The General Register Office for Scotland is a non-ministerial department of the Scottish Executive that administers the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces and adoptions in Scotland. It is also responsible for the statutes relating to the formalities of marriage and conduct of civil marriage in Scotland. It administers the census of Scotland's population and the keeps the Scottish National Health Service Central Register.
Initially ministers of the Church of Scotland were responsible for keeping parish records of baptisms and marriages, but only for their own church members. Later the Privy Council of Scotland, following the suggestion of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland enacted that all parish ministers should keep a record of baptisms, burials and marriages. This situation continued until 1854 when Parliament passed an Act transferring responsibility to the State.
The Registration of Births created the General Registry Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages, headed by the Registrar General with the appointment of registrars in every parish. It also provided that the Registrar General should produce an annual report to be forwarded to the Home Secretary to be laid before Parliament containing a general abstract of the numbers of births, deaths and marriages registered during the previous year. The first general abstract (relating to 1855) was submitted in 1856.
Registrars General for Scotland
William Pitt Dundas was the first holder of the combined post of Deputy Clerk Register and Registrar General from September 1854 until April 1880. His successor, Roger Montgomerie, died six months after his appointment, and Mr Pitt Dundas resumed office for around a year, until the appointment of Sir Stair Agnew KCB. The last person to hold the combined posts was Sir James Patten McDougall KCB, in office from May 1909 to March 1919.
Originally, this was the supervision of birth, death and marriage registration. It was expanded to include the conduct of the 1861 Census and all subsequent ones (working closely with the Registrar General to ensure consistency) and other statistical functions.
In 1920 the Registrar General (Scotland) Act 1920 was passed which provided for the appointment by the Secretary of State for Scotland a whole-time Registrar General, Dr James Craufurd Dunlop, (previously Medical Superintendent of Statistics) was appointed.
List of Registrars General for Scotland
- William Pitt Dundas, 12 September 1854 - 28 April 1880
- Roger Montgomerie, 19 April 1880 - 25 October 1880
- William Pitt Dundas CB, 17 November 1880 - 12 January 1881
- Sir Stair Agnew KCB, 13 January 1881 - 30 April 1909
- Sir James Patten McDougall KCB, 1 May 1909 - 7 March 1919
- Dr James Craufurd Dunlop, 1 January 1921- 2 September 1930
- Andrew Froude ISO, 3 September 1930 - 14 February 1937
- James Gray Kyd CBE, 1 September 1937 - 30 November 1948
- Edmund Albert Hogan CBE, 1 December 1948 - 31 May 1959
- Alexander Burt Taylor CBE D Litt, 1 June 1959 - 4 September 1966
- James Allan Ford CB MC, September 1966 - September 1969
- Archibald L Rennie, October 1969 - 11 June 1973
- William Baird, 12 June 1973 - 3 August 1978
- Victor Colvin Stewart, 4 August 1978 - 12 April 1982
- Dr Charles Milne Glennie CBE, 13 April 1982 - 31 October 1994
- James Meldrum, 1 November 1994 - 21 February 1999
- John Randall, 22 February 1999 - 1 August 2003
- Duncan Macniven, 4 August 2003 - present
New Register House
New Register House, the main building of the General Register Office for Scotland, is close to the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh. It was designed by Robert Matheson, the Clerk of Works at the Office of Her Majesty's Works in Scotland. Initially, the General Registry Office had been located in General Register House, but on 30 March 1861 was moved to New Register House.
- Demographics of Scotland
- General Register Office (England and Wales)
- General Register Office for Northern Ireland
- General Register Office
- Registration of Births
- Official website
- Scotlands People - A genealogical research site administered by the GRO for Scotland
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