[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] 1800's divorce?

Earl.Schultz Earl.Schultz at telusplanet.net
Sat Aug 21 13:09:32 PDT 2010

I used to think that divorce was rare or virtually non-existent in the 1800s
until I came across several divorces within one or two years in the Michalki
Church records.  I have since found several cases of separation without
divorce and, as you say, the family continues to grow. In my experience
within "my" parish, the church books were surprisingly honest although you
do have to understand what is happening to make sense of some entries.

I wrote an article in the 2009 September issue of the SGGEE Journal on this
topic and I am working on a follow-up because of some other unusual entries
that were found in parish records.  In my research, I could not find
anything that explained Evangelical practices but I did find Catholic
sources that indicated that the Pope considered Poland too lenient on
divorce.  The Polish people found an interesting way around the stricter
rules as explained in my article.

Evangelical divorce was granted by a Tribunal but I was unable to find out
how these worked.  This information is likely available in Evangelical
Archives but I haven't tried to obtain it yet.  It would like make another
good article for the Journal.  Grounds for divorce in the Catholic church
were the same as those that can nullify marriages under ecclesiastical law
and were listed as: "Error, condition, religious profession, holy orders,
difference of religion, an existing first marriage, kinship, crime, honesty,
impotence, violence".  Interestingly, all the divorces I found seemed to be
because of impotence because the marriages were barren prior to the divorce.

Finally, my own great-grandmother (although not a blood relative) received a
divorce in 1902 "due to the fault of the husband".  Evidence seems to
support that he deserted his family when he went to the USA.

I would appreciate any information on this topic from any readers so I can
added to further articles in the Journal.



Message: 1
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 14:32:43 -0700
From: Dave Krause <davidekrause at gmail.com>
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] 1800's divorce?
To: ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
	<AANLkTinj0NLDcnszds12-apbz=Er_9n9hEJk6Ri526dE at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Hi list;
I have been trying to understand the procedures and processes that involve
divorce in the Poland/Volhynians areas.  It seems that a male ancestor of
mine appears to have abandoned his family after the birth of the first
child.  However, the "family" continued to expand every couple of years.
And, yes, an individual who appeared to "help" the expansion along was
identified.  Unfortunately, after a couple of additions, the records (by
years) are lost or at least not available so that the exact parentage cannot
be determined.
What was the position of the Evangelical (Lutheran) church on adultery
during the mid 1800's?  Was there a threat of excommunication for such
activity?  The subsequent children were baptized and recorded in the record
If an individual (male) chose to divorce his spouse, what was the
procedure?  I'm aware that  occasionally some church records show the status
of divorced on a subsequent marriage record.  If the individual leaves the
area where the couple lived - then chooses to seek a divorce, how would the
wife be notified of the divorce?  Or, would she ever know?  Or, was divorce
a civil cause?
Thanks in advance for any information that is known!
Take care, Dave Krause


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