Scotland Births - What else you can try
This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find birth information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the birth section of the Scotland Guided Research page.
Additional online resources
Additional Databases and Online Resources
- 1553-1855: Church Registers - Births and Baptisms at ScotlandsPeople (free to search, $ to view image)
- 1855-1917: Statutory Register of Births at ScotlandsPeople (free to search, $ to view image)
- 1564-1950: Scotland Births & Baptisms at FindMyPast ($)
- 1571-1997: Scotland, Extracted Parish Records at Ancestry ($)
ScotlandsPeople ($) is the premiere website for Scotland birth records. The site requires the user to register in order to search the index for free. It costs a small fee to view any image. ScotlandsPeople is the only site with the images to Scotland church and vital records; all other sites only have indexes to these records. The FamilySearch Catalog has some of these records available online as digital images.
Additional Records with Birth Information
Substitute records may contain information about more than one event and are used when records for an event are not available. Records that are used to substitute for birth events may not have been created at the time of the birth. The accuracy of the record is contingent upon when the information was recorded. Search for information in multiple substitute records to confirm the accuracy of these records.
|Use these substitute records to locate birth information about your ancestor:|
|Why to search the records|
|Go back to the Scotland Guided Research page, and click on "Death". Death registers (after 1855) may include the deceased individual's birth date or age at death, suggesting an approximate birth date by subtracting the age from the death date.|
|Monumental or tombstone inscriptions and records created when a deceased individual was interred in a cemetery. May include the deceased individual's birth date or age.|
|Census records from 1841 onward give the age and birthplace of the recorded individuals, allowing researchers to discover birth places and calculate birth years. Click to search the 1901 Scotland Census ($).|
|Death and burial parish registers may include age at death, allowing researchers to calculate approximate birth years. However, usually only the name and date of death are listed.|
|Roman Catholic and other nonconformist churches, such as the Presbyterian Church, also have birth and baptism parish registers.|
|May contain birth and death notices and even obituaries. Death notices and obituaries may list the deceased's birth date or age.|
|Military records, after 1707, generally include the birth place and age of the individual, allowing researchers to calculate the approximate birth year.|
|May contain birth place and age, allowing researchers to calculate approximate birth years.|
Tips for finding births
Successfully finding birth records in online databases depends on a few key points. Try the following search suggestions:
- Spelling variations. Your ancestor's name may be misspelled. Search with spelling variations for the first and last name of your ancestor.
- Search parents. Search for the parents, if known, as the child's first name may not be on the birth record.
- Search given name. Search by given name (leave out the last name) with the approximate date of birth.
- Add information. For common names, add more information to narrow the search such as approximate birth date or parent's names if known.
- Date range. Expand the date range of the search by 5 years.
- Search place. Search using the county or parish name (if known). Go to Finding the Scotland County of Origin to learn how to find the county.
Why the record may not exist
Known Record Gaps
Mandatory birth registration started in 1855. Before this, birth and baptisms can be found in church records (mainly the Church of Scotland or Roman Catholic Church). Although the oldest baptism registers date to 1553, many churches only have records starting in the 18th or early 19th century. While parishes were required to record baptisms and marriages beginning in 1552, many parishes did not comply with the requirement until much later.
Some church records may have been lost or destroyed, although more specific information is not known. Civil registration records are generally complete.