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Scotland Marriages - What else you can try

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This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find marriage information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the marriage section of the Scotland Guided Research page.

Additional online resources


Additional Databases and Online Resources

ScotlandsPeople ($) is the premiere website for Scotland marriage records. The site requires the user to register in order to search the index for free. It costs a small fee to view any image. ScotlandsPeople is the only site with the images to Scotland church and vital records; all other sites only have indexes to these records. The FamilySearch Catalog has some of these records available online as digital images.

Substitute records


Additional Records with Marriage Information

Substitute records may contain information about more than one event and are used when records for an event are not available. Records that are used to substitute for marriage events may not have been created at the time of the marriage. The accuracy of the record is contingent upon when the information was recorded. Search for information in multiple substitute records to confirm the accuracy of these records.

Use these substitute records to locate marriage information about your ancestor:
Wiki Page
FamilySearch(FS) Collections
Why to search the records
Death Registers
Scotland Death Guided Research
Go back to the Scotland Guided Research page, and click on "Death". Death registers (after 1855) may include the deceased individual's spouse and whether married, single, or widowed.
Census Records
Scotland Census FS Collections
Census records from 1851 onward gives each individual's relation to the head of household and whether single, married, or widowed. The 1911 census lists the length of the marriage and number of children born in the present marriage (alive and deceased).
Church Death and Burial Records
See Wiki page
Death and burial parish registers may include the name of a relative, such as a spouse. However, usually only the name and date of death are listed.
Nonconformist Records
See Wiki page
Roman Catholic and other nonconformist churches, such as the Presbyterian Church, also have marriage parish registers.
See Wiki page
May contain marriage notices or obituaries, which may list the spouse of the deceased.
Military Records
See Wiki page
Military records, after 1707, generally include the spouse and children of the individual.
Poor Law Records
See Wiki page
May contain the marital status and family members (including spouse) of the individual.

Improve searching


Tips for finding marriages

Successfully finding marriage records in online databases depends on a few key points. Try the following search suggestions:

  • Spelling variations. Your ancestor's name may be misspelled. Search with spelling variations for the first and last name of your ancestor.
  • Search given name. Search by given name by leaving out the last name.
  • Search for bride. Search by the bride’s name rather than the groom’s name.
  • Add information. For common names, add more information to narrow the search such as approximate year of marriage or the county the marriage took place in.
  • Date range. Expand the date range of the search by 5 years.
  • Search place. Search using the county or parish name (if known). Go to Finding the Scotland County of Origin to learn how to find the county.

Why the record may not exist


Known Record Gaps

Records Start
Mandatory marriage registration started in 1855. Before this, marriages and banns can be found in church records (mainly the Church of Scotland or Roman Catholic Church). Although the oldest marriage records date to 1553, many churches only have records starting in the 18th or early 19th century. While parishes were required to record baptisms and marriages beginning in 1552, many parishes did not comply with the requirement until much later.

Records Destroyed
Some church records may have been lost or destroyed, although more specific information is not known. Civil registration records are generally complete.

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