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James B Moir married under Warrant in Scotland ?!?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


loudoniii Report 30 Oct 2010 13:39

After James Brown Moir, was married on 5 Sep 1903 in Edinburgh to Margaret Meldrum, I can find no record of any sort about either James or Margaret, ie no children born and no death records.

I have checked the emigration records but no record of emigrating anywhere. Margaret has relatives who emigrated to New Jersey in the USA around 1930 but no record of James or Margaret emigrating at all.

My own anecdotal family history suggests that they worked together at the Lands Of Loyal Hotel in Alyth, Perthshire, Scotland, but no official records that I can find on Ancestry, FreeBMD, Scotland's People, etc.

Does anyone have any bright ideas on how I might progress from here please ?!?


loudoniii Report 30 Oct 2010 13:34

Thanks, mgnv ... good to know. Cheers, Paul


mgnv Report 17 Oct 2010 18:27

Thru 1929 (I think), a rego office marr was a religous ceremony in Scotland. If you wanted to avoid a religous ceremony for whatever reason, then a so-called irregular marr was your only option. In the 1920s, abt 15% of marrs were irregular. Irregular marrs were finally abolished in 2006.


loudoniii Report 17 Oct 2010 18:07

Thanks rootgatherer.. that is an interesting perspective on it, that helps. Best regards, Paul


loudoniii Report 17 Oct 2010 18:06

Thanks, Colin, appreciate it. Cheers, Paul


loudoniii Report 17 Oct 2010 18:06

Hi Flick ! thanks for all the useful info.. yes, on reflection, I should have googled first.. will do next time. Appreciate your help. Best wishes, Paul


rootgatherer Report 16 Oct 2010 14:16

Apart from either party being a divorcee it may just be that neither belonged to a church or they may have been different religions.


Flick Report 16 Oct 2010 13:42

Found by Googling........always worth trying first........

Census information Crown Copyright, from

Re: The Stigma of being illegitimate & female in 1800
« Reply #18 on: Saturday 14 August 10 13:39 BST (UK) »

In Scotland you will often see marriage under Warrant, which in my view was the womans recourse for when she found she was pregnant and the father would not automatically want to marry her, although he was part of the reason why she was in this way. Sometimes they could be arrested and marched to the church.

In other words.....a 'shotgun' wedding

However, someone disagreed with the above..................

Sorry but that is wrong.

Scots law recognised several forms of what became known as "irregular marriage" which continued into the 20th century. When civil registration came into being in 1855 several mechanisms were introduced to allow the registration of these marriages if the participants wished to do so. Marriage by Sheriff's Warrant was a pre cursor to the modern day marriage at a Registry Office - it simply meant that the participants had declared their marriage in one of the accepted forms (usually a declaration in front of witnesses) and then they had 90 days in which to present their proof of marriage to a local sheriff who, if satisfied that the marriage was genuine, issued a warrant "In Declarator" and the marriage could be registered in the normal fashion.

Suggest you google, and find out whatever info is available


loudoniii Report 16 Oct 2010 13:38

One my relatives, James Brown Moir, was married on 5 Sep 1903 in Edinburgh to Margaret Meldrum.

They were married Under Warrant, with the Marriage Certificate signed by the Sherriff Substitute of Lothian and Peebles. The note at the top of that column says, " "If a regular Marriage, Signatures of officiating Minister and Witnesses. If Irregular, Date of Convicton, Decree of Declarator, or Sheriff's Warrant."

Does this suggest that James Moir was a prisoner at the time of the marriage ? Or does being married Under Warrant have another meaning ?

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who knows what this means.

Best regards, Paul