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Records of Death and Burial
  Records relating to death and burial in Scottish archives are used by a wide variety of researchers, including genealogists, social historians, demographers, and medical historians. For further historical background on the subject of death and disposal of the dead, see the entry on Death and Burial. Registration of death by civil authorities began in Scotland in 1855. From then until the present it has been mandatory for deaths of individuals to be registered with civil registrars. Prior to 1855, apart from the Church of Scotland, very few corporate bodies were interested in recording deaths per se, and records of burials or some other aspect of death, such as succession to property after death, are more common.

 

 

Civil Registers of Death
Registration of death by civil authorities began in Scotland in 1855, when Scotland was divided into registration districts, each supposed to record all births, marriages and deaths therein. For more information about post-1855 civil registers of death and how to search for these online go to either the General Register Office website or the Scotlandís People website.

Other records of death and burial
Prior to 1855 the principal source of information about deaths in Scotland is the collection of Old Parish Registers (OPRs) of baptisms, marriages and burials held by the General Register Office for Scotland. There are limitations to these. Firstly they were compiled by Church of Scotland parishes, and so do not record the deaths of members of many other churches. Secondly, in many cases the registers are of burials not deaths, and, in addition to a date of burial, these may or may not give a date and cause of death. Thirdly, for various reasons, registers of death and burial suffered from poor record keeping much more than corresponding registers of baptisms and marriages. For more information about OPRs and how to search for these online go to either the General Register Office website or the Scotlandís People website.

For other death and burial records see below:
Burial and death registers of other protestant churches
Death registers of Catholic churches
Procurators Fiscal records and Fatal Accident Enquiries
Records of municipal and private cemeteries
Hospital registers of death
Mortcloths
Monumental inscriptions
Records of undertakers and monumental masons

Other related SCAN Knowledge Base entries
Death and Burial
Graverobbing


     

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was a mortcloth?

2. Where should I look for information about, or records of, mortcloths?

3. What was a mortsafe?

4. What was a morthouse?

5. What was a watch box?

6. Where should I look for information about, or records of, mortsafes, morthouses or watch boxes?

7. Where should I look for information about, or records of, churchyard watching societies?

8. Do records of coronersí inquests survive in Scotland?

9. What is a bill of mortality?



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