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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Married after her Husbands Death


gmac101

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I've been researching the Soldiers on the Galashiels War Memorial and one of them Pte Peter Young of the Black watch 345524 who died in  Isreal 

in late Dec 1917 was declared married to his wife in March 1918.

His wife Agnes Meikle Young nee Barlas arranged for a declaration of marriage by a court.  The couple met in Edinburgh when they played in an Orchestra, they put off marriage until he had passed his exams as a Weights and Measures inspector but the war intervened.  They had informally exchanged rings and Peter referred in his letters to Agnes as " Mrs Young" and on one of their last meetings they conceived a child born whilst he was on active service.  The evidence was sufficient to convince the judge that they were "married" and he granted an order to that effect.  She is listed as his wife on the CWGC record.

 

Was this a common way to resolve issues with the normal "flow" of relationships that the war had interrupted?

 

 

 

 

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It's not a common occurrence I've seen but Scotland did used to have several ways that marriages could occur without a formal 'marriage':

 

I'd guess it was "marriage by cohabitation with habit and repute" which required a judge to agree that a marriage existed.

 

Craig

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Until the Marriage Scotland Act (1939) there were a number of methods of irregular marriage in Scotland. (Until 1 Jan 1940 as far as I remember the only "regular" method of marriage was the religious ceremony or equivalent.) Most importantly irregular did not mean invalid or illegal. It was sometimes just more difficult to prove.

In this case the following are interesting:

1. By declaration in front of two witnesses

2. Contracted by correspondence

3. By cohabitation habit and repute

4. Conditional on consumation

I have never actually run across 2 and 4; I think Mrs Young might have had a good case under more than one of the above.

 

Is there anything in the newspapers?

 

Roger M

 

There is indeed 27 March 1918 - Daily Record. I will summarise shortly

 

Edited by rolt968
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“Declaration of declarator of marriage has been pronounced by Lord Sands in the Court of Session of Agnes Meikle Barlas or Young, 3 Orangefield Place, Greenock, against the late Peter Young sometime in H.M. Expeditionary Force. The couple became engaged to the knowledge of their relatives, and in August 1916 accepted each other as husband and wife. The woman was also known as “Mrs Young”, and the man who was killed in action in January last had signed a declaration to the effect that he was married to the pursuer.”

Daily Record - 27 March 1918.

Roger M

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In answer to your original question: I'm not sure how common this was, but the situation was easier to resolve in Scotland where an irregular marriage was legal.

Roger M

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Thanks everybody. So under Scottish law they were married by their actions and Lord Sands judgement just confirmed it.  I knew that irregular marriages were possible in Scotland in the past but didn't realise that the legislation wasn't repealed until 1940. 

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