Vital Records

I spent the last month on a Vital Records class through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. I continue to enjoy the classes that I am taking, though many of most of them are at the beginning level. I look forward to finishing this level to move on to the harder classes to see how I can handle them.

As for the learning aspect of this specific class, I believe it was the marriage records. Who knew there were so many kids of records that can pertain to a marriage.  For instance:

  • Marriage Bann
  • Marriage Bonds
  • Marriage License
  • Marriage Return

The best information out there is to make sure you truly look over the record you have acquired to make sure a marriage has taken place. Otherwise, you might end with a record that shows an intention of a marriage that never happened.



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  1. I’ve been working on the General Methodology track for a while now and am just finishing up on the last several advanced classes at NIGS. They definitely get more challenging as you move through the courses. You will learn a lot.

  2. Michelle,

    Thanks for stopping and leaving a comment. I am glad to hear that the classes will get more challenging, gives me something to look forward too. Good luck in your classes!

  3. Hi Terri,
    Just found your blog thanks to Gini Webb’s interview on Geneabloggers. Great site! You’re doing a really great job keeping up with all the memes that are out there 🙂

    On the topic of marriage, how exactly do you tell if a couple really did marry or how do you know if a document was an intention to marry or an actual affidavit that a marriage took place? Thank you, Ginger

  4. Ginger,

    I am so glad you found me!

    As for marriages, the marriage bann is an intention that is announced at the church weeks before a marriage to give the community time to come forward if one of the intended was already married or if for any other reason they can not be married.

    The marriage intention is the same thing, it was just published in the town meeting books.

    The marriage bond is posted by the groom in the county of the bride. It is bought as a surety that the there is no reason for the groom to marry.

    If you see any of these, keep looking for a marriage certificate or a return. The return is the marriage license returned to the court. It would then be listed in the marriage register.

    Just remember that you want a certificate, return or license – those validate the marriage!

    Thanks for reading and hope this information helps.

    1. Hi Terri,

      Wow, great information on the marriage stuff. Half the time I do not know what kind of marriage information I am looking at. I tried to ask the people at the Archives to explain it to me, but they were just as clueless as I was.

      With regards to the bonds, did the grooms actually pay the fees (in NC they were around $1000) to marry, or did they only have to pay the fees if they did not get married?

      PS do you know how to get my website to be linked to my name when I leave a comment? I have updated all of my profiles with all of my blogs and still can’t get it to work…

      1. Ginger, I am so glad you found the information helpful. The grooms did have to pay the fee for the bonds.

        As for trying to get your link to come up, I am not 100% sure. I tried looking through my settings to see how it all works. The only thing I can think of is when you submit a comment to a blog, it usually asks you for your web address, make sure you put it in. has a posting that is to help out new bloggers. Thomas is an amazing source of information!


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