Wales Marriage Bonds
Wales Marriage Bonds
The National Library of Wales holds over 90,000 Welsh marriage bonds, covering the years 1616 to 1837. An online index for bonds issued up to 1837 is available through the National Library of Wales ISYS system.
Step 1. Identify which diocese the bride and groom lived in.
- Bangor: 1757-1931
- Brecon / Aberhonddu: 1661-1867
- Llandaf: 1665-1941
- St Asaph / Llanelwy: 1690-1938
- St David's / Tyddewi : 1661-1867
Step 2. Search the free online index
- Go to the National Library of Wales ISYS website
- Select the button labeled "Archifau: Ymrwymiadau Priodas - Archives: Marriage Bonds"
- Type the name of the diocese where the bride and groom lived in the white search box
- Click the "Chwilio/Search" button
- Select the diocese and date range needed from the search results page (indexes are arranged by gender. Dynion=Males and Merched=Females)
Step 3. Make note of any possible index matches
- Be sure to copy all the index details for the bride and groom carefully. This information can be used to obtain a copy of the original document.
Step 4. Obtain a copy of the record using the index references.
You can order a copy of the document from:
- The National Library of Wales
- The Family History Library in Salt Lake City
Step 5. Add new details to your notes
Add the new details learned from the marriage licensing documents to your note keeping system and share it with others on New FamilySearch. Be sure to document where the new information came from.
Most marriages in Wales could only take place after:
- either banns were read out in the parish church, where the wedding was due to take place, on three consecutive weeks. This announced the couples' intention to marry
- or a licence was granted to the couple by the appropriate ecclesiastical authority. In order to obtain a licence the couple had to make an allegation, a document in which the couple, or sometimes just the groom, declared that there were no impediments to the marriage. Additionally, a marriage bond was signed which set a financial penalty on the groom and his bondsman (usually a relative or close friend). If the the allegation should prove to be false, this sum was forfeited. The sums involved were usually set deliberately high and so licences tended to be only used by relatively wealthy families. Church law stipulated that the marriage bond should state where the marriage would take place and, on some occasion, a choice of more than one parish is given.