IN­FANT DEATHS

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

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).

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