Divorce records 1858-1911 on Ancestry

Discussion in 'Divorce' started by Huncamunca, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Oxfordshire, UK
    Somehow I missed the fact that digital images of divorce records 1858-1911, from J77 at the National Archives, are online on Ancestry. Though they are labelled 'UK, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911' they presumably only cover England and Wales.

    In case anyone else didn't know they were there, here's a bit about them.

    They are searchable by name of husband and wife, date of petition, and keyword (e.g. name of co-respondent).

    The example I looked at was a Witney divorce case (petition filed 3 June 1905). It runs to numerous pages including the following:
    • Cover labelled 'COURT MINUTES', giving names of parties, and dates of filing of petition, setting down cause, decree nisi and final decree.
    • Summary of key dates and court appearances
    • Copy of a summons giving the Respondent 14 days to file an answer to the petition
    • Decree nisi
    • Order for payment of costs by Co-Respondent
    • Decree absolute
    • Details of the how the £400 damages paid by the Co-Respondent were to be used (mostly to be put in trust for the benefit of the youngest child).
    • An answer by the Co-Respondent, denying the alleged adultery
    • Petition for dissolution of marriage, with details of date and place of marriage, dates of birth of three children, details of alleged adultery. Includes claim for damages. Petitioner asks for custody of the two elder children.
    • Copy of marriage certificate (11 August 1896)
    • Affidavit by the Petitioner
    • 'Registrar's Certificate' certifying that 'the proceedings in this Cause are correct and the pleadings are in order'
    I haven't looked at any others yet, so don't know how representative this one is.
    Sandiep likes this.
  2. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    North Devon, England
    Fairly representative I would say Jane. I looked one up which took place in 1904, which included all the documentation you mention above, along with original letters from both parties. The letter from the wife (no surnames as I know there are living relatives who would recognise both parties) is so sad -

    Dear Reggie
    I am writing to request you to allow me to live with you and to restore to me all my rights as your wife.
    I am willing to come and live with you as your wife anywhere.
    Please send me an early and definite reply.
    Your still loving wife

    Reggie replied
    My dear Lillie
    I have your letter of the 16th but I regret that it is impossible for me to comply with your request
    Yours sincerely
    R. S. .......

    The couple had six children, the youngest being 3.

  3. Eve

    Eve Well-Known Member

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