Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Gretna marriages 1784-1895 now on Ancestry

Thanks to the Anglo-Connections blog for the following tip off. Ancestry has uploaded 10,000 names for Gretna marriages from 1794-1895, indexed as part of its World Archives Project, and sourced from “The Lang Collection of Gretna Green Marriages Records” held at the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury.

From the site:

This data collection contains what has become known as the Lang Collection of Gretna Green Marriage Registers, being named after David and Simon Lang, a father and son duo who were “priests” and performed many marriages in Gretna Green between 1794 and 1828.

The entire collection covers the years 1794 to 1895, with a few earlier references. Since Gretna Green marriages were not exactly formal, the record keeping was not regulated, nor was it centralized. The Lang Registers make up approximately 50% of all Gretna Green marriages performed during the specified time period. The Lang Registers is the largest single collection of Gretna Green marriage registers and includes over 10,000 records.

Sometimes marriages were recorded on scraps of pieces of paper. Other times they were kept more formally and recorded in a book. The amount of information recorded could vary as well. However, you’ll generally be able to find the following information:

•Names of bride and groom
•Their counties of residence
•Marriage date
•Witnesses’ names

The database contains many instances of English couples who wished to marry in Scotland to avoid the consequences of the 1753 Hardwicke's Act, designed to outlaw clandestine marriages, but which did not apply north of the border. It should be noted that the database represents about half of all Gretna marriages. Indexes for the World Archives Project are free to consult, but a subscription is required to view the original digitised documents.

An alternative index source for some Gretna marriages can also be consulted at Registers of marriages at the Queens Head Inn at Gretna from June 1843 to February 1862 can be further consulted on microfilm at the ScotlandsPeople Center (MR 103/1-5), at the NAS, or in bound photocopied volumes at Gretna Registration Office, Central Avenue, Gretna (tel: 01461 337648), and at the Ewart Library on Catherine Street, Dumfries (tel: 01387 253820). .

It is to be hoped that the Perthshire, Scotland, School Registers of Admission and Withdrawals, 1869-1901 and Perthshire, Scotland, Militia Survey, 1802 collections, also completed through the World Archives Project, will be made available soon (mainly because my lot come from Perth!)

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