The Old Parish Records (OPRs) are a collection of baptisms, marriages and burials that were kept by the Presbyterian Church. They cover the years 1553 through 1854, although there are more records covering later years. These records are not 100% complete and only represent records for the Church of Scotland, which had been the recognized national church since 1690.
As there were no set standards, information varies from parish to parish. A stamp act charged three pence per entry from 1783-1794, causing many baptisms, marriages or burials to go unrecorded. Also, some families were baptized together long after their birth dates, so a distinction needs to be made when recording these events.
When statutory registration began on 1 January 1855, the parish registers were considered closed. To aid late recordings in these registers, a method was instituted. According to ScotlandsPeople, “The Registers of Neglected entries records births, deaths and marriages proved to have occurred in Scotland between 31 December 1800 and 1 January 1855 but were not entered into the Old Parish Registers.” The proof documents were processed through the appropriate Sheriff Courts resulting in a warrant issued to the Registrar General to record the event. These additional registers have been placed with the original parish registers.
ScotlandsPeople has examples of these records on their website. A portion of their example reads:
“Registered this 17th day of November 1888 on the authority of a relation warrant by David Gillespie, Esquire, Advocate, Sheriff Substitute of the Counties of Fife and Kinross dated 2nd November 1885.”
This 1885 entry recorded the birth of Robert MacGregor on 14 Sep 1842 along with the names of his parents.
As a genealogist, it would be interesting to trace the paperwork behind these entries as they may provide additional family information that could perhaps solve some brick walls. These records are intermixed with the original OPRs and are “only recognizable by the different wording as seen in the sample above of an original record.”
For more information on the Old Parish Records, see the “Researching Your Scottish Ancestry Before 1855” article in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.