The Dallas Journal, Volume 44, 1999 Page: 8
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Dallas County Divorces in Court Records 1881-1900
Abstracted by Jimn Monaghan
This is the second installment of an abstraction of divorces recorded in Dallas
County Court Records compiled by DGS's own Jim Monaghan. A massive work, it
will be completed next year. To do this abstraction, Jim read through each of the
divorce cases from 1846-1905 that are scattered among other court records.
The original case files are stored on the Seventh Floor of the J. Eric Jonnson
Central Library of the Dallas Public Library in Dallas, Texas in the Texas/Dallas
History and Archives Division. They have also been microfilmed by the Family History
Center in Salt Lake City. with the assistance of DGS volunteers, and are available
through their microfilm loan program. Our volunteers devoted many hours to this
project. The divorces are not separate, they are mingled with all of the case files of
these district court records.
Explanation of the Columns in This Record
" In the first column the litigants' names-Plaintiff above and Defendant below-are shown with some of the spelling
variations and aliases.
* The Final Decree Date is shown in the second column as it is written in the District Court Minute Books when the
divorce was actually completed. Thus the causes (cases) are listed in chronological order, not numerical order.
* The third column contains the Cause-or Case-Number. assigned when the case was filed. They are not in numerical
order because of the differing lengths of time needed for each case to be completed. It is this number that you will need
when you are looking on microfilm or asking at the Dallas Public Library for copies of the case files.
* Columns four and five are the Volume and Page numbers respectively in the actual court Minute Books. For example:
"B-14. 405" refers to Volume B, 14th District Court, p. 405. These are the finding aids you will need in order to find the
" The column headed Notes: Custody of Children, Maiden Names, and Other Issues notes the disposition of minor
children, the plaintiffs' "grounds" for the divorce and the names and relationships of other kinfolks found in the records.
The acronym CRFS stands for "Court Restored Former Surname" and is included when the wife wished to have her former
surname restored. That name is usually indicated in parenthesis. The CPNF acronym means "Case Papers Not Found"
which may mean that they were misfiled, borrowed by an attorney, or were lost. In any case, the compiler could not find
them in the file. Unless otherwise noted, the judgment of the court was for the plaintiff. Exceptions are noted with the
phrase, "court found for the dft." Most information in this column came from the case papers, and students of human
nature will particularly enjoy this column. Sexuality, fraud, disease, and drugs were issues In this Victorian period just as
* The last columns notes the litigants' Marriage Date and Place as derived from the case papers. They are as reliable as
the petitioner's memory! A random check by the compiler of marriages stated as having occurred in Dallas County, found
many discrepancies between the case paper dates and the Dallas County Marriage Books by DGS. It would always be wise
to check the original records-if available-to verify these dates. A brief glance at the places of marriage gives a clue to
migration patterns into early Texas.
X The Dallas hurnal 199o
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 44, 1999, periodical, June 1999; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186858/m1/14/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.