From its creation as the Established Church in the second half of the 16th century up to the Court of Probate Act of 1857, the Church of Ireland was responsible for legally administering some aspects of vital life events such as registering marriage bonds and licences for those people who did not want to marry by banns. These were usually registered, but mot always, in the diocese of the bride’s local parish.
Marriage Licence Bonds were an alternative to marriage banns, although both were designed to prevent clandestine marriages. Banns were read in both the bride’s and groom’s parish on three consecutive Sundays to allow anyone knowing a reason that the marriage should not go ahead to come forward. Marriage licence bonds worked slightly differently. They allowed a couple to go to court and pay a sum to sign a witnessed declaration that the marriage was free to go ahead. Before 1858 marriage licence bonds were exclusively handled by the ecclesiastical courts of the Church of Ireland.
These new additions to armagh.rootsireland.ie are the indexes of marriage licence bonds taken through diocesan and prerogative courts across Ireland. Copies were kept by the Public Records Office but many were destroyed in the explosion during the Irish Civil War in 1922. These bonds may offer a rare opportunity to find your Irish ancestors before the 19th century. Dating back as far as 1727 they are an invaluable resource for many family historians.
Each record contains a transcript of the original register. The amount of information varies, but you can find out the following about your County Armagh ancestor: Name, Name of spouse, Year of marriage.
This is an ongoing computerisation project and we have released the records for the surnames beginning with the letters from A-L. These will contain many other marriages for surnames beginning with letters between M-Z if they married someone who surname began with the letters from A-L. Most marriage bonds will appear twice in our records as they were recorded by both married parties surnames.
We hope to complete the outstanding records in the near future; however, we offer a manual search service for these non computerised records for a nominal fee and full details can be obtained contacting Armagh.Ancestry@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk