National Records of Scotland

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Scots at the Start of Two World Wars: Birth, Death and Marriage Records Released Today

Scots at the Start of Two World Wars: Birth, Death and Marriage Records Released Today

Thursday, 1 Jan 2015
Detail of recruitment poster featuring Lord Kitchener by Alfred Leete, 1914.

The new online release of births, marriages and deaths by the National Records of Scotland today reveal how patriotism gripped parents of babies in 1914, and how the outbreak of war in 1939 prompted couples to marry.

Among the 123,394 births in 1914 we found 21 boys given the first or middle name of Kitchener after Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War. Field Marshal Lord Kitchener’s face adorned the famous recruiting posters at the outbreak of war in August 1914. He was responsible for increasing the British Army from six regular and fourteen divisions to seventy divisions by the creation of the ‘New Armies’ named after him. Other children were named Jellicoe after Admiral John Jellicoe, Commander of the Fleet and, from 1916, First Sea Lord.

The 46,257 marriage records released this year date from 1939. When Britain declared war on Germany, there was surge in the number of marriages in Scotland, as young couples rushed to wed before the men were posted overseas. There were 7,541 more than in 1938 - the second-highest number of marriages recorded by that date in Scotland.

Every year on 1 January new data collected by the Registrar General for Scotland becomes available to the public via the ScotlandsPeople website, at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Alloa, Hawick and Inverness. The statutory registers are opened to the public in line with the falling away of specific closure periods: 100 years for birth records, 75 years for marriage records and 50 years for death records.

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“We know that the latest additions to our online resources on ScotlandsPeople will be very useful for family history and other researchers, particularly as the registers for 1914 contain information about Scots at the start of the First World War”.