The Origins Network is giving free access to the bonds and allegations until mid-day on Monday 8 October 2012.
The Origins Network says: “Prior to the establishment of a centralised civil registration system for England and Wales in 1837, marriage was controlled (as were many other things) by the church.
“This ecclesiastical system required notification of the proposed marriage either through the publishing of banns over the three weeks preceding the marriage, or by procuring a marriage licence from the appropriate church court.
“The actual licence itself was given to the parties being married so rarely survives. However an ‘Allegation’ (i.e. a statement made by the parties affirming their intention to marry) was kept by the Diocesan registry. With it would be ‘Bonds’ – assurances by bondsmen – often friends or relatives (one of whom was usually the groom himself), in which the sureties undertook to ensure that the couple would be married in a specific church or chapel.
“Our Index to The Dean and Chapter of York’s Marriage Bonds and Allegations covers over 150,000 marriage licences from 1613 to 1839. Apart from the Diocese and the Archbishop’s peculiar jurisdiction of Hexhamshire in Northumberland, the index also includes parishes in Durham, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
“We are offering FREE access to search this dataset from today until mid-day BST 8 October 2012. Once you have found the record you are searching for, you can order a copy of the original document by clicking ‘Add to Cart’.”