September 6, 2006

Scottish deaths 1747-1868

The relatively new service World Vital Records has loaded a database of Scottish death records from 1747 to 1868. Here's an example result: Name: Saunders, Mary Relative: Saunders, John (father) Death Date: 13 Feb 1841 Cause of Death: measles Parish: Dunfermline County: Fife Country: Scotland Each result is accompanied by a clear explanation of the data source (parish records) and a map showing the location (courtesy of Google). The map is a handy feature, though for most purposes I would prefer an old map showing parish boundaries rather than a modern one showing the Forth Road Bridge (not built until 1964). A quibble with the source explanation: since the data come from parish records, I suspect the dates are for burials, not deaths. At 13,585 records, this database must represent only a tiny fraction of the burials in Scotland's parish registers, but it's a start, and it's free. The official pay-per-view site ScotlandsPeople, which used to say that complete indexed images of the old parish registers (OPRs) were coming shortly, now says that "unfortunately the digitisation . . . is proving to be a mammoth and difficult undertaking." The availability chart at ScotlandsPeople now just says "No" under "Deaths & Burials: OPRs", with no due date. That's a shame. Thanks to Everton's Genealogy Blog for alerting me to this news.

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