Burials from the parish registers of around 600 Scottish parishes have now been made available online.
The General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) has now added indexed images of all the burial records in the Scottish Old Parish Registers (OPRs) to the official Scottish Government family history website ScotlandsPeople.
Unfortunately, the Scottish parish registers were often not as well kept as we would wish. Many events were not recorded, particularly in the early 19th century (especially in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and the county of Sutherland).
Although an official instruction was given for the Church of Scotland to begin keeping parish registers in Scotland in 1553, only those of the parish of Erroll in south Perthshire begin in that year. In the Highlands and western islands, most parishes didn’t start keeping registers until the late 18th/early 19th centuries. The earliest registers of the seven parishes on the Isle of Skye, for example, are those of the town of Portree, which begin in 1800.
Unfortunately, around 300 of the 900+ Scottish parishes have no burial records whatsoever. Again, this applies particularly to the Highlands, although some parishes in the eastern, central and southern counties are also without a record of their burials.
The OPR burials are the latest of the main Scottish records to be added to the ScotlandsPeople site, which already provides access to images of the Scottish:
Statutory records (Civil registration/vital records)
- Births 1855-1908;
- Marriages 1855-1933;
- Deaths 1855-1958.
The birth and death indexes extend up to 2006, and the marriage index will be extended too in the fairly near future.
Old Parish Registers 1553-1854
- Marriages/Proclamations of Banns.
Census returns 1841-1901
Wills and inventories 1513-1901
Coats of arms 1672-1907
It’s expected that Roman Catholic records will be added to the site in the fairly near future. Records of Presbyterian churches that broke away from the main Church of Scotland are expected to be made available online in the next few years, as are land and Poor Law records.