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Ask a Genealogist: Divorce record research.

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Looking for records on Joseph Garfield, and wife Dolly Varnum Abbott. They had a son Joseph B. Garfield in 1816-17. I believe they may have separated ordivorced before 1820 or Joseph, Sr. may have died.


Reply by Alice Kane, Genealogist.

Older divorce records are often held by state archives where the divorce occurs.  Vermont's State Archives & Records Administration (Secretary of State Office, 1078 U.S. Rte 2, Middlesex, Montpelier, VT, 05633-7701; phone: 802-828-2308; email: holds a transcribed index of divorces but the town clerk in the couple's town holds the original decrees.  Additionally, many of these records are digitally available on and  In New Hampshire, divorce proceedings are held by the clerk of each county Superior Court, but pre-1938 divorce records are held by the NH Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (Health and Welfare Building, 6 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH, 03301; phone-603-271-4651).  An index to these pre-1938 divorces is available on microfilm from the Family History Library; a copy of these  microfilms is held at NEHGS Library on the 4th floor at F33.N454 (catalog entry at  In Massachusetts county Supreme Judicial courts handled divorces until 1887 when such cases were transfered to Superior court; beginning in 1922 Probate and Family courts heard divorces concurrently with Superior courts.  Early divorce records through 1922 (and their indexes) for most counties are held on microfilm at MA State Archives (220 Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester, MA, 02125; phone: 617-727-2816; email:   


Posted by David Lambert at 01/30/2014 04:45:33 PM | 

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