Divorce records from all over the U.S are sometimes difficult to find online. They are another hidden gem of information that can assist you in advancing your family history and genealogy research.
What can you find in these records? Obviously the dates and location of the divorce proceeding, the date and location of the marriage, the woman’s maiden name, names of minor children, and the reason for the divorce. The reason can not only provide another part of your ancestor’s story, but also may lead to more clues, especially in the case of desertion, where you may be able to find the location that the “deserting” party moved to.
WARNING: Some of the information in the Divorce Petitions may be difficult to read. There may be shocking claims, especially related to your ancestors’ physical and emotional cruelty, or other behavior. Be prepared.
In most cases, I did not include the links to County Courts, where most divorce records are now processed and the documents held. But these divorce documents for most states are partially held in either state archives or county clerk records. So you may wish to avail yourself of these county clerk an court archives, especially those that can be searched online.
Note: Please be aware that if you find a desired divorce record in an index, that the holder of the actual materials (e.g., archive, county court, etc.) may charge a small fee to send you a copy of the material itself.
Note: Some of the links listed below take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. Make sure that you are logged in to the site, so that the collections that are browsable from anywhere will be displayed.
Below are links to the state’s divorce record and index collections that are available for free online.
(Updated March, 2021; recently added links are in BOLD):
- Adams County Chancery Case Files, 1827-1854
- Adams County Chancery Records, 1837-1935
- Adams County Divorce Case Files, 1851-1922
- Adams County Divorce Case Files,, ca. 1846-1922
- DeWitt County Miscellaneous Divorces
- Effingham County, Divorces, 1858-1873
- Galena Newspapers, Divorce Articles, 1846-1850
- Jasper County Divorce Index, pre-1892
- Jefferson County Divorce Records Index 1835-1894
- Johnson County Circuit Court Record, 1829-1835
- Lee County, Miscellaneous Divorces
- Macon County Divorce and Marriage Records as reported in the Decatur Review
- Macon County Miscellaneous Divorce Records Index
- Madison County Divorces, 1919-1922
- Massac County, Order Book, A, 1843-1849
- Richland County. Miscellaneous Divorces, 1887-1915
- Saline County Divorce Record, vol. A, 1897-1912
- Saline County Early Court Records, Divorce abstracts
- Saline County Order book, vol. A, 1848-1858
- Union County Divorces, 1828-1879
- Union County Divorces, 1880-1899
- Union County Order book, 1818-1848
- Union County, Divorce Index, 1818-1918
- Washington County, Divorce Records 1819-1861
- Wayne County, Miscellaneous Divorces
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
For other Free Illinois Links, click on the category of interest: