The availability of pre-1855 Scottish Death & Burial records on the internet is good news for amateur genealogists. However, the on-going difficulty lies in the fact that as there was no requirement to keep records of these events, the information to be found on most surviving registers illustrates that rarely were they accurately kept. Generally, all that can be found is a date, a name, and perhaps a mortcloth payment. In some cases, these records were entered in a monthly or even tri-monthly period, which means the date given may be very far from the actual date of death. In any event, there is nothing which will provide absolute proof that a given name is actually the ancestor one is trying to find.

There is one additional tool which is available and that is a Monumental Inscription. There may be cases where the paucity of information is equal to that given by any "official source", but, nevertheless, many stones marking family graves can provide what amounts to a "family tree" in miniature. They can give an insight into family relationships as children, their parents, and their grandparents are often to be found on the same headstone, together with dates & places of death. Frequently, the age at death is also given so a year of birth can be calculated. In this way, the researcher will find ancestors and their siblings whose existence may have been previously unknown. This, of course applies to any point in time, not just the period prior to 1855.


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