Bigamy and Court Records

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katjw1
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:22 pm

Bigamy and Court Records

Post by katjw1 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:19 am

Hey Everyone,

My Great Uncle Donald Williams Forsyth (b 1907 Elderslie) was married twice - and after his second marriage he was charged with bigamy. I'm unable to find any information on this, in fact I haven't been able to find a trace of him after his second marriage which was to Margaret Henderson Leven in 1943.

Can anyone point me in the direction of which court would have held the hearing and where I could obtain access to the documents? Or even if I'd be able to access documents?

Also - what happens after someone has been convicted with bigamy in relation to the marriage? Donald was still listed as a husband on Margaret's death (albeit with a different surname). Would there be a record of the marriage being declared void?

AndrewP
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Re: Bigamy and Court Records

Post by AndrewP » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:15 am

Hi Katjw1,

[TS_welcome]

If I have done my sums right, the 1943 marriage certificate should be available online very soon (hopefully within the next few days) on the www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk website. The 1943 marriages will all have surpassed the 75 year closure period for online availability. With the information that you have given, I would expect to find a marriage certificate and an RCE (entry in the Register of Corrected Entries). I would expect the RCE to show the annulment of the marriage on the basis of a court case finding the marriage to have been bigamous, and hence unlawful. The RCE should show up as a link on the page that you download the marriage certificate from.

There may be court papers held in the National Records of Scotland (the section formerly known as the National Archives of Scotland). I have never explored that route. Hopefully someone else can advise you on that matter.

All the best,

AndrewP

katjw1
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:22 pm

Re: Bigamy and Court Records

Post by katjw1 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:28 am

Thanks AndrewP,

Fingers crossed - I wasn't sure if there would be an RCE, and I also wasn't sure about how prompt records become available after the magic number of years is reached but that will give me something to go on with. This uncle disappeared shortly after he was released, never to be heard from again, so any information I can find will be a bonus.

I was happy to find out (just now!) that his second wife went on to re-marry just a few years after this debacle.

carolineasb
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Re: Bigamy and Court Records

Post by carolineasb » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:45 pm

Have you tried just googling his date of birth? I found my Great Uncle who had disappeared in the early 20s by doing this and found him dying in the 60s in British Columbia, Canada, using his mother's maiden name and supposedly "married" to someone else!

katjw1
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:22 pm

Re: Bigamy and Court Records

Post by katjw1 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:12 am

I would never have thought of doing that - and I'll remember that for next time - but no luck here unfortunately.

Falkyrn
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Location: Scotland

Re: Bigamy and Court Records

Post by Falkyrn » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:24 am

The court that would have dealt with the incident is most likely the local Sheriff Court - depending where the marriage took place (the scene of the crime - so to speak). If the bigamous marriage was in Johnstone or Elderslie then Paisley Sheriff Court is the one you need to check but the records if they still exist would have been transferred to the National Records.

Unfortunately there are two problems
1. A 100 year closure on Sheriff Court Cases
2. Not all records made it to the National Archives - Court cases were weeded on a fairly regular basis and only cases considered "of interest" made it.

Possibly once you have a closer approximation of the dates involved a search through the newspapers of the period will yield more information
~RJ Paton~

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