What’s available online and in the archives
Statutory death records
Births, marriages and deaths from 1855 can found on ScotlandsPeople ( scotlandspeople.
gov.uk) – a pay-per-view website. Modern certificates cannot be viewed online as there are restrictions of 100 years on births, 75 years on marriages and 50 years on deaths. For £15 per day you can look at all records by visiting the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh.
Old parish registers (OPRs)
These are also accessible in the ScotlandsPeople Centre or on its website. The Scottish Genealogy Society Library ( scotsgenealogy.com) in Edinburgh, has a full set of OPRs on microfilm. Members of the society can use the resources of the library for free, and non-members for a small charge.
Kirk session records
Kirk session records can be viewed in the Historical Search Room, National Records of Scotland ( NRS) in Edinburgh. Searchers require a reader’s ticket, so bring two forms of ID and two passport photos when you first visit. Access is free to these digitised records. For ScotlandsPeople Centre visitors, there is also a terminal in the Reid Room where kirk session records can be viewed.
Non-established kirk sessions
The NRS holds details of these records, most of which have also been digitised. It is worth consulting the online catalogue in advance: go to nrscotland.gov.uk then click ‘Research’.
Memorial inscription books
The Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS) has links to member societies on www.safhs.org.uk and you can see which burial ground each society has recorded. The website has a burial ground index allowing you to see where your ancestors might be buried. There are no inscriptions on this index, but there is information on the burial grounds listed, including where memorial inscriptions can be accessed.
Usually kept by a registrar or at a central point, often in a crematorium or cemetery complex. Call the council bereavement department (or similar) to find out where local records are. Lair registers show who bought the lair and who is interred, although this last detail is not always complete. Some records are on deceasedonline.com.
Newspaper death notices
The National Library of Scotland ( NLS) holds a large collection of Scottish newspapers and there is an online search facility of indexed newspapers at www.nls.uk. To find local newspapers, call the library headquarters for the region.
Up to 1925, these are available through the inhouse and online versions of ScotlandsPeople ( scotlandspeople.gov.uk) and it is possible to download the documents. For more recent testaments after 1925, a visit to the Historical Search Room of the NRS will be necessary.
These are also available through scotlands people.gov.uk.
Commonwealth War Graves
For information on servicemen killed in the world wars, including next of kin details and place of burial or commemoration are available at cwgc.org – it helps if you know the regiment or service number, but that is not essential.
Statutory death records can be viewed on ScotlandsPeople for a fee
Newspaper indexes featuring death notices are on the National Library of Scotland website