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Colonial Marriage Bonds, 1665-1799

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This database indexes early marriage bonds held at the New Jersey State Archives. During this period prospective marital partners were required to file a bond with the governor. By signing the bond, the partners were swearing they had no preexisting marital contract or other impediment to hinder the marriage. These bonds obligated the groom and his fellow bondsman (often a relative of the bride) monetarily, should the terms of the bond not be fulfilled. In practice, only a minority of marriages were licensed by the colony in this fashion.

The database includes 11,533 bonds and 23,066 names. It indexes the names of the bride and the groom, their counties of residence, and the date on which the bond was filed. Note that this is not the date of marriage and in fact could be after a religious ceremony had already been performed. In cases where the bride, groom, or both, were minors, parental consent was required and the parents' permission is recorded with the bond as well. Such information, however, has not yet been captured in the database.

The index may be searched by any combination of first and last name (bride and/or groom), their respective places of residence, and/or the year of marriage. Results are limited to 500 records per search.

Entering the initial letter or string of letters into the name fields will return all records beginning with that letter or string. To search a string within a name, use the wildcard character * followed by the string. For example, the surname "Smith" may be searched to include the variant "Smyth" by searching for "Sm*th" in one of the last name fields. To sort the search results click on the header of each column.

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Groom Last Name:
Groom First Name:   Groom Residence:
Bride Last Name:  Bride First Name:
Bride Residence: 
Year Span:
All Residences (Groom or Bride)

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