What Information Will I Discover In A Scottish Marriage Certificate ?

Posted on Friday, 10 Feb 2017 by Chris


Civil registration began in Scotland in 1855 and this year was the first and finest of all the subsequent years. The amount of information requested in the certificates was astonishing and it was decided that the difficulties of obtaining in every case, these very full details made it impracticable.

Under the Scottish Registration Act of 1854, every couple marrying regularly had to fill up a Marriage Schedule, have it signed by the officiating minister and the witnesses to the marriage, and send it within three days to the registrar of the parish where the marriage took place. Since in the early days some couples were illiterate, or had difficulty filling in the schedule, the minister could fill it in for them, and check the details, but there was no legal compulsion on him to do this properly, and some ministers were slow, or careless, about their duties.  




  • Date
  • Where : Sometimes a church, manse, hotel or the house of the bride
  • What form : prior to 1978 performed after Banns by Church of Scotland, Free Church, Episcopal Church in Scotland, Roman Catholic, Irregular or by licence,  etc)
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Signatures of both bride and groom
  • Usual residences
  • Age
  • Rank: bachelor, spinster, widow, widower and profession
  • Relationship of parties if related
  • Marital status
  • Parents’ names including maiden surname of mother, additional married names if remarried, rank, profession or occupation
  • If parents of bride and groom are deceased
  • If a regular marriage
  • Signatures of officiating minister
  • Witnesses
  • If irregular marriage, the date of the extract, conviction or decree of declaratory and in what court pronounced.
  • The date, place of registration and signature of Registrar

Scottish Marriage Certificate


The additional information on the 1855 Scottish marriage record is :

  • The present address of the couple if different to their usual addresses.
  • If either or both of the couple were widowed, whether this was their second or third marriage
  • The number of living and dead children of the marriage partners by each of the former marriages
  • The birthplaces of the couple and when and where their births were registered.

If the bride or groom could not write, their X was witnessed by the signature of the Registrar.

From 1922 onwards, the words ‘or divorced’ are added to the marital status and the birthplace of an individual was restored from 1972 onwards.