The original parish register recording the birth of Robert Burns is being specially displayed by the National Records of Scotland to mark the anniversary of his birth on January 25, 1759.
It’s the first time in many years that the rarely-seen record has been publicly displayed. The register is just one of a number of records about Robert Burns that are held in the National Records of Scotland.
Burns was the eldest child of William Burnes, a gardener and tenant farmer from Kincardineshire, and his wife, Agnes Brown, of Maybole parish, Ayrshire. They met in 1756, were married in December 1757, and when their first child Robert was born they were living in the parish of Alloway.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:
“It’s fitting that this record should be on display, to commemorate our national poet’s birth and to coincide with the many celebrations taking place across the country as part of Burns Night.
“It’s an excellent example of the rich resources that the National Records of Scotland hold for everyone with Scottish heritage or an interest in our history.
“Visiting the public display of Burns’ baptism record is not only an opportunity to view this fascinating document but also a chance for visitors to discover the facilities available so that they may connect with their own family’s past.”
Audrey Robertson, Acting Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“We are delighted to mark the anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth by giving the public a special opportunity to see the original parish register. It is just one of several important historical documents in the National Records of Scotland that record the life and legacy of our national poet.”
The parish register is now on display at General Register House, Edinburgh Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm, until February 14, 2013.
In 2011, the General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland merged to become the National Records of Scotland.