Marriage Bonds, 1779-1858 - Upper & Lower Canada

Marriage Bond for John Abbot and Jane Beattie, 16 October 1827. Library and Archives Canada, RG 4 B28, vol. 34, number 725.

The Records

Many church indexes exist for Catholic marriages that took place in Quebec and Ontario.

It is more difficult to trace a marriage that took place in a Protestant church. Marriage bonds were prepared only for Protestant marriages by licence. The groom was required to enter into a bond with one or two people (sureties) who knew him and who were prepared to guarantee to the Crown that there was no legal impediment to the marriage. After obtaining the bond, a licence was issued and the marriage took place a few days later.

A marriage bond included the following information:

  • Name of the future husband
  • Name of the future wife
  • Their place of residence
  • Names of the sureties
  • Date and place where the bond was issued.

As the marriage bond was usually issued a few days prior to the actual wedding ceremony, it can indicate the approximate date and place of marriage.

Unfortunately, marriage licences issued prior to 1867 were not retained.

The Database

Library and Archives Canada holds:

  • 7,899 marriage bonds for Upper Canada (Ontario) issued between 1803 and 1865 (RG 5 B9) (MIKAN 125556)
  • 2,960 marriage bonds for Lower Canada (Quebec) issued between 1779 and 1858 (RG 4 B28) (MIKAN 125694)

Each bond was consulted to verify the names of the future husband and wife and the date of the bond. Each database entry is in the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated. Most marriage bonds are a one-page printed form in English.

As some of the original documents are difficult to read, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete.

Search Screen

The search screen enables you to search by:

  • Future Husband's Surname
  • Future Husband's Given Name(s)
  • Future Wife's Surname
  • Future Wife's Given Name(s)

Some entries include only an initial for the given names, then search by surname only.

Women are identified by their maiden name, if the maiden name was provided in the marriage bond.

When you have entered your search terms, click on "Submit". The number of results will be shown at the top of the results screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.

Search Results Page

The search results page displays the following fields:

  • Item Number
  • Future Husband's Surname
  • Future Husband's Given Name(s)
  • Future Wife's Surname
  • Future Wife's Given Name(s)

Click on the underlined Item Number of a record to access the Item page, which contains additional information specific to that record.

Item Page

The item page has digitized images of the actual pages available in JPG format and contains the following fields:

  • Future Husband's Surname
  • Future Husband's Given Name(s)
  • Future Husband's Residence
  • Future Wife's Surname
  • Future Wife's Given Name(s)
  • Future Wife's Residence
  • Notes
  • Volume
  • Bond Number
  • Date
  • Microfilm
  • Reference
  • Item Number

To suggest a correction, click on the Suggest a Correction link to access an electronic form.

To return to the Search Results page, click on the Back button of your browser in the upper left corner of your screen.

How to Obtain Copies

You can print the images or save the images on your computer.

To open a PDF file, you must have Acrobat Reader (See Downloadable Formats, PDF Reader). To print a copy of a scanned image in JPEG format, right click on the image, select copy, then paste to your word processing software, using the edit: paste special feature: device independent bitmap. Alternatively, paste to your desktop and open with the Office Picture Manager to crop and print.

Some of the original documents are difficult to read so some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete. Please note that LAC does not provide transcription and translation services. Contact your local genealogical society for assistance.

Other Resources

Some provincial and territorial archives also hold marriage bonds and licenses. Consult Marriages to obtain more information on additional resources to find marriage bonds and licenses.