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Gretna Green Marriage Registers

Gretna Green became the destination for eloping young lovers following the introduction of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753. The law in England was changed so that anyone under the age of 21 had to have the consent of guardians or parents. There was no lower age limit but the marriage had to be celebrated in church, entered in the parish register and signed by both parties.

In Scotland, the minimum age limit had remained 16, so many young couples from England headed north for their weddings. As Gretna Green was on the London to Edinburgh stagecoach route and was the first stopping point across the border, many couples decided to marry there – often only just getting through the ceremony before their pursuers arrived.

The Gretna Green registers are not just simply a record of marriage but provide a view of forbidden love. Young couples who wanted to be together against all the odds. You can now search these registers at Ancestry.

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3 Responses to “Gretna Green Marriage Registers”

  1. Andrew Says:

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  2. Eldon Saxby Says:

    My cousin was taking on a major project for the entire family. She was making a family tree that would go back several generations. This was an exciting enterprise for her, and was discovering a lot about her heritage. To locate deceased relatives, she obtained information on deaths in orange county california by going online. This was an excellent time saver that enabled her to complete the project in record time. My cousin was able to give the family lineage to everyone. We were all very impressed with her for working so hard to get this completed. My family feels a real sense of completeness now.

  3. Mrs. Marion J. Archambeau Says:

    There had always been a mystery about my grandmother’s relatives, it is said the her great grandmother was married to the Earl of Dudley Ward. They eloped to Gretna Green about 1800, and so far I have heard that the Marriage Certificate can be found at #827 in Scotland. Any information would be of help to me to get the facts. With my thanks. Marion.

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