Convicts: Life in the colony

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NSW Convict marriage banns, 1826-1841

How to use NSW Convict marriage banns, 1826-1841

Only in the Library You can use NSW Convict marriage banns, 1826-1841 when you are in the Library. Can't come to the Library? Contact us.

How to find out about a convict's family


Collect the 'Master Index' and 'Yearly Index' of the NSW Convict marriage banns, 1826-41 from the Family history shelves in the Library.


Search the 'Master Index' (microfiche 1-3) to find the entries for both individuals (search for both their name and alias). Note down the details from the index, in particular the year. This is the year the marriage banns was read.

Here is an example of an entry in the Master Index:

Surname First names Ship Year
BLAIR Betty Lord Liverpool 1832


Using the 'Year' from the Master Index, search the 'Yearly Index' (microfiche 4-8) to find the page number of the transcription of the marriage banns. The page number is listed after the individual's name.

Here is an example of an entry in the Yearly Index:



Go to the page number (from the Yearly Index) in the same fiche to find the transcription. Note down the reel and shelf number at the top of the page.

Here is an example of a transcription of marriage banns:

MORRISON, Angus 34 Countess Harcourt 1824 TL 31/210
BLAIR aka KELLY aka LINDSAY aka YOUNG Betty 45 W Lord Liverpool 1831 Bond
1832 1145 12 CG C1

This record shows Betty and Angus' ages, the name of the ships and dates of arrival, and their status. TL indicates that Angus has a Ticket of Leave and the number of the ticket is 31/210. The last row has the registration year and number of the marriage. CG (Consent of the Governor) indicates the marriage was approved.


Use the information from the transcription to locate the original record at State Archives & Records NSW.

What are marriage banns?

These are announcements of an impending marriage. The banns were read out on three consecutive Sundays in church. This gave people the opportunity to raise any concerns about the marriage.

Convicts getting married

Convicts didn't have the same rights as free settlers. If they wished to get married, they had to apply to the authorities for permission. Their marriage records would usually contain the words 'by permission' or 'by consent'.

Convicts had to apply for permission to marry before the banns could be published.

Year of the banns or marriage?

The year that's listed in the 'Master Index' refers to the year the marriage banns were read and is not necessarily the year of the marriage.

More help

You will first need to search two indexes to find the transcript of the marriage banns.