Using Bonds for Genealogical Research

The following teaser is from an article by Dee Gibson-Roles of the Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society, found in the March 4, 2011 edition of the Asheville Citizen Times.

Many researchers, especially novices, fail to recognize the importance of bonds in their research. There are many different types of bonds, and the "The Apprentice Blacksmith," Theodore Robinson, oil on canvas, 1886. The bonds issued to seal a child's apprenticeship often provide a good source of genealogical information. Special to the Citizen-Timesinformation gleaned from each may vary.

A bond is an oath under seal, in which a person binds himself to perform a certain act, pay a certain sum, appear at a certain place or faithfully perform duties.

The bond remains in full effect until the conditions are met. If the conditions are not met, the bond is forfeited, and the person or persons making the bond are liable for the whole payment.

Many officials were required to post bond prior to assuming the duties of their office. This was to ensure that they would carry out the duties faithfully and honestly. These might include bonds for justices of the peace, sheriffs, constables and so on.

In most cases not only the official himself but two or more persons would also “go bond” with the official. Needless to say, these other folks were not just randomly chosen (as witnesses to wills and deeds could be), but people who knew the prospective official well and had faith and trust in him.

Read the full article.

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