The statutory registers comprise the official records of births, marriages and deaths in Scotland from 1 January 1855 when civil registration replaced the old system of registration by parishes of the Established Church (Church of Scotland). From 1855, registration became compulsory, regardless of religious denomination, and followed a standard format for each record type. More information was required in order to register an event, particularly at the start of the new system.
1855 marriage records give full name, age, marital status, occupation, usual residence, date and place of marriage, name and occupation of father, name and maiden name of mother, and names of witnesses and the officiating clergy. They also include the birthplace and number of former marriages of each spouse (plus the number of children by those marriages). Birthplaces and previous marriage details were dropped after 1855, but the former was restored from 1972.
Example of an 1855 marriage image
See Images for a detailed breakdown of the information you can expect to find on statutory marriage entries in any given year.
Statutory Marriages Index
The statutory marriages index contains entries from the the civil registers of marriages for all Scotland, from 1855 until 2012.
The index does not include the full date of the event, because only the year was captured when the indexes were compiled, although the full date is present on register entries themselves.
Images of Statutory Marriages
Images of statutory marriages from 1855 to 1938 are available to view on this site. A digital image is a scan of the microfiche copy of the original register page containing the entry in which you are interested. It therefore contains the same information you would normally see when looking at the actual record. Images are Crown copyright; however, they are not official copies. If you wish to have a certified, legally admissible copy of the specific register entry in which you are interested, you will need to order an extract. See Extract Orders in Customer Information.
Example of a statutory marriage image
You may occasionally come across records with a note in the left margin 'RCE' or 'Reg. Cor. Ent.' followed by a volume number, page number and date. RCE stands for Register of Corrected Entries, or, from 1965, Register of Corrections, Etc. If, after an entry in a register had been completed, an error was discovered or some other amendment was required as a result of new information, the original entry could not be altered. Instead, each registrar kept a register of corrected entries in which such amendments were written, originally after they had been approved by a sheriff. Corrections might be to name, residence or identity. When an extract certificate is issued of an entry to which an RC relates, the extract must reflect the amendments recorded in the RCE.
Images of RCEs are now available here on ScotlandsPeople. Please read the help on RCEs before viewing them.
The following is an example of an RCE relating to a bigamous marriage:
Marriage entry showing RCE reference in left margin
Use the information gleaned from a statutory marriages entry to further your search. The ages of bride and groom and their parents' names can narrow the search for their births or baptisms. Remember that the father's name might be incorrect, perhaps to conceal illegitimacy. The marriage entry will state religious denomination e.g. "According to the forms of the Episcopal Church in Scotland", which may suggest non-conformist links in the past. Use the addresses shown in the marriage entry to confirm census details, and to track the family in earlier census returns. Remember though that where a couple married and their usual residence may not be the same. If a parent is recorded as deceased at the time of the marriage, use this information to narrow down the search for their death. Witnesses may turn out to be close family members.
The Minor Records
The minor records comprise records of births, deaths and marriages of Scottish persons outside Scotland. The following indexes to marriages in the minor records are available on this site:
Foreign Returns include Consular Returns of marriages of persons of Scottish descent or birth (from 1917), and the Register of Marriages in Foreign Countries, which comprises marriages of Scottish persons (1860 - 1965).
Service Returns (1881-1959) include Army returns of marriages of Scottish persons at military stations abroad.
To search the minor records indexes for marriages, go to the statutory marriages search form and select Minor Records from the Counties/City/Minor Records drop-down list. The screen will refresh with the available minor records displayed in the District drop-down list.
Images of Minor Record marriages are available here on ScotlandsPeople up to 1938. For index entries after 1938, you may wish to order an extract to see the full details of the register entry. See Extracts for more information.
The following sample images illustrate the type of information found in the Minor Records: