ABERDEEN-L ArchivesArchiver > ABERDEEN > 2011-10 > 1319616819
From: Gavin Bell <>
Subject: Re: [ABERDEEN] Birth and Christening dates
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:13:42 +0100
Donald S. Merson wrote:
>If you have a Parish Register notation as follows “ 17 Apr 1772 John Doe and Mary Roe in town had a son baptised and named Tom” does this mean that the birth and christening dates are the same?
>Some Parish Register notations have separate birth and Christening dates.
It is not safe to assume anything about the date of birth from the above
entry. While most baptisms will have followed fairly soon after the
birth, there are any number of reasons which might have prevented this
(illness, bad weather, absence of Minister, etc). From the Kirk's point
of view, the important date was the occasion when the child joined the
congregation by baptism. The date of the physical birth was, from the
ecclesiastical viewpoint, relatively unimportant.
There was also very little central oversight or supervision of the
Parish Registers, so different parishes did things differently. There
was an attempt to tighten things up in 1820, but this was only partially
successful, which is why free, compulsory Civil Registration was
introduced in 1855.