Bertram Merrell’s Index of English Marriages Licenses, Chester Diocese 1750-1779

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NOTE:  There is now a website located at that contains a database of Bertram Merrell's English Marriage research.  The database currently has over 14,000 names and is scheduled to more than double in the near future.

The index is contained on one CD. It is the first part of a larger project to index all of the marriage licenses, 1750-1837. Thanks to Bertram Merrell for his time and effort in extracting and preparing the data for publication.

In England, a couple was married either by Banns or by License. Licenses had to be obtained through the diocesan office exercising authority over a select area. Application was made to the Bishop of the diocese, and a bond (fee) was paid. Because of this, comparatively few couples were married by license. More than 30,000 marriage records are indexed during 1750-1779. Since the names of the groom, bride, father, mother and others are included the number of names could be 70,000.

The data on the CD index is in a table format set up as a PDF document. It is fully searchable. If a piece of information doesn’t appear in the index, it was missing in the original record. The following information appears in the index.

  • Year of marriage
  • Parish and county of the marriage
  • For the groom:
    • Given name and surname
    • Age
    • Parish and county of residence, if different from the marriage place
    • Marital status
    • Occupation
    • Name of Father and mother
  • For the bride:
    • Given and surname
    • Age
    • Marital status
    • Name of father and mother

The notes are especially helpful because they show additional information in a marriage license. Here is a sampling.

  • Sister of William Bentley of Malpas
  • Step daughter of James Shaw
  • Charles was deaf and dumb
  • Daughter-in-law of Francis Cotterel
  • Cartwright otherwise StandishMarriages Licenses]]