Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland

A guide to researching your ancestors in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, using resources at State Library Victoria.


Statutory registration became compulsory in Scotland in 1855, replacing the old system of registration by parishes of the Established Church (the Church of Scotland). Pre 1855 records are commonly known as the Old Parish Registers (OPR).

Access from home

Ordering certificates

You can order certificates online through ScotlandsPeople. On their FAQ page you will find information on how to order documents. Or you can order certificates by mail from the General Register Office of Scotland. To apply in writing go to their website and download the SU3 Form.

To protect the privacy of living persons there are cut-off dates for images of the record entries on the Internet of 100 years for births, 75 years for marriages and 50 years for deaths. For these records it is only possible to order an extract of the document.

For further information on Scottish records, including details on what you will find on the certificates, please go to the National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Birth, Death and Marriages website.