England, Durham Diocese, Calendar of Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Durham Diocese, Calendar of Marriage Bonds & Allegations, 1594-1815
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Durham,  England
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Record Description
Record Type Marriage Bonds and Allegations
Collection years 1594-1815
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Durham University


What is in This Collection?

This collection consists of marriage records from the Diocese of Durham, including the Allertonshire peculiar, for the years 1594-1815.

Marriage allegations and bonds were sworn statements filed by a bride and groom as part of a marriage license application. The allegation stated that there was no known reason that the marriage should not take place; bonds contractually obligated the signers to pay a sum of money if the allegation was incorrect. Until 1733, marriage bonds were written partly in Latin but the wording was standardized and is easier to decipher in the printed forms that were in use by the 1690s.

Due to both tradition and a fee associated with obtaining a marriage license, most English couples were married by banns, not by license, and so would have neither a marriage allegation nor its related bond. However, families able to pay the fee would often avoid the reading of public banns and obtain a license, since many families did not like the thought of public objection to the intended marriage. Before the 1830s, nonconformists were required to marry officially in the Church of England, so most applied for licenses, rather than having their marriage announced by banns. Other possible reasons for obtaining marriage licenses are explained in the Marriage Allegations, Bonds and Licences in England and Wales page.

Although most bonds and allegations have survived, some are in poor condition and difficult to read, especially when the microfilmed images are badly focused. Licenses themselves were not normally retained for long after being handed to the officiating minister, but a few survive with parish records.

The Bishop of Durham’s transcripts of marriage bonds and allegations for Allertonshire Peculiar includes the following Yorkshire parishes:

  • Birkby
  • Cowesby
  • Hutton Bonville
  • Leake
  • Nether Silton
  • North Otterington
  • Osmotherly
  • Thornton-le-Street

For a list of parishes which historically made up this county, see the Durham Parishes page.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Durham Diocese, Calendar of Marriage Bonds & Allegations, 1594-1815.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Marriage Records usually contain:

  • Names of the marriage partners
  • Ages of the marriage partners
  • Occupations of the marriage partners
  • Marital status of the partners (whether single or widowed)
  • Parish of residence
  • Where the marriage was to take place
  • A parent’s name or signature
  • If either of the marriage partners was a minor, the name of the parent or guardian who was consenting to the marriage

Collection Content

The collection consists of calendar (chronological) typescript copy of the Diocese of Durham Marriage Bonds and Allegations. It contains men, women, and place indexes in each volume.

Sample Image

Marriage Bonds 1791

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of person you are looking for
  • Approximate date of marriage

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Year Range
  2. Select Durham University Reference Number
  3. Select Abstract or Index to view the images.

Some of the records in this collection may be written in an old script that can be challenging to read. Refer to BYU’s Script Tutorial for assistance with reading the records.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Save or print a copy of the image if possible
  • If an age is found, use that date to estimate a birth year and search for a birth record
  • Use the names of the bride and groom to search in census records for the new family
  • If a parent's name is listed, go back into censuses and find the individual as a child
  • Continue to search the index for people with the same surname to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Note that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Check for variants of given names and surnames
  • Simple clerical errors were always possible
  • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation
  • Individuals could also be listed under a middle name, a nickname, or an abbreviation of their given name
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name, surname, or expand the date range to return a broader list of possible matches
  • Search the records of nearby areas
    • Tyne, Wear, and Northumberland to the north
    • Cumbria to the west
    • North Yorkshire to the south
  • Look at the actual image of the record to verify the information found in the online description, if possible

Record Finder

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"England, Durham Diocese, Calendar of Marriage Bonds & Allegations, 1594-1815." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Church of England. Durham University Library, Palace Green.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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