Scottish Birth Certificate

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A Scottish birth certificate is one issued by either the local registry office or by the GROS, the General Register Office of Scotland. Any birth certificate issued by them is fully certified and official, and comes with the registers office embossed seal.

Scottish Civil registration started in 1855, as compared with England & Wales, which began in 1837. Prior to that date, Scotland had recorded births, marriages and deaths in the Parochial Registers since 1555, which were transcribed at the local parish and bann level. These registrations were registered by the Church of Scotland, at that point known as the Established Church.

However, since registration was not compulsory, a large number of events were never recorded officially.

All birth records from the date of 1855 onwards would be listed in the Statutory Births Index. This index is derived of the civil register of births throughout Scotland, and does not contain all information - for example, only the year of the event is listed, not the specific date. Nor are the names of the parents listed. However, both full date and parents' names would be present on a Scottish birth certificate.

In addition to the Statutory Birth Index, there are also records of events which took place outside of Scotland, but which involved Scottish people. These are known as Minor Records.

Minor Records include Foreign Returns, Marine Register and Service Returns.

Foreign Returns include the Register of Births in Foreign Countries, where the birth takes place overseas, but the parents are Scottish. Also available are Consular Returns.

Marine Register registers births which took place on merchant vessels which were at sea, and were British-registered. For the event to be registered in Scottish records, one parent of the child should normally have resided in Scotland.

Service Returns are the records of births which took place at military stations overseas, from Scottish parents.

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