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Scottish: Old Parish Registers
Register (Fees/Dates)
Other Info
Before the introduction of Statutory Registration in Scotland, the most easily accessible source of information about our ancestors is the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) of the Church of Scotland.

This course will examine in detail the pleasures and pitfalls of the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) and the extent to which they survive. The various indexes to the OPRs and sources to find copies of the OPRs will be examined.

The course will cover the main categories of records for christenings, marriage banns and deaths; and will consider irregular marriages and discuss the major alternative sources for death records: local authority burial records and Monumental Inscriptions.

Course Content

Module 1
Old Parish Registers
About the Church in Scotland

Development of the OPRs
  • Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries
  • Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries

    Where Are the OPRs Held?
    Register of Neglected Entries
    What Records Survive? Why so few?
    About Parishes
    Potentially Confusing Parishes
    Glossary & Abbreviations

    Module 2

    Births & Baptisms
    Legislation Affecting Baptisms
    Information Given in Baptismal Registers
    Illegitimate Births
    Errors in Entries

    Names & Naming Patterns
  • Surnames & Variants
  • Spelling Variations
  • Common Surnames
  • Forenames & Variants
  • Abbreviations, Diminutives, Nicknames & Pet Names
  • Interchangeable Names
  • Anglicising Forenames
  • Ambiguous Names
  • Traditional Naming Patterns
  • Middle Names

    Module 3

    Banns & Marriages
    Legislation Affecting Marriage
    Regular Marriages

    Irregular & Clandestine Marriages
  • Marriage per verba de presenti
  • Marriage by Promise per verba de futuro subsequente copula
  • Irregular Marriages in the OPRs
  • Marriage by Cohabitation with Habit & Repute


    “Other” Marriages
  • Blotter or Scroll Marriages
  • Gretna Green or Border Marriages

    Prohibited Degrees of Relationship

    Module 4

    Deaths & Burials

    Legislation Affecting Burials & Deaths
  • Church Legislation


    Information Given in Burial Registers
  • Stillborn Children

    Alternative Sources for Death Records
  • Records of Burial Grounds
  • Body Snatchers

    Module 5

    How to Find the Records
    Introduction to Finding the Records

  • Historical Records
  • Digital Images


  • Searching the records
  • Viewing and downloading the records



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