|Portrait of Mary Bella|
It took me awhile to find my great grandmothers birth record because I was searching with the name she used on her marriage record "Mary Bella Watson", which gave her fathers names as "James Watson" both the 1871 and 1881 census show her as Mary Watson as well. I finally tried searching the birth records using just one parents name at a time. When I used just the mothers name I was able to find the birth record at last. The birth record above shows that her name is actually "Mary Isabella Imlay" and under her name is the word Illegitimate . The following article from The University of Glasgow helps explain why the name Watson does not appear on her birth record.
"The mother was responsible for reporting the birth of an illegitimate baby, and the father's name could not be recorded unless he accompanied her to the registrar's office and declared himself willing to have his name on the register, or a court had already decided that he was the father and liable to maintain the baby. The word 'illegitimate' was firmly recorded against these entries in the register, .Scots law, unlike English law, made a child born out of wedlock legitimate if the parents married after the birth. The registrar had to make a note of this beside the original entry in the birth register, together with the date of the marriage. But the law was strict about adultery. Children born of an adulterous relationship could not become legitimate, even if their parents married when free to do so"