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Short Guide 2 - Birth, death and marriage records: Marriages

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About Marriages | Indexes | Records relating to Marriage

About Marriages

The total number of women in the Colony is about one thousand four hundred and thirty, including Officers and free Settlers wives: the number of married among them, is three hundred and ninety five and unmarried one thousand and thirty five — these in general are living in open Prostitution. The total number of legitimate Children is eight hundred and seven, and the number of natural Children, one thousand and twenty five…"

- Revd Samuel Marsden: a few Observations on the Situation of the Female Convicts in New South Wales. c.1806 (M.L.Mss18).

You appear to be sensible of the Importance of promoting the Increase of Marriages in the Colony; and, undoubtedly, the very great proportion which appears to exist of illegitimate in comparison with Legitimate Children, leads to the conclusion that a proper System for advancing this grand object has not been adopted. From the Circumstances of the Colonists, and the Numbers that go out leaving their Wives or Husbands in England, and the Disproportion between the Sexes, it must be extremely difficult to remedy the evil complained of; but I have understood that sufficient Pains have not been taken with respect to the Disposal of the Female Convicts on their first arrival in the Colony, and that they have been indented to improper Persons in order to ease, as soon as possible, the Expense of supporting them by Government Rations. The Impolicy of this System is so obvious that I trust you will not persevere in it, but in every case endeavour to make the Reformation of the Female Convict and her regular Settlement by marriage a Consideration superior to the saving, for any short period, the expense of maintaining her."

- Castlereagh to Thigh, 31 December 1807 Historical Records of Australia 1.6.202

In the early colony, marriages were of two kinds, either by licence or by the publication of banns. As the fees were comparatively high, ?4.4.0, only the more affluent members of the community married by licence. The licence was granted by the Governor as there was no Bishop of the Church of England in the colony.

Most marriages followed the publication of the banns in a church on three successive Sundays. Convicts were married by banns having first obtained the Governor's permission.

Indexes

Microfiche copies of Indexes to Births, Deaths and Marriages
Available online at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website.
* Pioneer series, 1788-1888
* Federation series 1889-1918
* Between the wars series 1919-1945 (deaths and marrigaes only)
Available to view on microfiche in the reading room.
Microfiche copies are also available at the registry of Briths, Deaths and Marriages, the Society of Australian Genealogists, the Mitchell Library and in many libraries throughout Australia.

Thomas Davies Mutch: Card index to births, deaths and marriages, 1787-1957
We hold a microfilm copy of the original index which is held by the Mitchell Library.
The Index is believed to cover all relevant extant records relating to New South Wales from 1787-1828, except for the Newcastle Register and the Methodist Church records, and selected records to 1957. Later entries are from tombstone inscriptions and the most recent from news-cuttings and relate only to comparatively few families. A list of the records included is at the beginning of the index, and further information is available in the Mitchell Library.

Description Dates Reel

Abbott - Youngston

1787-1814

2125

Abbott - Curtin

1815-1957

2126

Curtis - Jurd

1815-1957

2127

Kable - Roper

1815-1957

2128

Rose - Zillman

1815-1957

2129

Records relating to Marriage

Colonial Secretary | Governor | Principal Superintendent of Convicts | Registrar General

Colonial Secretary

NRS 898, Special bundles, 1794-1825
Reel 763
*
Norfolk Island: Annual return of births, deaths and marriages, 10 April 1810-10 April 1811 [4/1169 p.287a]
» See full list of titles in the Guide to Colonial Secretary's Corresponence

NRS 905, Main series of letters received, 1826-1982
* Returns of baptisms, deaths and marriages, 1811-28, 1835-38 *ARK (1811-25)
These returns are indexed in the Mutch Index.
» See item list

* Returns of applications for the publication of banns, 1828-41
The returns show name, age, status (widower, widow, bachelor, or spinster), ship and year of arrival, sentence, free or bond, present service, character and result of application.
Please note that most returns are grouped together by denomination and then by clergyman/district within each year. A small number of other returns have been located in various other bundles in the main series of Colonial Secretary: Letters received. They have not been listed here, but individual entries may be located by using the microfiche index.
Index list
An index to these returns has been compiled by Joan Reese and Norma Tuck and published on 8 microfiche. The first three fiche give name, ship and year of application. It is then necessary to look at one of the other five fiche under the year. At the beginning of the entries for a particular year is an additional index which provides a page reference. From there one turns to the main entry which records, for both parties, name, age, ship and year of arrival, and status. It also provides reference to the original record in State Records, and microfilm or other copy.
A more detailed description of the index is provided in the Introduction at the beginning of the first fiche.
As convicts were often applying to marry free persons, the information in the index is not restricted to convicts still under sentence.

Individuals:
Fiche 5270 - A-Foy, Edward
Fiche 5271 - Foy, John-Mulligan, Edward
Fiche 5272 - Mulligan, Edward-Z
Yearly Index:
Fiche 5273 - 1826-29
Fiche 5274 - 1830-32
Fiche 5275 - 1833-35, Page 25
Fiche 5276 - 1835, Page 26-1838, Page 20
Fiche 5277 - 1838, Page 21-1841

Item list
The returns were microfilmed in the order that they were found in the boxes at the date of filming. Unfortunately the extent to which the arrangement of the returns had been disturbed in use was not realised and hence the order in which they appear on the films is not always logical.
This Item list is designed to reflect the order of the returns on the films, without going into excessive detail. Researchers may have to search for a particular reference on a film but the return should be there.
» See item list

NRS 937, Returns of persons whose marriages had been authorised by the Governor following the publication of banns, 1814-27 *ARK (1814-25)
These returns are included in the series Colonial Secretary: Copies of letters sent within the Colony. The names of the parties do not appear in the indexes to the volumes.
This series is indexed, 1814-25, in the Index to the Colonial Secretary's papers, 1788-1825.
Item list for NRS 937

Dates Reel Item

1 Jan 1814-28 Mar 1815

6004, 1028 & 754

4/3493

29 Mar 1815-19 Jun 1816

6004, 1028

4/3494

20 Jun 1816-19 Feb 1817

6005, 1029

4/3495

19 Feb 1817-26 Aug 1817

6005, 1029

4/3496

26 Aug 1817-24 Jan 1818

6005, 1029

4/3497

23 Jan 1818-23 Jul 1818

6006, 1030

4/3498

25 Jul 1818-27 Feb 1819

6006, 1030

4/3499

1 Mar 1819-28 Oct 1819

6006, 1030

4/3500

30 Oct 1819-19 Apr 1820

6007, 1031

4/3501

20 Apr 1820-26 Dec 1820

6007, 1031

4/3502

29 Dec 1820-18 Apr 1821

6007, 1031

4/3503

19 Apr 1821-25 Oct 1821

6008, 1032

4/3504

25 Oct 1821-8 Mar 1822

6008, 1032

4/3504A

8 Mar 1822-28 Jun 1822

6009, 1033

4/3505

28 Jun 1822-28 Nov 1822

6009, 1033

4/3506

28 Nov 1822-20 Mar 1823

6010, 1034

4/3507

21 Mar 1823-1 Aug 1823

6010, 1034

4/3508

31 Jul 1823-18 Dec 1823

6011, 1035

4/3509

18 Dec 1823-26 Apr 1824

6012

4/3510

26 Apr 1824-20 Jul 1824

6013, 1036

4/3511

21 Jul 1824-11 Nov 1824

6013, 1036

4/3512

11 Nov 1824-5 Apr 1825

6014, 1037

4/3513

2 Apr 1825-8 Jul 1825

6014, 1037

4/3514

8 Jul 1825-18 Nov 1825

6015, 1038

4/3515

19 Nov 1825-31 Dec 1825

6016

4/3516 pp.1-276, 295-301

19 Nov 1825-27 Jan 1826

1038

4/3516

27 Jan 1826-28 Feb 1826

1039

4/3517

1 Mar 1826-28 Mar 1826

1039

4/3518

28 Mar 1826-27 Jul 1826

1040

4/3519

26 Jul 1826-30 Jan 1827

1040-1

4/3520

NRS 1037, Abstract of all licences for marriages granted to free persons, 17 March 1813-26 December 1827 *ARK [4/1710 pp.151-222]
Reel 2281; Fiche 836; COD10
Information given includes: the number and date of the licence; parties' names; and where, when and by whom the marriage was solemnised. In many cases name of parent (father or mother), name of previous spouse (for women only), occupation, and place of residence are also recorded.
An index to these abstracts has been published as Short Guide 5.
A card index has been prepared in State Records and typescript copies are located at 2/8304A & B and a microfilm copy at Reel 2278.

NRS 898, Special Bundles, 1794-1825 *ARK (1819-25)
* Applications to marry by special licence, 1819-36
A card index has been prepared by State Records and typescript copies are located at 2/8304A & B and a microfilm copy at Reel 2278.
The applications for 1819-25 [2/8305 and 2/8305A] are also indexed in the published Index to the Papers of the New South Wales Colonial Secretary, 1788-1825.
Item list for NRS 898

Church Dates Reel Item

1819-25

6028, 2279

2/8305

1823

6028

2/8305A

1826-27

2279

2/8306

1827

2279

2/8306A

Church of England

1828

1829

1830

1831

1832

1833

1834

1835

1836

2279

2279

2279

2279

2279

2280

2280

2280

2280

2/8307

2/8308

2/8309

2/8310

2/8311

2/8312

2/8313

2/8314

2/8315

Church of Scotland

1828-36

2280

2/8316

NRS 1037, Butts of Special Marriage Licences, 1828-36

The butts record licence number; date; the bridegroom's name, residence and designation (bachelor, widower); the bride's name, residence and designation; and the church, parish, county and Minister.

A card index has been prepared in State Records and typescript copies are located at 2/8304A & B and a microfilm copy at Reel 2278.

Item list for CGS 1037

Church Dates Reel Item

Church of England

24 Jan 1828-30 Jan 1832
9 Jan 1832-18 May 1835
6 Aug 1835-2 Jun 1836

2281
2386
2281

4/6030
4/6031
4/6032

Church of Scotland

22 Apr 1828-25 Oct 1831
21 Jul 1832-8 Jun 1835

2281
2281

4/6033
4/6034

NRS 906, Special Bundles, 1826-1982
* List of Marriage Licences granted by Governor Darling, 23 December 1825-25 August 1828 [2/8306 pp.1-11]
Reel 2279

Governor

NRS 4558, Norfolk Island: Return of Marriages, 25 December 1856 - 13 June 1870
COD200
The return records date and the names of the parties.

NRS 4556, Norfolk Island: Register of births, deaths and marriages, 1894
Reel 2386

Principal Superintendent of Convicts

NRS 12212, Registers of convicts applications to marry, 20 December 1825-26 February 1851 *ARK (Fiche)
Reels 713-5; photocopies COD11-15 and COD377-381; Fiche 780-802
There are two sections-those granted permission to marry and those refused permission-which provide varying degrees of information, eg. name, age, date of permission, ship, sentence, free or bond, clergyman.
Item list for NRS 12212

Dates Description Fiche COD

Jan 1826-May 1833

Index to permissions granted

780

11, 377

Jan 1826-May 1828

Granted

11, 377

May 1828-May 1833

Granted

781

11, 377

May 1833-Dec 1837

Partial index to females, A-C

782

12, 378

May 1833-Dec 1837

A-F

12, 378

May 1833-Dec 1837

G-N (to 1833)

783

12, 378

May 1833-Dec 1837

N (from 1834)-T

784

12, 378

May 1833-Dec 1837

U-Z

785

12, 378

Jan 1838-Mar 1841

A-G

786

13, 379

Jan 1838-Mar 1841

H-R

787

13, 379

Jan 1838-Mar 1841

S-Z

788

13, 379

1826-31

Granted

789

13, 379

1826-31

Refused

790

13, 379

Jan 1831-Jul 1837

Index to refusals

791

14, 380

Jan 1831-Dec 1834

Refused pp. 1-61

791

14, 380

1835-Jul 1837

Refused pp. 62-101

792

14, 380

Jan 1831-1832

Granted pp. 1-76

14, 380

1833-Jan 1836

Granted pp. 77-194

793

14, 380

Jan 1836-Jul 1837

pp. 195-262

794

14, 380

Aug 1837-Sep 1842

Index to permissions granted

795

14, 380

Aug 1837-Dec 1838

Granted pp. 1-71

14, 380

Dec 1838-Nov 1840

Granted pp. 72-193

796

14, 380

Nov 1840-Sep 1842

Granted pp. 194-310

797

14, 380

Aug 1837-Sep 1842

Index to refusals

798

14, 380

Aug 1837-Dec 1841

Refused pp. 1-99

14, 380

Jan 1842-Sep 1842

Refused pp. 100-115

799

14, 380

Oct 1842-Feb 1851

Index to permissions granted

800

15, 381

Oct 1842-Dec 1844

Granted pp. 1-77

15, 381

Dec 1844-Feb 1851

Granted pp. 78-166

801

15, 381

Sep 1842-Dec 1850

Index to refusals

802

15, 381

Sep 1842-Dec 1850

Refused pp. 1-39

15, 381

*An index to convicts applications to marry for the period January 1838 to March 1841 has been compiled by Elizabeth Ann Roberts. A copy of this index is located at COD401.

Registrar General

NRS 12937, Microfilm copies of Registers of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages, 1787-1856 *ARK
Set of 48 rolls of microfilm published by State Records in co-operation with the Genealogical Society of Utah and the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Sydney. Copies available in the State Records reading room Reels 5001-48; the Society of Australian Genealogists; the Mitchell Library and in a number of other libraries.
A full description of these records is contained in Short Guide 4.

NRS 12937 (part), Applications for Marriage Licences, 1836-44 [5/4219]
Reels 5016, 5047
This volume forms part of the series Registers of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages, 1787-1856 above.

NRS 12939, Consents of the Governor and Declarations for Presbyterian marriages, 6 February 1826 - 21 January 1860 [5/7691]
Reel 741
Original letters from the Colonial Secretary and later the Principal Superintendent of Convicts, to Presbyterian ministers granting, or not, permission for the publication of the banns of marriage 1826-46. From 1850-60 the volume consists mostly of declarations that parties are free to marry. There is an index in front of the volume.

*ARK signifies that a copy of the record or guide is part of the Archives Resources Kit and is held by the community access points.