Names of Persons for Whom Marriage Licenses were Issued by the Secretary of the Province of New York, Previous to 1784

Collection Category: Marriage Contracts|Collection Type: OCR|Location: Province of New York

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Under Roman-Dutch law, those who wished to be wed were required to present before the Court of Justice of a local church minister and make a request for said license across three Sundays or “Market days”. Should this not be possible, provisions were made to allow marriage licenses as a substitute.

When the English acquired the territory, they continued the practice. Their iteration rested the responsibility of issuing licenses to the governor. Those that acquired a license were expected to give a Penal Bond worth 500 pounds.

There are forty volumes worth of said bonds in the office of the Secretary of State, and the names of those to be wed therein and in other State records have been indexed to make the present volume. The names are organized by date, names of the wedded, an abbreviated name of the sourced record, and the volume and page therein. The list of abbreviations is as follows:

  • A.R.,=Albany Records and indorsed, Translations from the Dutch
  • C.A.,=Court of Assize
  • C.M.,=N.Y. Colonial MSS
  • C. Min.,=Council Minutes
  • E.,=Entries
  • G.E.,=General Entries
  • M.B.,=Marriage Bonds
  • O.W.L.,= Orders, Warrants, and Letters
  • O.W.=Orders, Warrants
  • P.B.,=Pass Book
  • W.O.P.,= Warrants, Orders, Passes

Of these sources, M.B. appears to be the most common with most of the dates being after 1700. There are few entries prior to 1664, the year when the territory transferred to the English, but the earliest entry appears to be 1642 and sourced from the Albany Records.