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Cohabitation Records – Buncombe County

Cohabitation records were created to identify and legitimize marriages and children born to those in slavery.

“Slave marriages before the Civil War had been duly celebrated by civil or religious authorities or simply by ‘living together’. In 1866, the General Assembly passed ‘An Act concerning Negroes and Person of Color or of Mixed Blood’. ‘Those persons whose cohabitation was thus ratified into a state of marriage were required to appear before the Clerk of the County Court or a justice of the peace to acknowledge the fact. These acknowledgements were to be recorded in books and regarded as proof that a marriage existed’.”

Patricia Reese Dockery in Early Buncombe County, North Carolina African American marriage records, 1814-1868


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