Many couples didn’t seek an official separation when they split up as it was a costly affair. If you do find divorce records for your ancestors, though, they can give you a detailed insight into their lives including why the relationship broke down. Search the England and Wales dataset on Ancestry, Scottish records at nrscotland.gov.uk/research/family- history, while for Irish records www.courtsni.gov.uk/en- GB/pages/default.aspx is a good starting point.
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These are a great way of tracking down where your ancestor was living between censuses – or even before these were kept. Ancestry has a large UK-wide collection dating from 1538 to 1965 ( especially good for London records). Findmypast holds more recent records of voters and is currently digitising the British Library’s holdings.
If you hit a brick wall, try posting your query on a specialist forum – you never know who might see it. Try our forum at www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/forum. Linda explains: “There are some very helpful people out there who are willing to give their time to help others.”