Scottish records of births from 1913, marriages from 1938 and deaths from 1963 have gone online for the first time.
Almost 222,000 images of birth, marriage and death records are now available to family history researchers, including those of well-known people and unusual stories.
There were 38,716 marriages in 1938, including that between German circus performer and lion tamer Alfred Kaden, then 35, and Vera Hüsing (née Lüdtke), 25, the poet daughter of a German landowner. At the time a Glasgow newspaper described Hüsing as “vivacious, flaxen-haired and handsome” and said she had “won distinction by her poems and songs.”
The records show that in 1938, the average age for women to be married was 26.7 and for men was 29.7. In 2012, the average age for women was 34.8 and for men was 37.2, and there were 30,534 marriages.
In 1913 the population was 4,73 million and there were 120,516 births. By contrast, in 2012 there were 58,027 births and a total population of 5.31 million people.
The records also show the change in babies names over the past century. In 1913 only three baby girls were named Sophie, whereas 580 girls were registered with the name in 2012. Likewise, while in 1913 only three boys were called Jack, over 500 boys were named Jack in 2012. In 1913, the most popular names for baby girls were Mary, Annie and Agnes, and John, James, Robert and William for boys.
The newly-released images include entries for 65,521 deaths in 1963, which compares to 54,937 in 2012. The life expectancy of Scots has risen during the last 50 years, as the growing number of growing number of centenarians shows. In 1963, only 28 people died at or over the age of 100, but in 2012 the equivalent figure was 389, or almost 14 times as many people, and well ahead of the increase in Scotland’s population.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
“These new images, and the stories they tell about Scotland’s history, demonstrate the rich variety of information we have in our records.
“The new images of records being made available to the public from tomorrow (1st JANUARY 2014) represent a new chapter of Scotland’s story now available to the public. I’d urge anyone who is interested in finding out more about their history, or that of their family or the place where they live, to have a look at the wealth of records now available as part of our wonderful online resources.”
Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“The records that National Records of Scotland holds are crammed full of fascinating stories about Scotland’s people and history, and I know that people will find the latest additions to our online resources very useful for family history and other research. If someone out there recognises the story of the lion-tamer and the poet, we would delighted to learn what became of them.”
Annelies van den Belt, Chief Executive of DC Thomson Family History, who enable the ScotlandsPeople website for National Records of Scotland, said:
“We always enjoy the colourful personal stories that are revealed when the images for the statutory births, marriages and deaths records are added to the ScotlandsPeople website. In particular, we loved the story about the German poetess who married a lion tamer in Glasgow in January 1938.
“We also enjoyed finding out about the society weddings that took place the same year. We think many other fascinating stories will emerge when people start viewing these records.”
Alfred Kaden, a 35 year-old German circus performer, had specialised as a lion-tamer with lions, married Vera Hüsing in Glasgow on 5 January 1938. She was the daughter of Albert Lüdtke, a landowner, and Natalie Zielinski. The parties were both divorcees, and were married by declaration in a Glasgow lawyer’s office, under a licence of the Sheriff of Glasgow. One of the two witnesses at the marriage was John Smith Clarke, a radical politician and newspaper editor based in Glasgow, who had begun his career as a lion-tamer. On 10 December 1937, when travelling to Glasgow, Vera Hüsing escaped unscathed from the railway crash at Castlecary Station, in which 35 people were killed and 179 people were injured.
The digital images of the official statutory records are of birth, marriage and death records that were registered more than 100, 75 and 50 years ago.
The new images will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.