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The Marriage Bond of Hugh McNary and Janet Logan in 1751

February 3, 2017

Hugh McNary & Janet Logan>John McNary>Ann McNary Blue> Robert Blue>Elizabeth Blue Bates>Robert Bates>Floy Bates Aderman>Oscar Aderman>Darrell Aderman>Carmala Aderman


On 17 September 1751, my 7th great-grandfather, Hugh McNary (Minary) committed to marry Janet (Jannet) Logan, my 7th great-grandmother by paying a 500 Pound bond to the governor of the colony of New Jersey. Hugh’s oldest brother, James, signed his agreement to help pay the bond if Hugh backed out. These are my ancestors through Floy Bates Aderman.

In the 1700s, marriages within the community were typically announced from the pulpit of the local church for three consecutive weeks or a written announcement posted on the church where the wedding was to occur. This announcement was called a “bann.” Its purpose was to make sure there were no reasons “why this man and woman should be joined together in holy matrimony” as we used to say in the old wedding liturgies.

The primary reasons for objections to a marriage were typically 1) one of the betrothed was already married (“affinity”), 2) the blood relationship between the two was too close (“consanguinity”), or 3) one or the other of the betrothed were too young to get married.

The “bann” worked adequately when the couple both belonged to the same community. When the early residents of the colonies, and then the states, started expanding their geographical territory, there was a shift from “banns” to “bonds.” Since the community did not always know one or the other of the couple, a different mechanism had to be put in place. The bond was still a public announcement allowing members of the community to object to the marriage in advance. It was just a different way to still hold the betrothed to a high standard of qualifying for marriage the community had for them.

“Bonds” were an announcement of betrothal, a public commitment of engagement, where the groom-to-be and/or relatives of his, would pay a significant amount of money to insure it was his intention to marry the woman named on the bond. Typically, the bond was a financial promise to the governor of the colony or the state and would have to be paid only if the groom withdrew from the commitment before the wedding.

When Hugh Minary wanted to marry Jannet Logan, he contracted to owing 500 Pounds to the governor of New Jersey, Jonathan Belcher, Esq. If Hugh backed out of the contract, he and his brother James would owe the 500 Pounds.





As an added note, Governor Jonathan Belcher was in an ongoing writing relationship with Ben Franklin. Some of those letter can be found from the National Archives. Belcher had been the colonial governor of Massachusetts before he was made governor of New Jersey. This picture of him is in the public domain.

From → Aderman/Bates

One Comment
  1. Sheila permalink

    CJ this was so interesting! Thank you for the lesson on banns and bonds!

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