Marriage Intention

Boston Intentions of Marriage 1752-1808

From it’s early history, Massachusetts has required couples to formerly file a marriage intention whenever they planned to marry. For genealogical purposes, these are different from a marriage license and often considered inferior to a marriage license. While in most cases an intention portended to an actual marriage that is not always the case. Any intention listed in this dataset should be noted in your genealogical file as only an intention unless you can verify the actual marriage taking place. Usually marriages took place, but I have found many instances where they did not, so be careful not to assume such an event.

In my research of my Massachusetts ancestors I found that if a couple came from different towns then one town usually held the marriage record, while the other often had an intention to marry filed. It appears that the couple were required to file within both towns of their residence.

This specific data set contains all marriage intentions filed within the city of Boston Massachusetts during the years of 1752-1808. While most records within this data set contain references to white people, there are instances where “negro servants” “blacks” and “colored” marriage intentions were recorded.

A search through this database can be difficult… unfortunately, the data is so listed as to abbreviate names Wm. for William, Eliza. for Elizabeth, etc., and common misspellings of surnames appears throughout. We have chosen to leave the misspellings of names, as that is the way they appeared in the official records… we suggest that if you knew your ancestor was married in or around the City of Boston during a particular year, then you check the intentions for that and the prior year.

Marriage Intention
Marriage Intention

Each listing is an abstraction of the actual record, and usually contains the names of the couple and the date of filing the intention… in some instances a town is also included, when an individual did not reside in Boston.

Boston Massachusetts, Intention of Marriage, 1752-1809 Transcribed by Dennis Partridge, © 2005 by AccessGenealogy.

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