Monday, 30 March 2009

Scottish OPRs deaths and burials to go online Wednesday

The pre-1855 deaths listed within the OPR records, along with additional burial records held by the GROS, will be made online at the Scotland's People website ( on Wednesday 1st April. However, the records will not be going online at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh until much later in the year. From the Centre's website:

Users of the ScotlandsPeople Centre system will be aware that there have been problems with the system sometimes slowing down or even freezing due to overload issues. At the moment the system is cleared and re-booted each night to clear the memory but this is not a long term solution because some of the problems still persist. To sort our overload problem, our specialist computer staff need to alter the search facility and make it more efficient. This work should be complete by the Summer 2009. Whilst our IT staff are resolving these problems, there are no resources available to add these records to the system. One of the outcomes of the proposed system changes will that it will be possible to search for a marriage prior to 1929 using both the bride and groom’s name, which will be an improvement. Access to the microfilm for the Old Parish Register deaths and burials will continue to be made available to day search customers.

At this stage we can only say that we expect that the records should be available at the ScotlandsPeople Centre by December 2009.

Users should be aware however that it is possible to access the external Scotland's People website from a terminal at the Centre (via the Useful Websites link), meaning that it will be possible to do a search through these records for the time being, though not as a part of your £10 daily subscription - you will need to purchase credits for this.

UPDATE: Some additional info from the folk at ScotlandsPeople:

The Old Parish Registers are the records which the Church of Scotland kept of births and baptisms, banns and marriages and deaths and burials for the 300 years before the start of the civil registration system in 1855. When the office of Registrar General for Scotland was created in 1855, every parish in Scotland was required by law to deliver to the Registrar General all of its registers of births and baptisms, banns and marriages and deaths and burials up to and including those for 1855. The earliest surviving entries in the OPRs were created in the 16th century.

The OPR death/burial records include entries for some famous Scots such as:

Adam Smith [economist] (1790)

Sir Walter Scott [author & poet](1832)

William Brodie [Deacon Brodie executed on a gibbet of his own design] (1788)

Please note, there is no death or burial entry for Robert Burns (died 1796 in Dumfries). The parish register for Dumfries did not survive long enough for the Registrar General to take it into care in 1855 along with the other OPRs.

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