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Provincial Archives of New Brunswick
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Index to Marriage Bonds 1810-1932 (RS551A)

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RS551 PROVINCIAL SECRETARY: BOND ADMINISTRATION RECORDS

RS551A MARRIAGE BONDS, 1810-1932

INTRODUCTION

Provenance of the Bonds:
The Provincial Secretary of New Brunswick (see RG3) was charged with the responsibility of receiving and administering a number of performance and special bonds which had to be posted with the government:

a) on appointment to a particular position such as sheriff or deputy treasurer, or

b) on the occasion of the intention to marry.

This series consists of the extant bonds filed with the Provincial Secretary. These are organized by the function for which the bond was required. The most extensive sub-series is the Marriage Bonds, but various other types of bonds are also included in this series.

A) Marriage Bonds, 1810-1932 (On microfilm only)

What are Marriage Bonds?

Marriage bonds, which were required when banns were not read in the churches or when the clergyman did not know both of the parties, guaranteed a payment of £500 from the would-be-groom or his co-signer if the proposed marriage did not take place. The bonds are especially valuable to genealogists, demographers and other researchers since they provide the names and residences of the proposed groom-to-be and the co-signer(s) in addition to that of the bride-to-be. The names of all prospective brides and grooms, along with all co-signers to the bond have been included in the index. Some co-signers appear several times, probably because they were professional bonders collecting fees for their services.

Researchers should note that marriage bonds must NOT be equated with marriage records or, more particularly, they must not be used as conclusive proof of marriage. Rather, they must be viewed only as an intention to marry, or to put it in more modern terms, as evidence of an "engagement". Of course, a very high percentage probably married, but exactly which couples did marry and which couples did not marry cannot be determined from this series of records.

The bonds are available on microfilm only, as listed below. Most of the bonds bear numbers and have been indexed with reference to the numbers on them. (For example, "1890 6774" refers to the bond numbered 6774 in 1890). However, there were many bonds without numbers. Those have been filmed in chronological order by month and day within the appropriate year and follow the numbered bonds for that year. For these bonds, the index makes reference to the unnumbered series and gives the year, month and day of the bond. (For example, "1890 02/04" refers to the unnumbered bond dated February 4, 1890, and will be among the bonds filmed after the 1890 bonds bearing numbers.

Researchers should also note that although the indices give only the general geographic area for where each individual is from (eg., county within New Brunswick, province, or state ), the bonds themselves generally provide the parish in New Brunswick , the county if another province, or the city or town if in the United States. Nearly 2400 non-New Brunswick references may be found in the bonds: These are listed in Part III of the finding aid on F12524 and are analyzed below.

There are three distinct parts to the finding aid on for marriage bonds (RS551A).

I. The alphabetical index to all parties
II. The chronological listing of each individual (which draws together all parties involved in each bond)
III. The listing of all out-of-province references

This finding aid (all three parts) is on F12524.

Viewing the Complete Record:

The marriage bonds are available only on microfilm. The microfilm number is included in the index, along with the reference codes. The films can be viewed at the Provincial Archives in Fredericton, or at a library participating in the inter-library or inter-archives microfilm loan program.


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