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As well as the Church of Scotland, other Presbyterian churches in Scotland kept registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1716 onwards.
Of all the events recorded in church registers, those of deaths and burials are acknowledged to be the most sparsely kept.When you select a church, the drop-down list of counties and parishes/congregations will load on the search page and if you choose another church, it will take a second or two for the list of parishes/congregations for that church to load on the search page.Once you have carried out a search for one church, you can select another church in the filter on the results page and repeat the search for that church.As with other records, you might get the best results by doing a wide search first then narrowing down.So, for example, entering a forename and surname and county but not specifying a parish.The Old Parish Registers (OPRs) comprise the records of births and baptisms, banns and marriages and deaths and burials kept by individual parishes of the Established Church (Church of Scotland) before the introduction of civil registration in 1855.
The parish minister or the session clerk usually assumed responsibility for maintaining the registers, but since there was no standard format employed, record keeping varied enormously from parish to parish and also from year to year.
Bear in mind that the Church of Scotland parishes did not cover the same areas as Roman Catholic parishes and the parishes of other churches.
For further information about the content of these records see the National Records of Scotland's guide on Catholic parish registers.
In addition, rapid urbanisation during the 19th century contributed to the diminishing influence of the Church and a decrease in registration in these areas.
It was estimated at the time that as few as 30% of events actually occurring were being recorded for some urban parishes. However in a small number of districts the local registrar was not in place at the very beginning and therefore there are a small number of events that are recorded in Old Parish Registers but are not featured in our statutory records.
Registration in the Church of Scotland's registers was costly and unpopular, so many people did not bother to register events at all.