England, Cheshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Cheshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1606-1900 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Cheshire,  England
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Location of Cheshire, England
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Record Description
Record Type Marriage Bonds and Allegations
Collection years 1606-1900
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Cheshire Archives and Local Studies


What is in the Collection?

This collection includes marriage records from the county of Cheshire for the years 1606-1900.

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. Furthermore, the printed forms that were in use by the 1690s also help in deciphering the records.

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 article.

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, though exceptions are known to exist.

One of the 39 historic counties of England, Cheshire is a coastal county in northwestern England which shares its western border with Wales. For a list of the parishes which historically made up this county with links to more information about each of them, see the Cheshire Parishes page. Before 1847, Cheshire was overseen by the Diocese of Chester, which also covered certain parishes in Lancashire. Records from some Lancashire parishes may therefore be present in the collection; it could be helpful to use the Historical Jurisdictions Map to locate pre-1851 parish boundaries.

Collection Content

This collection contains solely marriage records.

Sample Image

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

The following list indicates potential information provided in these records. It must be remembered that every record may not provide all the listed information, as record-keeping practices varied greatly over time.

Marriage Bonds and Allegations may include:

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Ages of bride and groom
  • Bride and groom’s occupations
  • Whether the individuals were single or widowed
  • Parish of residence
  • Where the marriage was to take place (sometimes included)
  • Parents’ name or signature (sometimes included)
  • If either of the marriage partners was a minor, the allegation would name the parent or guardian consenting to the marriage.

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the Collection Page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information can be substituted as necessary.

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page to return a list of possible matches. Compare the individuals on the list with what is already known to find the correct family or person. This step may require examining multiple individuals before a match is located.

What Do I Do Next?

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

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record entry for future reference. See below for assistance in citing this collection. Save or print a copy of the image if possible.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the estimated age given in a marriage record to calculate an approximate year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • If in the appropriate period, use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
  • Continue to search the index 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?

  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names. Transcription errors could occur in any handwritten record; also, it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name. See Abbreviations Found in Genealogy Records for examples of common abbreviations. Note that some women reverted to their maiden name when their husband died, and therefore could be buried under their maiden name.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches.
  • Search the records of nearby parishes. While it was uncommon for an individual in this period to move more than about 20 miles from their place of birth, smaller relocations were not uncommon. For this particular collection, this step may require finding records in the bordering English counties of Lancashire to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire or Shropshire to the south, or in the Welsh counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire to the west. Note that marriages usually took place in the parish where the bride resided.

For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

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Don't overlook FHL Place England, Cheshire items or FHL Keyword England, Cheshire items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see England Archives and Libraries.

Citing this Collection

Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer back to information that has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore indispensable to keeping track of genealogical research. Following established formulae in formatting citations also allows others to verify completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.

To be of use, citations must include information such as the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records, if available. The following examples demonstrate how to present this information for both this particular collection as well as individual records within the collection:

Collection Citation:

"England, Cheshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1606-1900." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Cheshire Record Office.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for England, Cheshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1606-1900.


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