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Re: [scots-origins] Re: Re. irregular marriages

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  • Ken Mathieson
    Hi all, This is a follow-up to Judy s detailed explanation posted on 1 Dec 2004, which I ve snipped to keep the thread manageable. Judy s explanation covers
    Message 1 of 26 , Dec 1, 2004
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      Hi all,

      This is a follow-up to Judy's detailed explanation posted on 1 Dec 2004,
      which I've snipped to keep the thread manageable. Judy's explanation covers
      the points admirably, but I would add that one major reason for getting a
      Sheriff's Warrant was to have indisputable documentary proof of marriage. In
      the days before the Welfare State system took responsibility for
      Unemployment Benefit, the provision of free Health Service etc, a family
      deprived of its source of regular income could be forced to fall back on the
      none too generous local civil or church provisions. In earlier times this
      could involve the dreaded workhouse, but at all times there was a very
      probing means test conducted by inspectors whose job it was to ensure
      malingerers were not rewarded. Being able to produce official proof of
      marriage established the legitimacy of the marriage and avoided a lot of
      embarassing questioning.

      Ken Mathieson,
      Uddingston, Lanarkshire
    • IACSCOTT@aol.com
      Judy The original reference to Dr Ian Grant and Alwyn James s book Scottish Roots was made by me and Evelyn quoted that response in a following message. If
      Message 2 of 26 , Dec 1, 2004
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        Judy

        The original reference to Dr Ian Grant and Alwyn James's book 'Scottish
        Roots' was made by me and Evelyn quoted that response in a following message. If
        you are going to make references to previous matter please make sure you go
        back to the source of the original reference within the thread.

        Ian A C Scott.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • IACSCOTT@aol.com
        In a message dated 01/12/2004 13:04:45 GMT Standard Time, Anne.Brennan@btinternet.com writes: Maybe it was THE place to have those marriages registered
        Message 3 of 26 , Dec 1, 2004
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          In a message dated 01/12/2004 13:04:45 GMT Standard Time,
          Anne.Brennan@... writes:

          Maybe it was THE place to have those marriages registered because of the
          presence of the Sheriff Officer's office. I'm not sure that there were many
          places where these existed.


          Hi

          The handbook produced by the Scottish Record Office (now the National
          Archives of Scotland) lists the Sheriff Courts at para 11.36. This list shows all
          the Sheriff Courts and from it one can see that all the counties had at least
          one and several more than that. Argyll has six and Lanark four with
          indications that these courts go back to the 17th century.

          At para 11.41 it states the sort of cases you may be seeking in the sheriff
          court records are actions for aliment, affiliation orders, registration of
          irregular marriages, small debt, workmen's compensation.

          At para 11.42 it states that actions for the registration of irregular
          marriages date after 1859 and are unlikely to provide information additional to
          that found in the official registers of marriages.

          From that I would take it that one could quite reasonably expect to find
          irregular marriages registered anywhere over the length and breadth of the
          country.

          Ian A C Scott


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • judyphilip2003
          Evelyn, Words are powerful, are they not! It was, I take it, clergy of the Established Church of Scotland who, in distant times, introduced the loaded word
          Message 4 of 26 , Dec 2, 2004
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            Evelyn,

            Words are powerful, are they not!

            It was, I take it, clergy of the Established Church of Scotland who,
            in distant times, introduced the loaded word "irregular" to describe,
            in the OPRs, marriages (binding) entered into without the 'benefit'
            (or payment) of clergy. Just as, in the same way, they used cruel
            phrases like "begotten in fornication", etc. And then, if they
            could, dragged the 'sinners' (especially the females) before the Kirk
            Sessions for public shaming and humiliation (nice, eh!). Well, I
            guess it wasn't all that long ago that they burned so-called
            witches ...

            But we are not talking about those days when discussing the 1893
            marriage which you raised.

            Nevertheless, and sad to say, that word "irregular" - to describe non-
            religious marriages - did continue to be used into those times and
            later.

            It has thus placed a totally unjustified stigma on so very many of
            our recent, proper, law-abiding ancestors who entered into formal
            (though secular) marriages in Scotland before 1940. These were
            marriages which were officially recognised and (more often than not)
            officially registered. It is depressing to think that one little
            word could be responsible for so much misunderstanding ...

            I do very much wish that I could find somewhere a detailed
            description of one of these "irregular" marriages in the first 40 (39
            1/2!) years of the 1900s - or even in the last 55 years of the 1800s!

            Surely there must be people who hold letters, or diaries, with
            detailed descriptions of such marriages - especially marriages
            which were undertaken by mutual declaration in the Office of the
            Sheriff, which were immediately granted a Warrant of Sheriff, and
            which were - on the same day - officially registered by the Registrar
            (after which, no doubt, the parties more often than not went off to a
            normal wedding reception).

            Indeed, there are no doubt people still living who could tell the
            story - if someone married thus at (say) age 20 in 1939, he/she would
            now be in his/her late 80s. I've searched the Web but can't find
            anything unfortunately.

            Judy
            japhilip(at)ozemail(dot)com(dot)au
          • judyphilip2003
            I posted again on this subject but my post did not appear. My post basically blamed the blinkered early (OPR) Ministers of the Established Church of Scotland
            Message 5 of 26 , Dec 4, 2004
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              I posted again on this subject but my post did not appear.

              My post basically blamed the blinkered early (OPR) Ministers of the
              Established Church of Scotland for the introduction, and thus the
              ongoing use (in later times), of the loaded word "irregular"
              about legal Scottish marriages. This was not so dissimilar to other,
              more common,loaded words like "fornication" etc in relation to the
              birth of innocent babes - over which (like non-church marriages)
              church officers seemed to salivate. This discrimination continued
              into the time of Statutory Registration where "illegimate" remained
              a "stigma" (and, more importantly, a hurdle to inheritance) for
              innocent babes. Marriage = property!

              I stressed that marriages "by declaration", attested by Warrants
              of Sheriff, and formally Registered (often all on the same day and
              perhaps in the same place), were a commonplace, and were of course an
              official and legal, secular form of marriage, after-1855 (especially
              in later years of the 19th century) and in the 20th century pre-1940
              (when the 1939 Scotland Marriage Act came into force).

              There are posts on SO dated Wednesday (I replied to one fairly
              promptly - Wednesday or Thursday your time? I'm 10 1/2 hours ahead
              of UK time) and there are posts dated Friday - but none dated
              Thursday.

              What happened to Thursday's posts??

              Judy
              japhilip(at)ozemail(dot)com(dot)au
            • snapl2002
              Hello Andrew, According to the marriage extract, my grandparents were married by declaration, 1921 JUNE 3 at Municipal Buildings Stirling, by Warrant of
              Message 6 of 26 , Dec 5, 2004
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                Hello Andrew,

                According to the marriage extract, my grandparents were married by
                declaration,
                1921 JUNE 3 at Municipal Buildings Stirling, by Warrant of Sheriff
                Substitute of
                Stirling, Dunbarton, and Clackmannan, 1921 JUNE 3.

                The Municipal Buildings at Stirling would have been quite new in 1921
                and look like a
                lovely place to get married. According to GROS, it was not unusual
                for the
                Declaration, Warrant of Sheriff and Registration to occur on the same
                date.

                All the best,
                Laura Napl
              • judyphilip2003
                ... Jings, crivens and help ma boab! As Snoopy might say - Good grief, Ian A C Scott! If you so need to be given credit on this group for being the very first
                Message 7 of 26 , Dec 7, 2004
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                  --- In scots-origins@yahoogroups.com, IACSCOTT@a... wrote:
                  > Judy
                  > The original reference to Dr Ian Grant and Alwyn James's
                  > book 'Scottish Roots' was made by me and Evelyn quoted that
                  > response in a following message. If you are going to make
                  > references to previous matter please make sure you go back to the
                  > source of the original reference within the thread.
                  > Ian A C Scott.

                  Jings, crivens and help ma boab!

                  As Snoopy might say - Good grief, Ian A C Scott! If you so need to
                  be given credit on this group for being the very first one to quote
                  from a particular book(!), I am only too happy to give it to you with
                  generous open hands and the greatest of pleasure!

                  As it happens, Evelyn didn't refer to you - and whether it was a
                  quote or not (quotation marks at end but not at beginning) was
                  unclear (obviously I'd not read, or recalled, your post - and
                  there seem to be a couple of threads going though I'm not all that
                  familiar with SO).

                  A Google for:
                  "Dr Ian Grant" + irregular
                  then found a fascinating post on the Lanark List from the year 2000 -
                  which I will now quote in full as it may well be of general interest
                  on this thread (or both threads!).

                  *START OF QUOTE FROM POST ON THE ROOTSWEB LANARK LIST, 10 FEB 2000*
                  Here's some information I found in one of my books
                  regarding "Irregular Marriages" p. 178 - APPENDIX III
                  "Up until 1940, Scotland had a distinctive form of marriage, known
                  rather imprecisely as an irregular marriage. This, the so-called
                  Gretna Green marriage which lured panting English lovers north of the
                  Border pursued by greybeard kinsmen brandishing swords, was a
                  perfectly acceptable alternative to the conventional church wedding,
                  involving instead a declaration in front of witnesses or before a
                  sheriff. The epithet "irregular" should not lead you to believe that
                  it was illegal or second-rate (it wasn't), or that it was indulged in
                  by a small minority: Dr. Ian Grant pointed out to me that in checking
                  through the first 200 marriages in Glasgow Blythswood for 1904, he
                  counted 81, more than 40 per cent, which were marriages by
                  declaration."

                  The book is "Scottish Roots" by Alwyn James, ISBN 0-88289-802-7. It's
                  delightful. Instead of being dry and professional like Kathleen Cory,
                  Alwyn cheerily takes the reader by the hand as he leads his tour
                  through Scottish records and research. He's definitely one of us
                  (although he's Welsh :).
                  Chapters in the book are:
                  At Home - info on working with living relatives, how to prepare for a
                  visit to the New Register house, etc...
                  New Register House
                  Scottish Record Office
                  The Libraries
                  On Location
                  The Folk Museums
                  Doing it From a Distance
                  Getting it Down
                  Audrey Ann Bennett
                  Audrey_Ann@...
                  Bellevue, Washington USA
                  (near Seattle, home of Starbucks, Pearl Jam, Boeing, and Microsoft)
                  *END OF QUOTE FROM ROOTSWEB LANARK LIST 10 FEB 2000*

                  Before this thread (or these threads!) started here on SO, I had been
                  researching the topic of irregular marriage in more recent times (pre
                  1940 when civil marriage by Registrars was legalised) myself.

                  I very much hope that there are people out there who hold (and will
                  share with us) letters, or diaries, with detailed descriptions of
                  such marriages (or even who were participants!) - especially of
                  marriages which were undertaken by mutual declaration in the Office
                  of the Sheriff (probably using forms drawn up by the Sheriff), which
                  were immediately granted a Warrant of Sheriff, and which were (on the
                  same day) officially registered by the Registrar (after which, no
                  doubt, the parties more often than not went off to a normal wedding
                  reception).

                  Ian A C Scott, please feel absolutely free to take all and every
                  credit for your reference to the James book and to anything else in
                  future - and I do hope that your blood pressure has now returned to
                  normal : )

                  Judy in Adelaide
                  PS: Anne Brennan, what you and your colleagues and registrars and
                  marriage celebrants (an even more recent innovation in Scotland
                  though we've had them here in Australia for a long time) do and
                  charge today is interesting - but the question is what were church
                  charges and secular charges (I guess these could refer only to any
                  charges levied by the Sheriff given that the actual marriage i.e. the
                  declaration in front of witnesses would of course have been free, and
                  presumably registration of the marriage also?) in the pre-1940 days
                  in Scotland to which Rosemary referred.
                • IACSCOTT@aol.com
                  In a message dated 08/12/2004 13:14:04 GMT Standard Time, judyphilip2003@yahoo.com.au writes: As Snoopy might say - Good grief, Ian A C Scott! If you so need
                  Message 8 of 26 , Dec 8, 2004
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                    In a message dated 08/12/2004 13:14:04 GMT Standard Time,
                    judyphilip2003@... writes:

                    As Snoopy might say - Good grief, Ian A C Scott! If you so need to
                    be given credit on this group for being the very first one to quote
                    from a particular book(!), I am only too happy to give it to you with
                    generous open hands and the greatest of pleasure!



                    No, Judy, I do not require to be given credit for anything I quote whether
                    that be as a result of research or otherwise as i am quite happy to be of
                    assistance where and when I can. However I posted my message to correct what I
                    saw was an error in your post which ended with the following:

                    I'd be more than happy to discuss this matter further on or off list
                    if anyone has specific interests. But please note that I do wish to
                    be cited if my research on the subject of marriages is used elsewhere
                    (no, dear Evelyn, that doesn't mean you - I am referring
                    to 'professional' or 'amatuer professional' genealogists).

                    Seems you want to be cited and given credit!!

                    Ian A C Scott


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • CHRIS PATON
                    hahaa - brilliant shot sir..! And you can quote me on that...!!!! ... From: To: Sent: 08 December 2004 13:49
                    Message 9 of 26 , Dec 8, 2004
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                      hahaa - brilliant shot sir..!

                      And you can quote me on that...!!!!

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: <IACSCOTT@...>
                      To: <scots-origins@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: 08 December 2004 13:49 PM
                      Subject: Re: [scots-origins] Re: Re. irregular marriages


                      >
                      >
                      > In a message dated 08/12/2004 13:14:04 GMT Standard Time,
                      > judyphilip2003@... writes:
                      >
                      > As Snoopy might say - Good grief, Ian A C Scott! If you so need to
                      > be given credit on this group for being the very first one to quote
                      > from a particular book(!), I am only too happy to give it to you with
                      > generous open hands and the greatest of pleasure!
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > No, Judy, I do not require to be given credit for anything I quote whether
                      > that be as a result of research or otherwise as i am quite happy to be of
                      > assistance where and when I can. However I posted my message to correct
                      > what I
                      > saw was an error in your post which ended with the following:
                      >
                      > I'd be more than happy to discuss this matter further on or off list
                      > if anyone has specific interests. But please note that I do wish to
                      > be cited if my research on the subject of marriages is used elsewhere
                      > (no, dear Evelyn, that doesn't mean you - I am referring
                      > to 'professional' or 'amatuer professional' genealogists).
                      >
                      > Seems you want to be cited and given credit!!
                      >
                      > Ian A C Scott
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > -------------------------------------------------------
                      > This message comes from the Scots Origins Discussion Group, sponsored by
                      > Scots Origins (www.scotsorigins.com). The group has been set up so that
                      > members can share genealogical information about Scotland, to reply send
                      > an email to scots-origins@yahoogroups.com
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                    • davidwwebster75
                      Someone from Australia wrote, on the subject of irregular marriages (brought to my notice by several very concerned posters)...... QUOTE My post basically
                      Message 10 of 26 , Dec 8, 2004
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                        Someone from Australia wrote, on the subject of irregular marriages
                        (brought to my notice by several very concerned posters)......

                        QUOTE
                        My post basically blamed the blinkered early (OPR) Ministers of the
                        Established Church of Scotland for the introduction, and thus the
                        ongoing use (in later times), of the loaded word "irregular"
                        about legal Scottish marriages. This was not so dissimilar to
                        other, more common,loaded words like "fornication" etc in relation
                        to the birth of innocent babes - over which (like non-church
                        marriages) church officers seemed to salivate. This discrimination
                        continued into the time of Statutory Registration where "illegimate"
                        remained a "stigma" (and, more importantly, a hurdle to inheritance)
                        for innocent babes. Marriage = property!
                        ENDQUOTE

                        I highlight the section of that para as follows....

                        "This discrimination continued into the time of Statutory
                        Registration where "illegimate" remained a "stigma" (and, more
                        importantly, a hurdle to inheritance) for innocent babes. Marriage
                        = property!"

                        And can only comment, what utterly completely erroneous nonsense !!

                        Illegitimacy was in no way a hurdle to inheritance in Scotland of
                        property, moveable or buildings/land (separate processes involved
                        until comparatively recently), as the subsequent marriage of the
                        parents (as long as they were free to marry at the time of the
                        birth) automatically legitimated the birth, regardless of whether
                        the said marriage was regular or "irregular".

                        Even where there was no such subsequent marriage, in Scottish law,
                        as opposed to English law, such illegitimate issue, at various eras,
                        did have certain rights. Perhaps our Australian poster might like
                        to enlarge on this subject.

                        In terms of inheritance for a person whose birth was originally
                        registered as illegimate, be that a confirmation or service of
                        heirs, there is not and never has been any requirement for there to
                        have been a regularisation of the birth by means of a process of
                        Declarator in a Sheriff Court, or the Court of Session, or via a
                        Justice of the Peace prosecution (less expensive!), prior to the
                        death of the person concerned; but it would always have been
                        necessary had the confirmation or service of heirs process been
                        challenged for it to be demonstrated that the subequent marriage had
                        indeed taken place, - a simple matter of demonstrating the existence
                        of the statutory register marriage entry, or, at that point, seeking
                        a Declarator from the Court of Session.

                        To state or infer otherwise, is, as I state above, utterly
                        completely erroneous nonsense.

                        As stated above, Scottish law is and always has been that the
                        subsequent marriage of the parents, as long as they were free to
                        marry at the time of the birth of the child involved, automatically
                        legimates/legimated the child concerned.........

                        In the case where the parents weren't free to marry at the time of
                        the birth in question, the puir wee wain in question was/is, in
                        Scottish Law, an "adulterine bastard"!!

                        I await with interest advice from our Australian poster of the
                        rights in Scottish law of adulterine bastards !!

                        David
                      • judyphilip2003
                        ... Hiya Ian, Re my own research, as anyone on the receiving end knows I m happy for people to use it for free and unacknowledged - I was just having a go at
                        Message 11 of 26 , Dec 8, 2004
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                          --- In scots-origins@yahoogroups.com, IACSCOTT@a... wrote:
                          > Seems you want to be cited and given credit!!
                          Hiya Ian,

                          Re my own research, as anyone on the receiving end knows I'm happy
                          for people to use it for free and unacknowledged - I was just 'having
                          a go' at those little-minded people (nothing to do with you - they
                          should, but probably don't, know who they are) who, having failed to
                          do their own research, then seek detailed information gratis from
                          others and use it without acknowledgement in lectures, books, etc for
                          which they are paid. A bit gross!

                          BUt as for recognition of who first partially quoted from a source -
                          puh-lease! Why are you so hung up about this!

                          Glad to see your blood pressure seems to have gone down a bit!

                          You take care!

                          Judy
                        • Ava Connelly
                          I agree, just came in from work, don t need my mail box full of someone s ego - words fail me. Ava ... -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by
                          Message 12 of 26 , Dec 8, 2004
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                            I agree, just came in from work, don't need my mail box full of
                            someone's ego - words fail me.

                            Ava

                            CHRIS PATON wrote:

                            >hahaa - brilliant shot sir..!
                            >
                            >And you can quote me on that...!!!!
                            >
                            >----- Original Message -----
                            >From: <IACSCOTT@...>
                            >To: <scots-origins@yahoogroups.com>
                            >Sent: 08 December 2004 13:49 PM
                            >Subject: Re: [scots-origins] Re: Re. irregular marriages
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >>In a message dated 08/12/2004 13:14:04 GMT Standard Time,
                            >>judyphilip2003@... writes:
                            >>
                            >>As Snoopy might say - Good grief, Ian A C Scott! If you so need to
                            >>be given credit on this group for being the very first one to quote
                            >>from a particular book(!), I am only too happy to give it to you with
                            >>generous open hands and the greatest of pleasure!
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>No, Judy, I do not require to be given credit for anything I quote whether
                            >>that be as a result of research or otherwise as i am quite happy to be of
                            >>assistance where and when I can. However I posted my message to correct
                            >>what I
                            >>saw was an error in your post which ended with the following:
                            >>
                            >>I'd be more than happy to discuss this matter further on or off list
                            >>if anyone has specific interests. But please note that I do wish to
                            >>be cited if my research on the subject of marriages is used elsewhere
                            >>(no, dear Evelyn, that doesn't mean you - I am referring
                            >>to 'professional' or 'amatuer professional' genealogists).
                            >>
                            >>Seems you want to be cited and given credit!!
                            >>
                            >>Ian A C Scott
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>-------------------------------------------------------
                            >>This message comes from the Scots Origins Discussion Group, sponsored by
                            >>Scots Origins (www.scotsorigins.com). The group has been set up so that
                            >>members can share genealogical information about Scotland, to reply send
                            >>an email to scots-origins@yahoogroups.com
                            >>
                            >>To unsubscribe send a blank email to:
                            >>scots-origins-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            >>Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >>
                            >>
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                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >>
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >-------------------------------------------------------
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