I have mentioned my 3rd great grandfather William Slight before in Finding Edinburgh map engraver apprenticeship records of William Slight in 1840s? and am continuing to pursue his baptism record in Seeking baptism record for William Slight, born ca 1832 near Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland?

Here I am looking for the marriage of his parents, my 4th great grandparents, James Slight and Elizabeth Boyd, which I deduce to have occurred in the late 1820s at or near Haddington.

From William's Marriage Certificate I know that his father was James Slight a Mason.

The 1841 Scotland Census verifies James (40; Mason J[ourneyman]), Elizabeth (40), Susan (11), William (9) and James (5) Slight living at Court Street, Haddington. Note: FindMyPast gives their surname as High - they seem to be missing from Ancestry)

William had a sister, Susan Boyd Slight who, according to her Marriage Certificate was the only daughter of late James Slight, Mason, Haddington), when she married Robert Bruce Ewart (a Mason) on 4 Jun 1852 at Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh. Her 1873 Death Certificate in Victoria, Australia records her parents as James Slight and Elizabeth Boyd.

He had a younger brother, James Slight, who according to a declaration signed in Victoria (Australia) by his sister Susan Ewart (nee Slight) in 1867, was born in May 1839, but the 1841 Census suggests it was probably a few years earlier around 1836.

His mother's name was Elizabeth, which I know from his death record and the 1841 Census, and I believe her to have been Elizabeth Boyd who was born on 2 Aug 1796 and christened on 12 Aug 1796, at Haddington, East Lothian, to Thomas Boyd (a Mason) and Susan Cleugh.

His father appears to have been the James Slight born on 5 Sep 1797 and christened on 12 Sep 1797 at Whitekirk, East Lothian, to William Slight and Isobel Young.

http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files/research/list-of-oprs/list-of-oprs-702-725.pdf suggests that the Haddington marriage records for this period should exist.

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However, when I search the Old Parish Registers Births & Baptisms I am unable to find it.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where/how else I could look for this elusive marriage record?


3 Answers 3


On FreeREG there is record of banns for the parents:

Banns read 15th, 22nd, and 29th March 1829 at Haddington Parish Church:
James Slight, of Haddington, and Elizabeth Boyd, of Haddington.
Witnessed by Thomas Boyd and William Slight.

I can't seem to locate the marriage on ScotlandsPeople, which is a bit strange. If they married after these banns were read, it would have to be at Haddington (since they were both described as of Haddington). Just because banns were read does not mean that they married, but I would be surprised if they did not.

The University of Glasgow has a nice guide to the historic laws pertaining to marriages in Scotland. One sentence in particular jumps out:

In Scotland, regular marriages did not have to take place within a church building; indeed, they were more likely to take place in private homes.

From what I have read, it was a symbol of status to get married in church, and the absence of a church record may mean that they married in a private residence. Alternively, they could have had an "irregular" marriage with no minister present despite having had banns read (this was perfectly legal in Scotland).

  • Many thanks for finding this. It not only supports the anticipated date and place of their impending marriage but the two witnesses match the christian names I expected for their fathers. I plan to edit this question down to ask only about the marriage and spawn a new one to keep searching for the baptism/birth records of William (and his siblings).
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 3, 2015 at 21:32
  • @PolyGeo I wasn't expecting this to be the accepted answer, it was just too much to put into a comment. In my opinion it would be best to keep the question as it is since finding the marriage and baptism records are closely linked - likely the same place, time, and repository. Note that you won't find "birth records" (i.e. vital records) because civil registration in Scotland hadn't started yet.
    – Harry V.
    Sep 3, 2015 at 22:34
  • With Banns read 15, 22 and 29 Mar 1829 would you think the marriage itself would be expected to have taken place on 5 Apr 1829? I went ahead and split the question because I think that makes a more appropriate level of granularity. Sorry to ignore your advice which I usually treat as sage.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 5, 2015 at 0:35
  • @PolyGeo Having no Scottish ancestry myself it is not something I'm sure of so I'll defer to the Scottish experts on that one. In England and Wales I know that banns were valid for 3 months, but Scotland may well be different. I think this would actually be another good question to split off from this one!
    – Harry V.
    Sep 5, 2015 at 0:45
  • That was my thinking too, I'm sure there is more to be gleaned from the marriage banns you uncovered and the records they lead to. Searching at FreeReg yesterday led me to become much more convinced that I have William's grandparents and uncles in order based on witnesses to events in Haddington.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 5, 2015 at 0:50

I am also looking at this Slight family and have failed to find the baptisms of Susan, William & James. I have viewed the image of Susan Slight's marriage to Robert Ewart. It states that the banns were read at St Cuthberts but they were married by the Rev George Ramsay Davidson minister of Lady Glenorchy's Free Church. It is possible that the 3 children were not baptised in the established Church of Scotland.

  • I know that William (and his wife Louisa Dorothea Hope Moore) put a tick in the Presbyterian column when they emigrated to Victoria aboard the Shand in late 1854. They were buried in the Presbyterian section of the St Kilda cemetery and William's will was quite specific that his two unmarried daughters would only receive 200 pounds sterling each if their husbands belonged to a Protestant faith. Feel free to visit my user card to find an email address for me if you would like to compare notes on the Slights.
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 14, 2017 at 10:22

ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk is the place to do the research. Be sure you are in the Old Parish Registers when researching that time frame. If you can't find, eliminate first name and try with surname only. Use the "soundex" to get spellings that may be a variant to what you are used to.

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