Enslaved persons were not legally permitted to marry. Cohabitation bonds and records document the efforts of freedmen to register and legalize their marital status with the county after emancipation at the end of the Civil War. Cohabitation records do not provide the names of the wife or husband's parents.
The original cohabitation bonds and records held by the State Archives are indexed by name and summarized in the online catalog.
Cohabitation records and bonds may also be available on third party websites like FamilySearch.org.