Genealogy Friday: Vital Records—Divorce Records

posted in: Genealogy, Vital Records | 0

Divorce records are very common today, but as little as fifty years ago they were not as accessible.

Fifty years ago, marriage was considered a life time commitment.  If a couple divorced, they were often looked down on and shunned. divorce

I have found records were my great-grandmother remarried and stated she was a widow.  However, her first husband lived right down the road.  This was common in the late 19th Century and early 20th century.

Often if a couple decided to split, one party would leave, they would go their separate ways and that was that.  There was little dispute over custody, property, etc.  {I’m sure there may have been some through the years.}

Divorce records did not become common until the 1950s and 1960s.  Divorce records before then are extremely rare, although not impossible.

You may be able to comb through all of the old court logs to find information on a dissolution of marriage, but you’ll have to check with the local historical society or library to inquire where and if these records exists.

Divorce records are like marriage license and are public property.  They can be found at the Department of Health and Vital Records. Some states have the records at the Clerk of Court for Family Court.

                Divorce records are public record, but some states or records may be sealed or only available to the parties mentioned in the document.

What are the earliest divorce records you’ve found?

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