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Wednesday 22 February 2017

News: Birthday of the Bard - Robert Burns' birth record on show

Image of Robert Burns' birth and baptism entry, National Records of Scotland, OPR 578/4, p.17
National Records of Scotland, OPR 578/4, p.17

Birthday of the Bard - Robert Burns

The rarely-seen original parish register recording the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, is being specially displayed by the National Records of Scotland to mark the anniversary of his birth on 25th January 1759.

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 was born were living in the parish of Alloway, where the poet's birthplace still stands.

The poet's father had migrated south from his native Kincardineshire, where the family's name was spelled Burnes or Burness. According to Black's 'Surnames of Scotland' the Ayrshire pronunciation of the name led the poet and his brother Gilbert to adopt the spelling Burns in 1786.

The parish register is just one of the fascinating records about Robert Burns that are held in the National Records of Scotland. It will be on show at General Register House, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm, until 14 February 2013.

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