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Scotland's Statutory and Civil Records

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  • Statutory Records of Scotland

    The statutory records are those records mandated by law beginning in 1855, and include:

    • Births (1855-1902),
    • Deaths (1855-1952), and
    • Marriages (1855-1927).
      NOTE: As of 2003.  Each year the release dates for Statutory Records are  extended by one year.
       
  • Old Parish Registers (OPRs)

    The OPRs are the Church of Scotland Registers of Births (or more often Baptisms), Marriages (or more often Proclamations of Banns announcing a forthcoming marriage), Deaths and Burials. Approximately 3,500 OPRs survive, but these are far from complete. The oldest date from 1553 (Baptisms and Banns from Errol, Perthshire).  Some parishes only have registers from the early 19th century, and others have no registers at all. They generally cover the period up to 1854, though some go to 1856.  Births and Christenings, as well as Marriages and Proclamation of Banns, 1553-1854 are currently available.  Deaths and burials are expected to become available last quarter 2003.
     

  • 1841 Census

    The 1841 census was taken the night of 6 June 1841;the fifth decennial census of the population of Britain, but the first useful census to family historians, in that names of individuals within households were recorded, along with ages, occupations and places of birth.

    To reduce the risk of double entries or omissions, the enumeration was to be completed in a single day. To this end, Scotland was divided into enumeration districts, based largely on the existing parishes. Larger or more populous parishes were sub-divided to enable the enumerator to gather all his information within the day.

    Census enumerators were usually schoolmasters, who were deemed best equipped for the task. They distributed a questionnaire to every household in their district before census night, and collected the completed schedules the following day. They checked the details and copied them into an enumerator's book. These were checked by the Sheriff Substitute and then sent to the Registrar General's office in London. Current census information is derived from the enumerators' transcript books. The original schedules were destroyed.

  • 1851 Census

    The 1851 census was taken the night of 30 March 1851, under the jurisdiction of the Home Office, and organized by the sheriffs and chief magistrates. Census enumerators were appointed and distributed a schedule to every household before the census night, collecting the completed schedules the following day. Checking the details, they copied the schedules into an enumerator's book, from which the current census information derives. The original schedules were destroyed.

    The 1851 census contained more detailed information than the census of 1841:

    • Each household was given a schedule number, making it easier to determine the extent of each household.
    • The relationship to the head of the family was shown.
    • The age of each person was recorded, rather than being rounded down to the nearest 5 years.
    • The Birthplace column was more detailed; and included the place and parish of birth. Previously a person was either recorded as born in the county in which the census took place, or whether they were English, Irish or Foreign.
    • Marital status was given; whether married, single, widowed, or widower.
    • A column was added inquiring whether the person was blind, deaf, or Dumb.
  • 1861 Census

    The date of the 1861 census was the night of 7 April 1861, and was the first census conducted by the office of the Registrar General for Scotland, under the 1854 Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act. (The Scottish census of 1841 and 1851 was under the jurisdiction of the Home Office.

    The 1861 census utilized the registration districts and local registrars established by the 1854 Act. As with the previous census, enumerators were appointed and distributed the census schedule to every household in their area before census night. They then collected the completed schedules the following day; checked the details and copied them into an enumerator's book. They returned the book and the schedules to the local registrar who also checked them and forwarded them to the Census Office. The current census information derives from these enumerators' transcript books, since the original schedules were destroyed.

  • 1871 Census

    The 1871 census was conducted the night of 2 April 1871. There were no substantial changes in the schedule or form of the enumeration from that of the 1861 census.

  • 1881 Census

    The 1881 census was taken on 4th April 1881, and included the following information:
    Name: Surname and Forename(s), County and District, Address, Sex, Age,  Relation to head of family, Marital status, Birthplace, Rank, profession or occupation, Whether an employer, employed or working on own, Whether blind, deaf or dumb; Number of children of school age
    No. rooms with 1 or more windows
    Imbeciles, idiots or lunatics
    Scots Gaelic speakers
     

  • 1891 Census

    The 1891 census was taken the night of 5 April 1891, and included slightly more than 4 million Scots.  The census included the same information that was asked in 1881, namely:
    Name: Surname and Forename(s), County and District, Address, Sex, Age,  Relation to head of family, Marital status, Birthplace, Rank, profession or occupation, Whether an employer, employed or working on own, Whether blind, deaf or dumb; Number of children of school age
    No. rooms with 1 or more windows
    Imbeciles, idiots or lunatics
    Scots Gaelic speakers

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  • 1901 Census

    The 1901 census was taken the 31st of March 1901, and included slightly more than 4.5 million Scots.  The census included the same information as 1891, adding one additional question as to whether the individual worked in the home.

     

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Last updated: 12 Jul 2010