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Marriage and Banns.

Three weddings and no funeral.

Notes on Scottish marriages:

  • Civil registration didn't start until 1st January 1855.
  • Scottish births and marriages (1855-1875) are available on the online International genealogical Index (IGI) at www.familysearch.org or at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.
  • Irregular marriages were legal in Scotland until 1st July 1940 and could be registered by obtaining a Justice of the Peace's or Sheriff's warrant. These show up in marriage certificates as marriage 'by declaration' or by 'warrant of sheriff substitute'.
  • Illegitimate children became automatically legitimate on their parent's marriage, provided the parents had been free to marry at the time of the child's birth.
  • Women never completely lose their maiden name on marriage. With the exception of 1856-1858, female deaths are indexed under their maiden and married surnames.
  • Before 1855 there was no pre-defined layout for a parish register. Entries may just give the name of the parent of a child being baptised, or the names of a couple marrying, but sometimes you will find a marriage entry giving the couple's names, addresses, occupations and parent's names. Less than 50% of parish registers contain death or burial entries.
  • Lots of people mistake baptismal date for birth date. The baptism is more likely to be registered in older records ? so don?t get caught out.
  • Scottish marriage certificates do not always show whether a parent was alive at the time of the marriage. Sometimes the name of the parent will have 'deceased' underneath. Don't rely on this as proof a parent was definitely alive at the time. The only guarantee is if a parent was a witness.


    Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as at the church in which you are to be married if that is another parish. Scottish Marriages did not have to be recorded until 1st January 1855, when civil registration was introduced. Prior to this date, the calling of banns was more important for the church records than the marriage.

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