Birthdays - but which one?
One of the slightly unusual features of the Scottish system of statutory registration is the Register of Corrected Entries (now known as the Register of Corrections, Etc, or RCE). This allows for errors in original records to be corrected. In modern times, the RCE is a separate volume - the original register is not actually changed; instead a note is added in the margin, with a reference to the RCE.
While the RCE system only applies to statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths, as introduced in Scotland in 1855, it was clearly not without precedent, as the following entry from the Kirk Session of Barony, in Glasgow, shows:
31 October 1832
Several things stand out from this entry. Firstly, it shows that even contemporary, primary sources can be incorrect: although in this case, it seems that the clerk did change the original register, and a modern researcher would find the correct date (assuming the father was telling the truth). Secondly, you have to wonder how and why the father noticed the error, almost exactly 21 years after the event. Perhaps the children were involved in some legal matter that required them to be 21 years of age, possibly an inheritance. And thirdly, it also inadvertently offers a glimpse into family history as opposed to genealogy: Mary Ann and John were twins, but they were born 2 days apart, suggesting that their mother (unnamed in this entry, but she was Agnes Robertson) must have experienced a lengthy labour of at least 24 hours, more than 35 years before James Young Simpson pioneered the use of anaesthesia in childbirth.
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