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):
- Allen County Divorces 1876-1910
- Allen County, Divorce Petitions and Decrees
- Allen County, Miscellaneous Divorce Announcements
- Athens County Divorce Records, 1918-1953
- Belmont County, Divorce Records, 1909-1923
- Cuyahoga County Divorce Records, 1876-1882
- Cuyahoga County Special Files, 1878-1922
- Cuyahoga County, Probate and Divorce Records, and case file index, 1896-1967
- Erie County Common Pleas Journal, 1854-1901
- Erie County Court Records, 1838-1854; General Index, 1840-1887
- Gallia County, Certified abstract of divorce annulment of marriage, 1949-1952 and certified abstract of marriages
- Geauga County Supreme Court Divorces 1806-1840
- Greene County Divorce index
- Jackson County, Divorce Records 1917-1923
- Knox County Divorce Record, 1906-1951
- Lake County Divorce Indexes
- Lake County Painesville Telegraph Index to Divorces
- Lake County, Court Cases, 1830-1870
- Lake County, Index to Divorces in the Willoughby Independent, 1879-1884
- Lake County, Index to Divorces in the Willoughby Independent, 1885-1888
- Lake County, Ohio Divorce Proceedings
- Loudonville, Ashland County, Newspaper Genealogical abstracts, March 20, 1873 to Sept. 1, 1892
- Lucas County Marriage Records, 1835-1985 ; Marriage Index, 1835-1941
- Morrow County Morrow County, Marriage Records, 1951-2017
- Muskingum County, Divorce Records, 1900-1999
- Muskingum County, Miscellaneous Court Records, 1800-2000
- Noble County, Divorce Files, ca. 1852-1938
- Painesville Telegraph Divorce Index 1862-1870
- Pickaway County Divorce Record, 1907-1946
- Richland County Divorce Records
- Richland County, Divorces, and real estate Cases, 1813-1972
- Summit County, Marriage and Divorce Records
- Union County, Divorce Case Files, 1936-1990
- Union County, Divorce Proceedings and Dockets, 1820-1936
- Van Wert County Divorce Records, 1902-1925
- Washington County, Divorce Records, 1894-1960
- Wood County Divorce Cases, ca. 1837- ca. 1875
- Wyandot County Civil Dockets of Crawford Township, 1885-1914
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
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