Slaves were not legally permitted to marry. Cohabitation bonds and records document the efforts of freedmen to register and legalize their marital status after emancipation at the end of the Civil War. Cohabitation records do not provide the names of the wife or husband's parents.
Descriptions of original cohabitation bonds and records held by the State Archives are summarized in the online MARS catalog. For a county summary of original cohabitation records and microfilm held by the the State Archives of North Carolina, please see the Guide to County Records.
Cohabitation records and bonds may also be available on third party websites. The State Archives provides links to many of these collections in its Digital Collection.