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Genealogy Roadblocks: Marriage Records before 1868

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Image courtesy of George Eastman House

Finding marriage records for our ancestors is an important step in genealogical research to prove relationships in families.  When looking for marriage records in North Carolina before 1868, The State Library of North Carolina may be able to assist.  We have 2 main resources in the Genealogical Services section of the Government & Heritage Library.

Our first resource is a set of microfiche our library has that is an index of all marriage bonds filed in the North Carolina State Archives (except for Granville County).  The index is both by groom and bride.  The index lists the groom, bride, date, county (county is given by a code), record number, bondsman, witness, and bond number.  With this information, you can request a copy of the original marriage bond from the North Carolina State Archives.

Our second resource is the book Marriages of Granville County, North Carolina, 1753-1868 by Brent Holcomb.  The microfiche mentioned before does not include Granville County as those records were not in possession of the North Carolina State Archives when the microfiche was created.  This book lists the marriage bonds for Granville County and gives the names of the groom and bride, date, bondsman and witness.  Marriage bonds in this book can also be requested from the North Carolina State Archives.

A note about these marriage bonds:  only about 70% of marriages were actually recorded in marriage bonds during the period of the 1700s-early 1800s and those marriages listed in the marriage bond indexes are only for the surviving marriage bonds.  Some records have not survived due to courthouse fires or may be missing for an unknown reason.

If there is no surviving record and it has been passed down that a couple married during a particular year, it is possible that the date comes from a family bible, church records, or private manuscript papers such as letters or diaries, all of which are suitable substitutes in the absence of an actual marriage bond.  See our website at for other possible substitutes.


  1. Betsy Miller says:


    This post probably needs to be tagged in the “genealogy” category so people can find it in the future.


  2. Reference and Outreach says:

    Thank you for your comment. We have updated the post with your suggested tags. Thanks for reading!


    Government and Heritage Library

  3. […] practice of marriage bonds ended in 1868 and the statewide microfiche index that Imentioned in a previous blog post does not exist for marriages after 1868.  Below is some information  and facts to help you find […]

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