Scotland came to Civil Registration later than England and Wales on I Jan 1855. However , the range of detail given makes the Scottish certificates and registers much more useful and informative than those for England and Wales.
With Scottish records an increasing amount ia available via the internet . Theres an excellent new searchable web site www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk where the following records can be searched for a small fee with more due to come on line later
For those who are able to visit all Scottish records are kept at New Register House , Edinburgh . A fee is payable to enter the building but copying notes from the registers is free saving money paying for certificates . You are not able to copy copy from the registers in England and Wales
Before Civil Registration in 1855 events were recorded in Old Parish Records (OPR`s) . These are mainly records kept by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland . They are unfortunately far from complete . The standard of record keeping was patchy and some Churches kept no registers at all . Members of other denominations were in theory compelled to register events with the Church of Scotland but this was costly , unpopular and usually avoided.
However , if your Ancestors Baptism or Marriage was recorded these have been indexed and can be easily accessed via the Scotland People web site
Irregular marriages - those not performed by the Church were outlawed in England in 1754 . The age when couples could marry without Parents consent was raised to 21.
In Scotland the minimum age of marriage remained at 16.Scottish law only required the couple to declare they were Husband and Wife before two witnesses . English couples began to cross the border to take advantage of this and runaway marriages became common around border Towns especially Gretna Green on the Western border and Lamberton Toll on the Eastern border . Irregular marriages continued in Scotland until the law was changed in 1940
The runaway marriage trade led to many offering their services and making a lucrative living as self styled "Priests". Very few were ordained Ministers . Couples were eager to pay to be married as quickly as possible before Parents in hot pursuit crossed the border and tried to stop the Wedding.
The custodians of all known Scottish irregular and runaway marriage records are listed at
Philip Westwood runs a genealogical service enabling Americans and Canadians to research their English Ancestors. For more details view his profile.