Saturday, 2 January 2016

ScotlandsPeople's annual records update

The annual ScotlandsPeople records update has taken place, with birth records from 1915, marriage records from 1940, and death records from 1965, all now accessible at

The marriage records from 1940 include marriages as performed by Scottish based registrars for the first time. Unlike England and Wales, where civil marriage was possible upon the advent of civil registration in 1837, the same was not true in Scotland upon the introduction of registration here in 1855. This was because irregular marriage was perfectly valid in Scotland at the time (England's Hardwicke Act of 1753, abolishing the practice there, had no remit in Scotland), with the most popular form being marriage by declaration, which involved the exchange of consent between prospective spouses before witnesses, and with no celebrant. All forms of irregular marriage, with the exception of marriage by habit and repute, were abolished by the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939 - marriage by habit and repute was later eventually abolished in 2006, thanks to the Family (Scotland) Act of that year. It is worth bearing in mind that although most marriages from 1940 will be recorded on ScotlandsPeople, those by habit and repute may not have been registered - something equally worth noting for all forms of irregular marriages between 1855 and 1940, which did not require to be registered.

For more on the latest ScotlandsPeople release, visit the National Records of Scotland article at, whilst for more on the various forms of irregular marriage, their eventual abolition and the requirements for their voluntary registration, please consult my book Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records, details of which can be found via the Books section at the top of this blog.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit My Pinterest account is at

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