Guides

Statutory registers

Search statutory registers

Search statutory registers

Background information

Record types

Digital images and certificates

How to search and understanding the content in the statutory registers

Background information

The statutory registers date from 1 January 1855 when civil registration was introduced in Scotland to replace the system overseen by the Church of Scotland (the Established Church). Registration of births, deaths and marriages became compulsory from that date, regardless of religious denomination, and followed a standard format for each record type. More information was required to register an event.

Statutory registers is the default record category in advanced search. It covers the following:

  • Statutory registers of births, deaths and marriages (from 1855)
  • Statutory registers of births, deaths and marriages overseas (from 1855) and civil partnerships (from 2008) - the Minor Records
  • Statutory register of divorces (from 1 May 1984)
  • Statutory register of civil partnerships (from 2005)
  • Statutory register of dissolutions of a civil partnership (from 2007)
  • Register of Corrected Entries (RCE)

If you do a quick people search with a year range including 1855 or later, your results will almost certainly include statutory register entries.

Record types

The statutory registers category includes the following record types:

  • Births - including the Minor Records and links to RCEs for births over 100 years
  • Deaths - including the Minor Records and links to RCEs for deaths over 50 years
  • Marriages - including the Minor Records and links to RCEs for marriages over 75 years
  • Divorces
  • Civil partnerships
  • Dissolutions

The search forms include tips for each field with links to more detailed research guides where appropriate.

Digital images and certificates

Search results include links to view image or order certificate. The digital images, which are of the original register pages, are restricted as follows for internet research:

  • 100 years for births
  • 75 years for marriages
  • 50 years for deaths

This is in accordance with the National Records of Scotland's policy of protecting the privacy of individuals.

If you require an official copy of a birth entry less than 100 years old, marriage entry less than 75 years old or death entry less than 50 years, go to certificate search. Further information is provided in certificates and copies.

How to search and understanding the content in the statutory registers

Register entries are indexed by personal name. Guidance about searching and interpreting content in register entries is provided on the following pages:

The birth, death and marriage guides include an overview of the relevant Minor Record registers and returns as well as examples from the Register of Corrected Entries which have the same cut-off dates as birth, death and marriage records for viewing images online.

There is further background information in the topic guides:

Some Old Parish Registers were kept after the introduction of civil registration and are worth checking if you cannot find a birth, death or marriage that should have taken place in early 1855. Further information is provided in the record guide church registers.