Marriage Bonds Explained

Marriage Bond: In Colonial days, this was a sum of money promised, usually by the parents or a close relative of the young couple, to the governor of the state. This was asked to ensure that there was no reason, moral or legal, for the couple not to marry and that they would not become charity cases. Money did not acutally change hands, but could be called for if the marriage did not fulfill the requirments.

From "A to Zax : A Comprehensive Dictionary for Genealogists & Historians", by Barbara Jean Evans

Marriage Bond: Shenandoah County followed the rubrics of regulations for marriages which dated from the colonial period. In 1660/1661 the law requiring a bond was first enacted. Because of a scarcity of ministers, the colony required that all persons wishing to be married by license must go to the county court clerk and give bond with sufficient security (usually $150 by the late 18th century) that there was no lawful cause to prevent the marriage. The license was then prepared by the clerk and presented to the minister who would perform the ceremony.

From "Shenandoah County Marriage Bonds 1772-1850" by Vogt & Kethley

Consent: The early marriage statutes for Virginia contained the stipulation that in the case of infants (those under 21) wishing to be married, the parents or guardians must signify consent either in person or by sufficient testimony. After 1705 a minor had to have the consent of his/her parent or guardian given in the court clerk's presence, or else present a signed permission attested by two witnesses.

From "Shenandoah County Marriage Bonds 1772-1850" by Vogt & Kethley

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Created August 21 2001
Updated April 24, 2006
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