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John Smith Mackay

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John Smith Mackay

Postby selprof » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:16 pm

I have been struggling to find a birth or death entry for John Smith Mackay born circa1893 either in Scotland or England. We have marriages for 1925 (Scotland), and 1928 (England) and offspring for both marriages. We have also done DNA testing which whilst it has revealed a number of distant relations, nothing more than that. Any suggestions for unravelling this mystery would be appreciated.
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby Amazinggrace » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:41 pm

Hi selpruf,
John Smith Mackay
Born 2nd Aug 1895
Macduff
Parents
Charles Mackay (fisherman)
Catherine Mackay nee Smith
The birth certificate is on Scotlands people.

I
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby Amazinggrace » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:45 pm

Checking for a death but can't see it yet. Will keep looking.
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John Smith Mackay

Postby selprof » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:50 pm

Thank you for the info. We have explored that possibility but I should have mentioned we think his parents were Donald Mackay and Isabella Smith but cannot find a census entry to match. We think possibly if the Edinburgh/Glasgow areas. His age at the time of the marriages seem to tally though no categorical confirmation. Father allegedly a stevedore.
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby Amazinggrace » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:03 pm

no Probs,I'll have a look for you tomorrow.
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby selprof » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:30 am

ImageUploadedByWDYTYA Forum1485163781.100179.jpg
ImageUploadedByWDYTYA Forum1485163781.100179.jpg (193.37 KiB) Viewed 1940 times


This is the marriage certificate we know to be correct.
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:22 am

How interesting. I take it that you are aware that this isn't a normal marriage? I get a bit lost in the types of irregular marriages in Scotland, but this looks like it's one of those where the couple have been living together for some time, everyone (and I mean everyone) thinks that they are married but they aren't. I believe that this effectively retrospectively recognised the marriage.

I'd never seen a certificate for one before, so it's not impossible that I'm misinterpreting the image.

Does that mean one should be a little more sceptical, given that there's already been a degree of misdirection? Umm.

Could this chap be in the 1939 Register to get his birth-date?

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby selprof » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:23 am

Tried that! No joy!! This man is elusive!

Re the certificate ... I was under the impression in Scotland, at that time, that any 'official' could preside over a marriage hence the randomness of the venue (which no longer exists) and therefore had taken it on face value.
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:58 am

Have a look at http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/research/economicsocialhistory/historymedicine/scottishwayofbirthanddeath/marriage/

To pick up a few bits from that link...
There were three ways of forming a legal marriage without banns or a minister being present.
...
[3] Marriages 'by habit and repute' were also legal if a couple usually presented themselves in public as husband and wife, even if no formal declaration of marriage was made.
Irregular marriages were frowned on by law and the churches, and couples who admitted to them were fined, but they had the same inheritance rights as regularly married couples, and their children were legitimate. Although the Church of Scotland did not approve of irregular marriages, it tolerated them
...
After registration was introduced, an irregular marriage could be registered if the couple presented themselves before a sheriff or magistrate, were 'convicted' as parties to an irregular marriage, and paid a fine. Some found it quicker and cheaper to have their irregular marriage entered in the schedules by the registrar under sheriff's warrant than to go through the expense of banns and a regular marriage ceremony.
...

The venue isn't significant - few Scots marriages took place in churches until sort of vaguely end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century when people began following English practice (oops, shouldn't say that!) - until then, marriage at home was frequent.

I've always understood that this sort of marriage is effectively retrospective - I have a vague idea that there might be a qualifying period. Was there any good reason not to get (regularly) married beforehand? No idea, other than speculating on the age gap. There's no real reason to disbelieve what's on the certificate - unless it turns out to be impossible, of course!

As an aside, it's important to understand that this is not Common Law marriage as the couple need to have "presented themselves in public as husband and wife", whereas Common Law couples are, in the normal way of speaking, known not to be married. Common Law marriage has never existed in England & Wales and the closest Scotland ever had is irregular marriages as per that link. Common Law marriages exist in a few states in the USA.
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Re: John Smith Mackay

Postby ianbee » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:16 pm

There was certainly something irregular about his second marriage.
Bit of background for the rest of us
Marriage, Dec 1928 Freebridge L. 4b 196
Elsey, Annie A.
Mackay, John S.

Birth of son Donald H. in March qtr 1929, Freebridge Lynn, indexed under both Elsey and Mackay
re-registration of said son in Dec 1930 as Elsey, Donald H., mother Elsey, and a handwritten note also made in the Dec qtr 1928 index

Second marriage for Annie
Dec 1932 Freebridge L. 4b 828
Elsey, Annie A.
Meek, John W. C.

Story in various newspapers in October 1930 -
Butler's Bigamy
Embezzlement Follows Second Marriage
At Berkshire Assizes at Reading to-day, John Smith MacKay (37), a butler, who pleaded guilty to bigamy and embezzlement, was sentenced to six months' in the second division on each charge, the sentences to run concurrently.
MacKay, it was stated, married a nineteen years-old girl employed in the same house as himself, and afterwards disappeared. Subsequently he entered the service of a Norfolk family and went through a form of marriage with a young parlourmaid who had previously given birth to a child.
He next came on the scene at Springfield, Berkshire, and embezzled £7, the proceeds of rent which he had collected for his employer. He absconded but gave him-self up to the police at Glasgow. Apart from these incidents, his character had been excellent.
MacKay offered the court no explanation.
Mr Justice Hawke: That is a pity.
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