Bastards were persons whose parents were not married to one another at the time of birth. Bastards were prohibited from inheriting property from the father unless legitimized. Bastardy bonds were typically posted by putative fathers of illegitimate children to insure that the child was supported without public expense. Bonds and records typically give the name of the father, his bondsman, as well as that of the mother and child, and the amount of the bond posted. Bastardy records may also include presentments against and examination of unwed mothers and mothers-to-be, warrants to bring putative fathers to court, and receipts for payments made on behalf of bastard children.
Descriptions of original bastardy bonds and records held by the State Archives are summarized in the catalog. Due to courthouse fires and records loss, there are many counties for which we possess very few bastardy bonds. It is highly recommended to check the county information in the catalog to ensure that we have bastardy bonds from the time period before placing your order.
Bastardy bonds and records may also be available on third party websites.