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* Finding divorce or marital status with church records

Church records may also give you clues to an individual's marital status. Of course, marriage certificates tell you whether or not an individual ever married, and more than one marriage certificate tells you that a death or divorce took place in the family. Other church records can also give you clues. For example, baptism and christening records normally list both parents' names. If children in the same family have different parents' names on their baptism certificates, then it may be that there was a divorce and second marriage.

The books listed below can help you locate your ancestors' church records by telling you who currently has the records belonging to your ancestors' church. You can find these books in a public or genealogical library. Depending on the book that you use, you can look up either the name of your ancestors' church or the name of the clergyman and find out who currently has the records belonging to your ancestors' church. Of course, if you live close to your ancestors' church, you should go directly to the church and ask the staff for assistance in locating the records that you need.

The Handbook of American Denominations, by Frank Mead

The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, by Constant H. Maquet

List of Historical Records Survey Publications, by the Works Projects Administration

State Historical Records Surveys, by the Works Projects Administration

Once you locate the records that belong to your ancestors' church, the current custodian of the records should be able to direct you in your search for the marriage, baptism, or christening record that you need.

Another good place to look for both American and foreign church records is among the microfilm records at the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their church records are organized first by state, then county, and then town. Unless the town that you are searching for had very few churches, knowing a denomination will make your search easier.

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