Early change to Scotland death registration format

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billymac
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Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by billymac » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:40 am

What a pity the format of Scotland's death registration format changed so early in the beginning of registration.
I have a death registration of a male ancestor who died in the very first year of registration (1855).
That registration contains, in order; (1) name and occupation, (2) sex, (3) age, (4) location of birth and how long they lived in the district where they died, (5) parents names (including mother's maiden surname), (6) to whom married (including wife's maiden surname), (7) the deceased's children including names, age if still alive or year of birth if deceased, (8) time and date of death, (9) where they died, (10) cause of death and if medically certified, when the doctor last saw the deceased, (11) where the deceased was buried and by whom, (12) the informants name as well as 2 witnesses, and (13) the registrars name and when registered.
I mean Wow! --- what a wealth of information.
Sadly it does not seem to have lasted long. I have his wife's death registration just 3 years later (1858) and the then format, with the exception of including burial place is completely changed ----- the same as current images.
Incidentally, Australia's death registration format to this day is very much the same as the original Scotland registration requirements.
Regards,
Bill

AndrewP
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Re: Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by AndrewP » Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:02 am

Hi Bill,

The 1855 format was only there for that one year. It was found to be too onerous. The next version of the death certificate was for the short period 1856 to 1860. After that, the place of burial was removed from the certificate. The 1861 format was used with only minor layout changes until about 1970 when a new style of form was introduced. It was similar for birth and marriage certificates: 1855 is the bonus year for those looking at their family history in Scotland.

All the best,

AndrewP

billymac
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Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:12 pm
Location: NSW, Australia

Re: Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by billymac » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:15 am

Thank you Andrew for that information on the changes. After getting a couple of hundred images over the years I was quite surprised by the great amount of information in that one. It gave me quite a number of leads.
I have a birth from the same year (1855) on another line ---- it also contains additional information such as birth place of the parents and the child's birth sequence (in this case, the mother's 2nd child)

Currie
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Re: Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by Currie » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:15 pm

It would be interesting to learn who was the individual, or group of individuals, who found the 1855 system so onerous, Their picture would make a good background for a dart board.

It’s not likely to have been the informants, they do as they are told or they’re in trouble. The Registrars were just civil servants and should have done their job as directed. Maybe many of them were old and frail and couldn’t handle the weight of the double page registers.

The system was workable, as proved by the three east coast mainland Australian colonies that adopted, and kept, exactly the same system at about the same time. You can read all about it here. viewtopic.php?f=7&t=16733

I would like to see something from the period, something in the legislation, or the regulations, or the newspapers, or anywhere, which suggests the reason for the change. I’ve occasionally done a search for suchlike without any luck at all.

It seems strange to me that a system that had been so carefully considered and developed over many years could be so easily be changed within only twelve months. What was the rush? Was it given a fair trial? Was there a particularly powerful individual behind the pressure to change, maybe someone with something to hide? Was it someone south of the border trying to make their system look a little less rubbish?

There’s sure to be a conspiracy in there somewhere.

All the best,
Alan

WilmaM
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Re: Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by WilmaM » Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:32 pm

It would be interesting to learn who was the individual, or group of individuals, who found the 1855 system so onerous, Their picture would make a good background for a dart board.
Perhaps safer for their descendants if we never find out just who the guilty parties were - 'cause we would track them down!
A posse of angry genealogists would be a fearsome sight indeed. :cry:

AndrewP
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Re: Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by AndrewP » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:23 pm

An item relevant to this topic worth reading is on the NRS website:

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files/res ... om-jtb.pdf

Page 8 makes reference to the 1855 amendment to the original Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act (Scotland) 1854. That is the document that made official the reduction of information that was required for the BMD certificates from 1856.

All the best,

AndrewP

Currie
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Re: Early change to Scotland death registration format

Post by Currie » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:30 pm

Thanks Andrew, that sure makes interesting reading. The registrars were certainly a bit of a mixed bunch. Maybe too many of them spent too much time snooping around the place and not enough time actually recording informants information.

Actually there was nothing in the 1855 Legislation, or 1860, regarding the amount of information to be collected. In 1855 there’s much about examining the work of the registrars and getting rid of the incompetent. (note - www histpop has been throwing up a lot of "site busy" errors.)
1855 - http://www.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/Vie ... s&mno=4049
1860 - http://www.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/Vie ... s&mno=4052

Attached to the original 1854 legislation were the schedules, A for Births, B for Deaths, and C for Marriages which set out the information to be collected, and that was how it worked in 1855.
1854 - http://www.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/Vie ... s&mno=4048

But the Act also had this provision - Registrar General may alter Schedules.
LXXIV. It shall be lawful for the Registrar General, with the Consent of Her Majesty in Council, to diminish, from Time to Time, the Fees hereby authorized to be taken, and to alter the Schedules to this Act annexed, regard being always had to the Objects and Purposes of this Act, and to rendering the same more effectual; and such Alteration of Fees or Schedules shall be published in the Edinburgh Gazette, and shall within Fourteen Days after the same shall have been issued be laid before both Houses of Parliament, or if Parliament shall not be then sitting, within Fourteen Days after the meeting of the then next Session.

And that’s what happened, the Registrar-General, William Pitt Dundas, took what was possibly just the easy way out and changed the schedules.

And here’s the required entry in the Edinburgh Gazette, 21 August 1855, page 1024, with the new Schedule A for Births. (Much easier to read if PDF downloaded.) https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinburgh/ ... /page/1024

And the Edinburgh Gazette, 21 August 1855, page 1025, for the new Schedule B Deaths, and C Marriages.
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinburgh/ ... /page/1025


REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, DEATHS, AND MARRIAGES.

THE REGISTRAR-GENERAL of BIRTHS, DEATHS, and MARRIAGES hereby gives Notice that, under the authority of the 74th Section of the Act 17 and 18 Vict., c. 80, and with the consent of Her Majesty in Council, as set forth in the Order hereto subjoined, he has ALTERED the several SCHEDULES (A), (B), and (C), appended to the aforesaid Act, and that the AMENDED FORMS or SCHEDULES to be employed in the execution of the aforesaid Statute will take effect from and after the 1st of January 1856.
W. P. DUNDAS, Registrar-General.

At the Court at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, the 13th day of August 1855,
PRESENT,
The QUEEN’S Most Excellent Majesty in Council.
WHEREAS by an Act passed in the Session of Parliament held in the 17th and 18th years of Her Majesty's reign, intitaled ‘An Act to provide for the better Registration of Births, ‘Deaths, and Marriages in Scotland,’ it is enacted that it shall be lawful for the Registrar-General, with the consent of Her Majesty in Council, to diminish from time to time the Fees thereby authorised to be taken, and to alter the Schedules to the said Act annexed,—regard being always had to the objects and purposes of the said Act, and to rendering the same more effectual; and that such alteration of Fees and Schedules shall be published in the Edinburgh Gazette, and shall, within fourteen days after the same shall have been issued, be laid before both Houses of Parliament, or if Parliament shall not then be sitting, within fourteen days of the meeting of the then next Session;
And whereas the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Scotland has altered the Schedules (A), (B), and (C), to the said Act annexed, being the Forms for the Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, and the Schedules so altered have been laid before Her Majesty in Council;
Now therefore Her Majesty, by and with the advice of Her Privy Council, is pleased to declare, and doth hereby declare, Her consent to the said Schedules (copies whereof are hereunto annexed) so altered as aforesaid; and to order that the same be substituted for the Schedules marked (A), (B), and (C), annexed to the above-mentioned Act.
(Signed) Wm. L, BATHURST.


Much the same thing happened in 1860 with further changes to the schedules.
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinburgh/ ... /page/1079


So, in the absence of any other other names, I guess the most likely dart board candidate would be the Registrar-General, William Pitt Dundas. Unfortunately there’s not a photo of him to be found.

All the best,
Alan

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