Was the Auld Kirk more Liberal in Stirlingshire?.....

Looking for Scottish Ancestors

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sheilajim
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Was the Auld Kirk more Liberal in Stirlingshire?.....

Post by sheilajim » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:42 pm

Hi All

I was under the impression that the Kirk was very disapproving of people who were "naughty". I thought that they were brought up before the congregation and were told off, and possibly fined.

This doesn't seem to have happened to my ancestors in Fintry or Denny, so I was wondering if the Kirk was more liberal in Stirlingshire.

On the OPR for my ancestors in Fintry. This is all that is said:
20th Oct 1799 was baptized a male child called John naturally procreated betwixt Archibald McDonald and Chirstan Dun. were present these witnesses Daniel McNee and Angus Cameron. :shock:

This is among a whole page of lawfully procreated children, nothing else is said about the couple, not even that they were getting married, but by 1806 when another child is listed they apparently were married, because that birth is called lawful.

The boy John McDonald was living in Denny in 1822. The OPR dated 1822 says this:
John McDonald in the Parish Dunipace and Margaret Kay, daughter of William Kay, Labourer, Denny acknowledge that they were irregularly
married on the twenty sixth of May last and mutually professed their adherence to each other as husband and wife in presence of the session.

Again there is no mention of any kind of punishment or fine.

Were the Kirks in Stirlingshire more liberal than other places?

Regards

Sheila
Sheila

Anne H
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Post by Anne H » Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:55 am

Hi Shiela,

I could be wrong, but I don't think Stirlingshire would have been any more liberal than anywhere else judging by the transcription of the Kirk Session records I have for one of my lot from Stirlingshire. Did you check to see if there might be a mention in the Kirk Sessions.

The one I have has two OPR BC's in the Miscellaneous Register (for the one child) with the first record of his birth in 1793 simply stating dob, child's name and mother's name. The second record in 1794 is the same but adds "in adultry" and the father's name...but the Kirk Session records are pages long, complete with witnesses and the like and goes on from at least June 1795 to March 1796. Fascinating reading!

Regards,
Anne H

Russell
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Post by Russell » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:14 am

Hi Sheila

I agree with Anne that most parishes registered their disapproval of a couple having a child without benefit of church blessing on a marriage but if a couple professed their 'intention' to live together as a married couple this was a marriage contract under Scots law. If this couple declared their intention of going through a regular marriage then the Kirk might have looked on then quite benignly.
The subsequent marriage made John legitimate anyway.

His 'irregular' marriage was a relatively common event and payment of a small fee ('fine'?) into the parish funds would not only allow the marriage to be regularised by the minister i.e. recorded in the Register but help boost the funds available to support the eldely and infirm.
We tend to have a slightly blinkered view of marriage based on current accepted practices. I feel that Scots law had much wider application and acceptance since marriage was a social, rather than religious contract.

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

sheilajim
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Post by sheilajim » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:00 am

Hi Anne and Russell

Thank you both for your input. I would have thought that the Irregular Marriage would have been the lesser of the two evils, from the point of view of the Kirk.

Anne how were you able to acquire the Kirk Session Records? Did you travel to Scotland to get them? 8)

Regards

Sheila
Sheila

Anne H
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Post by Anne H » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:14 am

Hi Sheila,
Anne how were you able to acquire the Kirk Session Records? Did you travel to Scotland to get them?
Unfortunately, no...the transcription I have was given to me by a distant relative a couple of years ago. I believe the Kirk Session Minutes are in Falkirk and I'm desperate to get back to Scotland and do some digging because I'm hoping there might be an additional record that actually might state that the father finally acknowledged the child and give me a bit more information. I really wish there was some way I could check online.

Regards,
Anne H

pinkshoes
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Post by pinkshoes » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:35 pm

Hi guys

I've found the staff at Callendar House extremely helpful - they actually looked up some documents for me, sent me the info by email and also a copy by post.

Falkirk Museums History Research Centre
Callendar House
Callendar Park
Falkirk
FK1 1YR
http://www.falkirk.gov.uk/cultural/museums/archives.htm
The website will have contact details I'm sure.

Hope you manage to visit Falkirk sometime - Callendar House is an experience.

Good luck
Pinkshoes

apanderson
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Post by apanderson » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:51 pm

Hi Sheila,

The Kirk Session Minutes for Fintry are at the Archives in Stirling, not at Callendar House in Falkirk. Stirling is only open a few days a week but Falkirk is Monday - Friday.

I would think the Denny ones would be at Falkirk, but there were/are umpteen Churches in Denny so it might be a bit more complicated.

I was recently doing a wee bit of research for another Rootschatter and it was the Fintry Kirk Sessions I was reading through. (c1863)

The 'lady' (the ancestor, not the Rootchatter!) in question had an illegitimate child and over the space of a couple of months, the story unfolded that she and the accused father, had to appear before the Kirk Session on about three or four separate occasions, were told off and eventually banned from going to Church for six months.

I honestly thought I was going to be flung out of the place . . . there I was, sitting giggling in a corner at the 'phrasology' and how seriously the 'sin of fornication' had been taken.

No doubt I'll be back at the Archives soon (both of them) so if you want me to have a wee look for you, PM me with the names, dates etc.

Anne

DavidWW
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Post by DavidWW » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:18 pm

apanderson wrote:.....snipped.........The 'lady' (the ancestor, not the Rootchatter!) in question had an illegitimate child and over the space of a couple of months, the story unfolded that she and the accused father, had to appear before the Kirk Session on about three or four separate occasions, were told off and eventually banned from going to Church for six months.
A far from unusual process and timescale. :!: One just has to wonder on occasion just how many of our ancestors were "windup merchants" and were winding up, and leading on the "Holy Wullies" of the session. [5 cups]
apanderson wrote:I honestly thought I was going to be flung out of the place . . . there I was, sitting giggling in a corner at the 'phrasology' and how seriously the 'sin of fornication' had been taken.
Dearie, dearie me, - Anne, you must really learn to control yourself and behave in an entirely sober (non-incaholic meaning that is) dead pan manner :wink: , - this from someone who was asked by a staff member on the British floor at the Salt Lake City library to try and control my laughter, or at least keep the volume down so that those at the other end of the floor couldn't hear me. I think that I've have probably been asked to leave the Library were it not for the fact that the said staff member knew full well that I was long since advertised as giving a talk the following day to the library "patrons", as they're called, on the subject of ScotlandsPeople :!:

My personal approach to such situations, I can best sum up by saying that I delight in such kirk session minutes situations in going back and re-reading "Holy Wullie's Prayer" as well as the less well known but equally guid "Tae a Loose" (louse) !!

Honestly :wink: , I always do my very best to behave in a sober, quiet and entirely appropriate, quiet and unobtrusive manner when visiting archives and libraries, but there are times, like Anne, when I just have to burst out laughing at the antics of our ancestors, or groan in deep sympathy when the cause of death is revealed

My all time favourite such situation relates to when the 1901 census became available at NRH..........

Some years previously I'd been "gap-filling" and encountered major problems in locating the death register entry for my eponymous great grandfather John.

Up until 1899 he, wife and one or two wains appear in the Montrose Year Books, but, thereafter, his wife appears at the same address as "Widow". (OK, OK, I know that there's no absolute proof that this involved the same Jane WEBSTER, however unlikely that someone of the same name would have come to live at the exact same address, but then there's some coincidences verging on the unbelievable that I could tell you about :shock: )

Obvious, then, that John died prior to 1899 surely? Not in terms of any record that I could find :!: , even in England, and I spent a good few £6.50s on possible records, as I was utterly determined to find the record ............. (I'm like that :!: :wink: )

It was the type of situation where, although the record is not vital to the tree, I was still determined to find it ....... but only on the basis that you spend some effort now and then on the search, but otherwise concentrate on research for more productive lines.

Eventually I challenged the assumption that the man was deid in 1899 and started looking in later years, and widening the area, and, fairly quickly found that he'd died in 1909 in hospital in Dundee, of "cirrhosis of the liver", "usual residence" the address of someone who turned out to be his nephew. And be aware, please, guid folk, that this cause of death did not always automatically indicate or prove over indulgence in the consumption of spirituous liquors :!: (Thinks, - I've got another ancestor, also a great-grandfather, who buttled for the nobility and died in his late 40s of cirrhosis of the liver, - so am I doomed by my genes :!: [5 cups] [cheers] )

All this was before the release date of the 1901 census.

When that was released, and after other more urgent families had been followed up, my thoughts returned to ggrandfather John, known to have still been alive in 1901, despite the Montrose Year Books entries showing his wife as a widow in 1899 and later ............

This is the point where I have to confess that I metaphorically had to be picked off the floor at NRH, as I was quite helpless with laughter ........

In the 1901 census, my ggrandfather John WEBSTER is shown as living about 2 streets away in Montrose from his wife, as a lodger, - the only lodger BTW, - in the house of a like aged widow .......... [5 cups]

OK, please, please, calm down out there, as there could have been some entirely innocent explanation (couldn't there :?: :shock: ) for such a situation, - and, unfortunately, nothing at all that could help my situation has come down the generations, - it doesn't help that I was the youngest son of a second marriage and that my father died when I was 12, - but I know what I think happened here :!: :!: :!: ............

David

emanday
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Post by emanday » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:35 pm

DavidWW wrote:
In the 1901 census, my ggrandfather John WEBSTER is shown as living about 2 streets away in Montrose from his wife, as a lodger, - the only lodger BTW, - in the house of a like aged widow .......... [5 cups]

OK, please, please, calm down out there, there could have been some entirely innocent explanation (couldn't there :?: :shock: )
David
The words "Pigs" and "Fly" randomly wandered into my mind just as I read that part :lol:
[b]Mary[/b]
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)

apanderson
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Post by apanderson » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:39 pm

Could have been worse David - you could have been the 7th son of a 7th son . . . . then all you would have needed was to read the tea leaves (or the dregs of a glass!!)

Anne

P.S. I've been raking through files for the 'official phrasology' for 'the sin of fornication' - can you remember the actual term? (I think it was at that point I couldn't contain myself any longer!)

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