Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1

    Default Divorces from 1876-1887?

    Does anyone know how to find a record of a divorce in this time period? I am searching for the divorce of Alicia Sarah Kathleen O'Donnell and Herbert Babington Clay. they were married in 1876 and had one child (George Herbert Warren Clay. However, Alicia subsequently remarried in 1887. On her 1987 marriage certificate, she used her married name Clay but indicated that she was a widow? Herbert lived until 1905.

  2. #2

    Default

    I have looked on Ancestry.Co England and Wales Civil Divorce Records 1858-1916 and can't see a divorce record for Alicia and Herbert. Another check on the data may be useful.As you say Herbert died age 48 July qtr 1905 Steyning 2b 151. Did they separate and not divorce? Divorce at that time was expensive and time consuming. Few people took that route.
    There was nothing to stop a person lying about their marital status and committing bigamy.
    I can't remember if there was a time period if someone left a partner which allowed them to re-marry.
    Other researchers would be able to comment more fully on this aspect.
    Phillip
    Phillip-Jewish,British Ancestry

    "The only true dead are those who have been forgotten"

  3. #3
    Super Moderator - Completely bonkers and will never change.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    8,727

    Default

    Link to the research guide published by The National Archives.
    Just be very aware of the last paragraph in section 4.2.

    https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/h...uides/divorce/

    Also, unless your people were quite well-off, it's possible there was no divorce - they just separated, and later quietly remarried. If you'd not had contact with someone for seven years, people used to use the 'seven years, must be dead' clause. Being unable to read or write did have its advantages.

    Pam
    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

  4. #4
    Brick wall demolition expert!
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    3,385

    Default

    As Pam and Phillip have said divorce was expensive and therefore effectively unavailable to most ordinary people. What this led to was what today would be considered a shocking number of cases of bigamy.

    Bigamy was relatively easy if you didn't live in a small community where everyone knew your business. You only have to do a general search through any old newspapers to see the stories of those who were caught. In the 10 years after 1880 a search on Findmypast's newspaper archive with the word "bigamy" brings up almost 40,000 hits.

  5. #5

    Default

    Have you found the couple in 1881 - living together or apart? If apart, what was the marriage status?

    Was your Herbert the Herbert BaVington Clay baptised India 1 January 1857? I can see a Herbert R Clay, born India, 1857 on the '81 Census, status single.
    "dyfal donc a dyr y garreg"

  6. #6
    Reputation beyond repute
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    16,731

    Default

    If indeed Herbert and Alicia were separated before 1881, it seems likely that there was neither divorce nor bigamy. This is because you could not be be convicted of bigamy if you could claim that your spouse had been missing for seven years and that you had no knowledge of him still being alive during that period.

    See the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator - Completely bonkers and will never change.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    8,727

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Goodey View Post
    If indeed Herbert and Alicia were separated before 1881, it seems likely that there was neither divorce nor bigamy. This is because you could not be be convicted of bigamy if you could claim that your spouse had been missing for seven years and that you had no knowledge of him still being alive during that period.

    See the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.
    Thanks, Peter, for explaining in more detail (and better English) what I was trying to say in post #3. (I'd got the general idea but couldn't remember the precise details. )

    Pam
    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

  8. #8
    Reputation beyond repute
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    16,731

    Default

    ...what I was trying to say in post #3
    You did say that, Pam. Apologies for not reading it properly.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator - Completely bonkers and will never change.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    8,727

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Goodey View Post
    You did say that, Pam. Apologies for not reading it properly.
    No need to apologise, Peter. I did indeed say 'seven years', but you explained it so much better. And in legal terms.

    Pam
    Vulcan XH558 - “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

  10. #10

    Default

    Thank you all. the story is complex as Herbert and Alicia had a child George Herbert Warren Clay in 1876 three months before their wedding. It is hard to find any of them in the England censuses at the time as I believe they spent time in India where Herbert was a Lieutenant in the Dragoon Guards. It is possible that Herbert is the Herbert R Clay in the 1881 census marked "single" --everything is right except the middle initial. But if they had separated where was the son, George Herbert Warren Clay? In India with his mother? He married in 1895 at age 19 and spent most of his life in Rangooon, Burma.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Select a file: