Tuesday, June 18, 2024

WEDDING WEDNESDAY ~ Divorces? How many of my ancestor couples divorced prior to 1900?


Today instead of concentrating on a marriage record, I thought I would find out how many couples in my database/tree were divorced overall and how many before 1900?

I know my own parents were, and my Dad also had a first wife, prior to my Mom. 

Divorce wasn’t always as common as it is today.  I don’t believe it was that couples didn’t have issues, I think it was just handled differently.  They could live apart or they would stay together and continue being miserable.

We have to remember that prior to 1900, women couldn’t own property, most had no means of support.  And shockingly, if they became widows or did divorce, they couldn’t even be guardians of their own children.

As a reference point here is a list of women’s rights, from 1769-1900:1

1769 — The early American colonies base their laws on the English common law, which said, “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in the law. The very being and legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated into that of her husband under whose wing and protection she performs everything.”

1777 — All states pass laws taking away women’s right to vote.

1833 — Oberlin College is founded as the first co-educational institution that accepts women and African Americans.

1848 — At Seneca Falls, 300 women and men sign the Declaration of Sentiments, a plea for the end of discrimination against women.

1848 — New York passes the Married Woman’s Property Act. For the first time, a woman isn’t automatically liable for her husband’s debts; she could enter contracts on her own; she could collect rents or receive an inheritance in her own right; she could file a lawsuit on her own behalf. She became for economic purposes, an individual.

1870 — The 15th Amendment is ratified, saying, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” African-Americans may vote now, but women may not.

1872 — Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman to run for U.S. President. She receives few votes.

1890 — Wyoming becomes the first state to grant women the right to vote in its state elections.

1900 — By now, every state has passed legislation modeled after New York’s Married Women’s Property Act (1848), granting married women some control over their property and earnings.

Back to my subject –

·       How many divorces are recorded in my Legacy database? 108

·       How many of those divorces took place prior to 1900? 5

To find these figures using Legacy, I used Find>Detailed Search and then entered the parameters I needed.  You’ve all seen me do these kinds of searches numerous times.

Of the 5 couples who divorced these are the dates I have.

1863, 1865, 1874, circa 1880-1885 and 1899

I have 1786 Individuals or 893 couples who have a recorded marriage date in my tree, prior to 1900.

That’s a lot of marriages and only 5 divorces.  I suspect there are many stories we do not and never will know.

Are you curious how many of your ancestors divorced?

Let me know if you ran a similar report with your software and what the results were.

Source: 1 – History of Women’s Rights in America

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2024   Diane Gould Hall


Monday, June 17, 2024

HERE IT IS - My first post since December of last year

It’s been months since I’ve written a blog post.  As many of you may know, we moved from CA to Montana.  The move hasn’t been easy for 2 senior citizens, but we are now settled.

Thank you to all the readers who have been patient with me and are still planning on reading my posts.

Let’s see if I can get my rhythm back and start telling those family stories once again.  Are there more cousins out there? I hope so.

During the move I’ve located many photos and documents that had been in boxes for years.  Some of those I will be sharing with you.

Let’s get this show on the road. Stay tuned.

Here’s a few photos of me and my hubby, Ron and our dog Libby. The Bitterroot River runs all through our valley here and there are so many beautiful places to walk.  Not to mention the mountain hikes.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2024   Diane Gould Hall