An ‘infant death’ is a death that occurs in the first year of life. More specifically, a ‘perinatal death’ is a stillbirth or a death in the first week of life. A death in the first four weeks of life is a ‘neonatal death’, and a ‘postneonatal death’ is one occurring between four weeks and one year of life.
Stillbirth is quite clearly defined nowadays, in the Still- Birth ( Definition) Act 1992, as a child born dead after the 24th week of pregnancy – see scotlandspeople.gov.uk for more on this. In Scotland, it is now mandatory to register a stillbirth (within 21 days, as with other births). Stillbirth records from 1939 are available from the National Records of Scotland, but only to the parents – and perhaps siblings, if they can prove their parents are deceased – the register is closed to the general public.
Prior to 1939, stillborn children would not have been registered – however, if a family owned a burial lair, it is quite common for the stillborn child to have been buried there and details will have been recorded in the lair register, if it can be found. For example, in the 1885 records of St Peter’s Cemetery, Aberdeen, the entry for 29 October 1885 on deceasedonline. com shows “stillborn child of John Brodie labourer, 13 Albion Street”.
DeceasedOnline is a subscription online site, covering the UK. To date, coverage for Scotland is patchy (discounting monumental inscriptions), but local authority primary source material (lair register scans) is available for Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Angus Council and Edinburgh Crematorium (the latter covering Seafield and Warriston Crematoria and Seafield Cemetery).