"Gave up their names in marriage"

Parish Records and other sources

Moderator: Global Moderators

Post Reply
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:34 am
Location: Lancashire

"Gave up their names in marriage"

Post by Maisie » Mon Feb 28, 2022 6:41 pm

I'm just wondering if anyone knows exactly what this phrase signifies. According to the SP index of the OPR my forebears were "married" on 6 August 1806 in both Canongate and Garvald. I had always assumed the duplicate entries meant it was actually banns being proclaimed in both parishes. However a distant relative has queried this and we looked at the actual OPR entries. The one for Canongate says they "gave up their names for marriage" but has only one sponsor, Brodrick McDonald, while all the others on the page have two. The one for Garvald was actually entered in the register in early 1807 but simply says that on 6 August 1806 they were "irregularly married". So we looked at the Kirk Sessions and it appears that in January 1807 they were hauled up before the minister and the elders after reports of their irregular marriage. They produced a certificate of their irregular marriage dated 6 August 1806 signed by Joseph Robertson, Minister, and Brodrick McDonald, witness, and were duly reprimanded and made to pay the Kirk dues and half a crown to the poor fund.
So was whatever happened on 6 August the proclamation of banns, or was it an irregular marriage? And if it was an irregular marriage why was there only one witness when I understood it required two, why was a minister certifying it, and what was it doing in the parish registers? Or was it banns and my forebears never got around to getting married, regularly or irregularly, and they were just winging it with the Kirk in Garvald? Anyone got any ideas please!

Site Admin
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:36 am
Location: Edinburgh

Re: "Gave up their names in marriage"

Post by AndrewP » Tue Mar 01, 2022 12:38 am

Hi Maisie,

It was commonplace for the banns to be called, "giving up their names for marriage", in the churches of both the bride's and the groom's family. It was usual for the banns to be called three times in each church, presumably to give the fullest opportunity for anyone to declare any reason why the couple should not be married. The three callings were normally across three Sundays, but I have read of a case where the banns were called at two morning services and an evening service all on one Sunday, presumably if there was a reason to hurry the proceedings through.

Until the 1930s, it was unusual for the marriage ceremony to take place in the church itself. It was more common to be in the manse, in the house of one of the couple or sometimes in a public hall or the like. It was quite common for the record in the OPR to be of the banns rather than of the marriage itself. Similarly baptisms are more likely to be recorded than births in the OPRs.

I don't have an answer to your point regarding one or two sponsors and the implications of that.

All the best,


Post Reply