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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in November 2013. It is an excerpt from their course US Court Records  by C. Ann Staley, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


A bond is a legal instrument (under seal) by which an individual binds himself, his heirs, executors, or administrators to pay a certain sum of money to another if the required acts are not carried out (or not done) in the required manner and time. If the requirements of the bond are not fulfilled, then the bond money is forfeited. Bonds were (and still are) secured by bondsmen. The sureties (bondsmen) were generally relatives or others closely associated with our ancestors.

Types of Bonds

Bonds have been required for many situations including (but not to the exclusion of others):

  • Administrative bond—a guarantee to accurately settle the administration of an estate.
  • Appeal bond—a bond required to cover costs of appeal in civil cases.
  • Bail bond—a three party bond which involves the state, the accused, and a surety. The surety guarantees the state that the accused will appear at subsequent proceedings.
  • Bastardy bonds—a promise by the father of an illegitimate child to pay support for that child.
  • Contract bond—a guarantee of the faithful performance of a construction contract.

Naturalization of James Harman Lloyd

Naturalization of James Harman Lloyd8dC.jpg

  • Executor’s bond—a bond that an executor of an estate must furnish in order to serve as the administrator of an estate.
  • Guardian bonds—a promise to carry out the duties of managing the estate of a minor, an incompetent, or of a free person of color. Guardian bonds often provide the name of a deceased parent.
  • Marriage bonds―a bond that a groom and at least one bondsman furnished ensuring that no legal impediments existed to the proposed marriage.

Tery G. Goss, a poor orphan, was bound out to John F. McElroy on 2 March 1857.[1]

State of Georgia, Pickens County.

Know all men by these presents that we John F. McElroy and Elias W. Allred, Security, are held and firmly bound unto the Ordinary of Said County and his successors in office, in the Sum of Five Hundred Dollars, for which payment well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves our Heirs, executors, and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals, and dated this Second day of March 1857.
The Conditions of the above obligation is such, that whereas the Court of Ordinary has this day bound unto the Said John F. McElroy, a poor orphan, of said county by the name of Tery G. Goss, Son of Elias Goss, deceased of the age of Thirteen years, for eight years, or until he shall arrive at the age of Twenty one; now if the said John F. McElroy shall use, treat and deal with said orphan according to the following requirements to wit, To use Said orphan kindly and teach him, or cause him to be taught, reading, writing and the common rules of arithmetic, and upon Said orphan arriving at the age of twenty one years, he is to give Said orphan, a horse, saddle and bridle and a suit of good clothes; then this obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue

Signed: John F. McElroy (LS) and Elias W. Allred (LS)

Although a valuable record because it provides yet another bit of information about our ancestors, bonds provide little in the way of family relationships.


  1. Pickens County, Georgia, Record of Wills, Administrators, Guardians Bonds, 1854-1887, page 23, County Clerk's Office, Jasper, Georgia.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US Court Records

offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at 

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 17 September 2014, at 19:07.
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