Marriage by declaration

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Marriage by declaration

Postby Dave Sutton » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:16 pm

Could someone explain just what a marriage by declaration is. This is the first time I have run across this. The marriage in question is registered as Andrew Canavan to Mary McInall, Feb 18, 1898 in Paisley, Renfrew Gros Data 573/01/0121

Thanks
Dave Sutton
 
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Postby emanday » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:32 pm

Hi Dave,

I've got a couple of these in my line. I think it basically means that the couple declared, in front of witnesses, that they were now married.This was usually then "certified" in the Sheriff's court where the couple and witnesses signed the paperwork.

However, I'm sure I have also have heard of one such where the couple declared marriage in front of witnesses who signed a written statement at the time and this was presented to the Sheriff as proof of the marriage.
Mary
A cat leaves pawprints on your heart
McDonald or MacDonald (some couldn't make up their mind!), Bonner, Crichton, McKillop, Campbell, Cameron, Gitrig (+other spellings), Clark, Sloan, Stewart, McCutcheon, Ireland (the surname)
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Postby AnneM » Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:44 pm

Hi Dave

A marriage by declaration was one of 3 forms of irregular marriage which were available in Scotland until the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939 which came into force in 1941. They were Marriage by declaration of present intent; Marriage by cohabitation with habit and repute and Marriage by a promise of marriage followed by sexual intercourse on the faith of that promise.

Of these, marriage by cohabitation with habit and repute survived until the 21st Century and it is still possible to prove a marriage contracted in this way i.e. by living together for a sizeable period of time and being believed by most people to be husband and wife but it is not possible to start building up the cohabitation now.

The third type never really caught on for obvious reasons.

For the type you are talking about, marriage by declaration of present consent all that was needed was that the parties declared their intention to be married to each other from that moment onwards. This is not the same as a promise to marry at a future date. It was not necessary that there should be witnesses but it was almost impossible to prove unless there were witnesses :wink:

What people normally did was thereafter go along to the Sheriff Court to get the marriage registered, taking with them their witnesses or other proof.

It is important to remember that these forms of marriage were perfectly legal and gave exactly the same rights as were obtained by those who went through a formal ceremony. There was no need for registration for the marriage to be valid.

Anne
Anne
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Postby emanday » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:09 am

Thanks for clarifying the details, Anne.

I wasn't sure about the legalities, I'm afraid. Your explanation makes it so much clearer.
Mary
A cat leaves pawprints on your heart
McDonald or MacDonald (some couldn't make up their mind!), Bonner, Crichton, McKillop, Campbell, Cameron, Gitrig (+other spellings), Clark, Sloan, Stewart, McCutcheon, Ireland (the surname)
emanday
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