Canada Divorce Records
Searching Provincial Sources for Pre-1968 Divorce Records in Canada
Some records of divorces taking place in Canada before 1968 are held by the individual provinces. The type of information available varies from province to province. In some cases, online databases can be accessed through the Internet and in other cases, you will need to either visit or write to the Provincial Archives. The information given in this article is designed to give you a starting point for further research at the provincial level.
An online database of ‘Orders Issued in Divorce and Matrimonial Cases’ by the Victoria Court Registry between 1877 and 1931 can be found on the Internet at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~canbc/vic_divorce/vic_div.htm?o_xid=0039580444&o_lid=0039580444&o_xt=41383748
In addition to divorces, annulled marriages, legal separations, and petitions relating to alimony and the custody of children are included in the database. The geographical reach of the cases extends throughout and beyond Victoria.
In order to search the database online, follow these steps:
1. Go to: http://www.rootsweb.com/~canbc/vic_divorce/names/vic_div_names.htm
2. Search through the list of names until you have found the name you are searching for. The list is in alphabetical order by surname. You will have to scroll down the list until you have found the name you require.
3. Note the volume and page number next to the name
4. Go back to : http://www.rootsweb.com/~canbc/vic_divorce/vic_div.htm?o_xid=0039580444&o_lid=0039580444&o_xt=41383748
5. Click on the relevant volume number next to the word ‘volume’
6. Scroll down the list until you find the relevant page. The page numbers are listed in consecutive order.
7. The information given varies from record to record. For some records, only the names are given. Other records include further information, such as the date and place of the marriage and the occupations of the spouses.
The British Columbia Archives hold records of divorces granted prior to 1949. Further information on these records can be obtained from:
British Columbia Archives
PO Box 9419, Stn. PROV GOVT
Telephone: (250) 387-1952
Records of divorces taking place in Nunavut before 1968 can be obtained from the Nunavut Archives. The contact details are:
PO Box 310
Telephone: (867) 934-8626
An online database of files from divorce and matrimonial cases occurring in Nova Scotia between 1759 and 1960 can be consulted free of charge by following these steps:
1. Visit this webpage: http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/databases/rg39/divorce/
2. Enter the name or names of the participants in a case into the search box and ensure that ‘name(s)’ is selected from the drop-down box on the right hand side. Alternatively, you may search through all the cases in a particular year. If you wish to do this, select ‘year’ from the drop-down box on the right and type the year into the search box.
3. Click on the ‘search’ button
4. A list of search results will then appear. You will need to scroll down the results until you find the particular case you are looking for. The following information is given on each case:
a. Retrieval number
b. Case number
c. Name 1 (this may be just a surname, a surname and initials or surname followed by given name(s).
d. Name 2
If you wish to access the full records of a particular case, you may contact Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management with all of the information given on the online database. The contact details are:
Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management
6016 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Telephone: (902) 424-6060
Before 1968, divorce was not allowed under the Civil Code of Quebec. The only way to obtain a divorce was through a private act of the Parliament of Canada. It was, however, possible to apply to a notary for a legal separation. Notarial records are held at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec. The organization’s contact details are:
Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec
Telephone: (418) 643-8904
A step-by-step guide to searching for notarial records from the Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec is available in English on this webpage: http://www.collectionscanada.ca/genealogy/022-914.001-e.html
These online and offline sources of information will hopefully help you to locate the divorce-related genealogical information you are seeking.
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