An obituary is what a newspaper or magazine prints about a person when he/she dies. If the person is rich or powerful or famous it will be longer that if they are ordinary. Princess Diana, to take a tragic example, had entire special editions of newspapers devoted to her. Most people in my little town get a paragraph or two on a back page. The obituary usually lists where and when the person died. It may also list where and when they were born, and any survivors. "Survivors" in this case means members of their family who are still living, not people in the same airplane who walked away after the crash.
I look up obituaries in my county library for people who live outsde the area. You can read an example of two at
I live in the US, not the UK, but I suspect obituaries are similar over there. You will probably be reading microfilm. I can read 7 - 10 days worth of a moderate sized newspaper on microfilm before I get seasick and have to quit. Your eyes may be better than mine, but you should have an exact date. Most obituaries come out 1 - 7 days after the person dies.
As a start, you might write to the city clerk in Edinburgh. Ask how you get copies of birth certificates. The clerk will either send you a form to fill out or tell you their office doesn't handle them and tell you who does. Many birth certificates list the mother and father's birthplace, or at least birth country and state/province. Sometimes they list the person's occupation, too. If you know what town he was living in when he died, again, write to the town clerk here about death certificates. (Unless the clerk in Edinburough tells you all birth, death and marriage data is in a central Scottish location.)
I'm working in the dark here; all of my expereince is in the US. If you live in or near a large town, they probably have a genealogical society, hich you can find in the telephone book, by doing an internet search, or asking at your local library. In my experience, most genealogists are more than happy to help newcomers to the hobby. You might attend a meeting. Someone there, assuming you are still in the UK, would know exactly how you should start.
Over here another resource are the volunteers in what are called Family History Centers in Mormon churches - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are unfailingly polite and do not try to convert you. In fact, in my experience, they don't talk about their beliefs unless you ask them a direct question. They let me use their facilities,and I don't even qualify as a Christian by many standards.
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