It’s a family history conundrum. You don’t like to imagine your ancestors having difficult lives. But every time they hit tricky times they seem to be really well documented, and provide some of your most fascinating discoveries.
This is true of Poor Law records. It’s definitely the case with criminal records. And it crops up again with our new divorce records.
Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911 are legal records that were made as part of each divorce case. They provide a blow-by-blow account of all the claims and counter-claims that led up to the split. For example, you could find out exactly where and when your great-grand-uncle started an affair – and even who with!
On top of that, the records include an entire history of the marriage before it all went wrong. This could include the date and place of the wedding, details of any children, and even the couple’s different addresses.
That means that not only can you read about your family’s scandals, but you can use all that extra detail to find more of their birth, marriage and death records, and build up your timeline of their lives.
It almost leaves you wishing more of your ancestors had marriage problems!
Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.