The Mitchell Library


Flip Report 6 Sep 2013 18:11

Thanks rootgatherer - didn't even realise you could research in person - I'll check out the address for the Scotlandspeople Centre as my work sometimes takes me to Edinburgh and Glasgow.


rootgatherer Report 5 Sep 2013 11:18

The death may have been registered in the area that the informant lived rather than the area that deceased lived.

In the 50s and 60s the "overspill" programme for Glasgow was in full flow. Many families were removed from central Glasgow, not just to outlying areas of the City but also to "New Towns" such as East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Glenrothes (Fife).

Having Watsons in my family tree, I appreciate the difficulty researching such a common Scottish name.

It may be worth watching for someone offering lookups at the Scotlandspeople Centre. From memory, I think that the mother's maiden surname is listed on the indexes (for the period that you need) when researching in person.


Flip Report 4 Sep 2013 19:26

So, if I'm reading this right there is no way to check for births using surname and mmn in Scotland around the time I need?

They don't make it easy do they? Guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board on this one then, but don't know what else to check. If anyone has any bright ideas I would appreciate them, as the only thing I can think of at the moment is to get the mother's death certificate to see if the informant was a relative. (I came up with one possible death when I put in her name and maiden name, in Scotland but not in the Glasgow area).


Flip Report 4 Sep 2013 18:38

Really sorry for not getting back on the thread, my internet connection and phone line have had a fault which has just been fixed.

Many thanks for all the information, I had looked at the help files but didn't find them that helpful!

I was looking for fairly recent records, as I have a marriage cert from 1957 and the birth cert for a son in 1960, was trying to find out if I could check for siblings using surname and mmn as we can do in the English records. Trouble is, the father's surname is fairly common (Watson) but mmn was not, and they were from the Glasgow area so there are just too many births to check out.

Thanks again for the help. :-)


ArgyllGran Report 3 Sep 2013 18:04

Hi, Flip -
You asked about searching births on ScotlandsPeople using mms.

You can't search using mms for the Statutory Registers 1855 - 2012, but you can for pre-1855 births and baptisms, although many of the old records only give the father's name.
You can also enter mms if searching the Catholic Births & Baptisms, 1703 -1992.


mgnv Report 2 Sep 2013 16:49

It's always worth checking out the collections at:®ion=UNITED_KINGDOM_IRELAND

In this case, there are 2 of interest:
1) Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
The coverage is pretty good but incomplete thru 1875ish - nothing much later.
My g gran had 9 kids - the youngest 6 are here:

1881 Scotland Census Transcription
Registration District:ABERDOUR

JOSEPH MASSIE 48 Aberdour Head M Ag Lab
ISABELLA MASSIE 16 Tyrie Daughter Labs Daur
BARBRA MASSIE 11 Aberdour Daughter Scholar
MARY MASSIE 9 Aberdour Daughter Scholar
WILLIAM B MASSIE 7 Aberdour Son Scholar
CATHERINE MASSIE 5 Aberdour Daughter
MAY MASSIE 3 Aberdour Daughter

FS lists the older 7, but misses Catherine & May - one can just search by mother's name - Elizabeth Cowie here, but there's too many hits - adding the child's surname pops the 7 hits almost to the top. The exact cut-off varies by parish.

The other collection of interest is marrs
2) Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910

Here's a look up of Robert Slessor, my g grandad's uncle:

Robert Slessor
Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910
marriage: 14 December 1850 Cruden,Aberdeen,Scotland
spouse: Jane Arthur

Robert Slessor
Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910
marriage: 19 December 1850 Ellon,Aberdeen,Scotland
spouse: Jane Arthur

As you might guess from the double entry with differing dates, this collection doesn't distinguish between marrs and banns pre-1855
To know which was the marr, one usually guesses the later date, or the bride's home parish (Ellon here)

The FS collections also include various censuses - but when you look up someone, all you see is their details, and no mention of who else is in the h/h (with 2 exceptions). This makes them pretty useless, as there's no free image except maybe in FS centres.
The 2 exceptions are England/Wales 1871/81 - I've never checked out the Channel Isles nor Isle of Man, but their censuses are mixed in with England/Wales.


ErikaH Report 2 Sep 2013 15:47

Have you read the site's 'help' section?

One should always do so when using a site for the first time......................


BatMansDaughter Report 2 Sep 2013 15:21

The statutory registers comprise the official records of births, marriages and deaths in Scotland from 1 January 1855 when civil registration replaced the old system of registration by parishes of the Established Church (Church of Scotland). From 1855, registration became compulsory, regardless of religious denomination, and followed a standard format for each record type. More information was required in order to register an event, particularly at the start of the new system.

1855 birth records were very detailed and are a boon to the family historian. In addition to details about the child (date, place and time of birth, full name, sex), the parents' names (including maiden surname of mother), father's occupation, name of informant and relationship to child, an 1855 birth certificate also contains information on siblings, the ages and birthplaces of both parents, their usual residence and the date and place of their marriage. Such detail proved difficult to sustain and entries were modified from 1856. Information on siblings was removed, as were ages and birthplaces of parents and date and place of parents' marriage. In birth certificates since 1861 however, the date and place of the parents' marriage was reinstated.

Example of an 1855 births image

See Images for a detailed breakdown of the information you can expect to find on statutory birth entries in any given year.

Statutory Births Index
The statutory births index contains entries from the indexes to the civil registers of births for all Scotland, from 1855 until 2009.

The index does not include:
- the full date of the event because only the year was captured when the indexes were compiled, although the full date is present on register entries themselves.
-the parents' names, but these are present on register entries themselves.

Images of Statutory Births
Images of statutory births from 1855 to 1910 are available to view on this site. A digital image is a scan of the microfiche copy of the original register page containing the entry in which you are interested. It therefore contains the same information you would normally see when looking at the actual record. Images are Crown copyright; however, they are not official copies. If you wish to have a certified, legally admissible copy of the specific register entry in which you are interested, you will need to order an extract. See Extract Orders

Example of a statutory births image

You may occasionally come across records with a note in the left margin 'RCE' or 'Reg. Cor. Ent.' followed by a volume number, page number and date. RCE stands for Register of Corrected Entries, or, from 1965, Register of Corrections,Etc. If, after an entry in a register had been completed, an error was discovered or some other amendment was required as a result of new information, the original entry could not be altered. Instead, each registrar kept a register of corrected entries in which such amendments were written, originally after they had been approved by a sheriff. Corrections might be to name, residence, identity, or as a result of a sheriff's finding in a paternity case, with the father's name being added as directed by the sheriff, or as a result of an illegitimate child being legitimised by its parents' subsequent marriage. When an extract certificate is issued of an entry to which an RCE relates, the extract must reflect the amendments recorded in the RCE.

Images of RCEs are now available here on ScotlandsPeople. Please read the help on RCEs before viewing them.

The following is an example of an RCE relating to a name change in a birth entry:
Birth entry showing RCE reference in left margin

Use the information from a statutory births entry to further your search. The parents' names, and date and place of marriage details (1855 entries and those from 1861 onwards) can help you to find the parent's marriage. Bear in mind that parents did not have to prove the date of their marriage prior to registering the birth of a child, therefore it is not unusual for the date of marriage to be incorrect, either by accident or by design e.g. to conceal an illegitimacy. Use the addresses shown to confirm census details, and to track the family in the earlier census returns.

The Minor Records
The minor records comprise records of births, deaths and marriages of Scottish persons outside Scotland. The following indexes to births in the minor records are available on this site:

Air Register (from 1948) records births on UK registered aircraft anywhere in the world, where it appears that one of the childs parents was usually resident in Scotland.
Consular Returns (from 1914) comprise registrations of birth by British consuls relating to persons of Scottish descent or birth.
Foreign Returns (1860-1965) Register of Births in Foreign Countries, which comprises births of children of Scottish parentage, based on evidence submitted by the parents and due consideration of such evidence.
High Commission Returns (from 1964) relate to the returns of children born of Scottish descent in certain Commonwealth countries.
Marine Register (from 1855) records births on British-registered merchant vessels at sea, where it appears that one of the child's parents was usually resident in Scotland.
Service Returns (from 1881) include Army Returns of births of Scottish persons at military stations abroad (1881-1959) and Service Departments Registers (from 1959) incorporating births outside the United Kingdom of children of Scottish residents serving in or employed by HM forces.

To search the minor records indexes for births, go to the statutory births search form and select Minor Records from the Counties/City/Minor Records drop-down list. The screen will refresh with the available minor records displayed in the District drop-down list.

Images of Minor Record births are available here on ScotlandsPeople up to 1910. For index entries after 1910, you may wish to order an extract to see the full details of the register entry. See Extracts for more information.


BatMansDaughter Report 2 Sep 2013 15:16

Hi Flip,

I'm pretty sure that if you check their info it gives what you can use and what you can't.

I'll log on and see what I find.


Flip Report 2 Sep 2013 14:10

Hi all,

I have never really tried to research in Scotland before, but know I'll need credits for Scotlands people. Took a look at the site and I'm trying to search for births, but it doesn't seem to allow me to search using mmn as it does in England. Am I doing something wrong??

Thanks in advance