How To Find Divorce Records in the 1800s?

+8 votes
I'm looking for the husband of Bell Yoland born DECEMBER 1866 • Michigan, I know his last name is Barnes and that he is from New York. He divorced her and left her to raise three kids and wondering who he is and the reason why.  I didn't think they divorced back then.
in Genealogy Help by anonymous G2G1 (1.3k points)

This census in the details shows the kids' last name is Bowker. It's a transcription error.

Bell Yoland

 in the 1900 United States Federal Census

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Name: Bell Yoland
[Bell Toland
[Isabelle Toland
Age: 33
Birth Date: Dec 1866
Birthplace: Michigan
Home in 1900: Albano, Stafford, Kansas
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Divorced
Father's Birthplace: Ohio
Mother's Birthplace: Michigan
Mother: number of living children: 5
Mother: How many children: 6
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Bell Yoland 33
William H Barnes 12
Bennie R Barnes 11
James A Barnes 9

Isabelle is remarried to John L. Woolen

William Bowker

 in the 1910 United States Federal Census

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Name: William Bowker
Age in 1910: 22
Birth Year: abt 1888
Birthplace: Kansas
Home in 1910: Kiawa, Harper, Oklahoma
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Step Son
Marital Status: Married
Father's Birthplace: New York
Mother's name: Isabelle Woolen
Mother's Birthplace: Michigan
Native Tongue: English
Occupation: Laborer
Industry: Farm
Employer, Employee or Other: Wage Earner
Able to Read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Years Married: 1
Out of Work: N
Number of weeks out of work: 0
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
John L Woolen 42
Isabelle Woolen 43
William Bowker 22
May Morgan 11

Isabell Bowker

 in the Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925

Record Image View

    Name: Isabell Bowker
    Census Date: 1 Mar 1895
    Residence County: Stafford
    Residence State: Kansas
    Locality: Albano
    Birth Place: Michigan
    Family Number: 15
    Gender: Female
    Age: 28
    Birth Year: abt 1867
    Household Member(s):
    Name Age
    Isabell Bowker 28
    C A Bowker 9
    W H Bowker 7
    J R Bowker 6
    J A Bowker 2

    Isabelle Toland

     in the Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002

    Record Image View

      Name: Isabelle Toland
      Marriage Date: 6 Jun 1901
      Marriage Place: Naylor, Ripley, Missouri
      Registration Place: Ripley, Missouri, USA
      Spouse: John L Woolen

      A son of Isabell

      Charles A Bowker

       in the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

      Record Image No Image
      Text-only collection

        Name: Charles A Bowker
        SSN: 445017661
        Gender: Male
        Race: White
        Birth Date: 6 Oct 1885
        Birth Place: St John Staf, Kansas
        Father: Charles A Bowker
        Mother: Isebelle Toland
        Type of Claim: Original SSN.
        Notes: Mar 1937: Name listed as CHARLES A BOWKER

        1 Answer

        +3 votes
        Divorce is not a new invention (I have an ancestor who was divorced in the 1600s!), although it's far more common now than it used to be.

        Particularly because divorce was unusual in the 1800s, the details probably would have been documented in court records of the jurisdiction where the divorce was granted. (Would that be Stafford County, Kansas?) I would think that you would need to inquire at the courthouse(s) in the place(s) where the divorce might have occurred.
        by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
        I believe it was in Stafford County, but that is a guess because from what I've found no place was ever mentioned, just said divorced.

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