I am doing a family tree and I was wondering if divorce/marriage records are available for free?
what information would i be able to find before i put in any money for background records or anything like that.
It depends on which country or state you are looking in.
Texas, for instance, has birth, death, marriage and divorce indexes online for a certain timeframe.
I saw that California also has a lot of records, even found my birth record on the index.
The best place to find where the record is located is www.ancestry.com which you have to pay for but to me it’s worth it as it usually has what I need.
The next place would be to find the individual county, state or country website on usgenweb.org. Some of these sites have had volunteers submit transcribed information.
www.familysearch.org is another place. They have a Record Search Pilot test going on right now where they are loading census, birth, death records, and includes scans of the original documents. You can search from the main page or go to http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=0 for the pilot.
Don’t forget each individual state government website or state library. There is a gold mine of information on these sites and some have scans of the original documents.
www.nara.gov is the national records administration site and you can search using NAIL database search. For scans of Indian registration cards, military records, etc.
The Bureau of Land Management site also has scans of land records which tells when they bought it and where it’s located. This is great because you can put in the location of the land and find neighbor’s names, which sometimes is other family members. It also states if it was a land grant or if they bought it.
Social Security Application from www.ssa.gov under FOIA is great to find parents names. Get their ss number first if you can from ancestry or familysearch.
Death Records: sometimes can find parents names and places of birth, plus where buried and cause of death.
Marriage: Can find spouses’s name, date, place of marriage (watch out because they might use a previous married name instead of maiden name)
Divorce: Same as marriage
Military Penson Applications: Revolutionary war is great as they write where they were born, when, where they lived, who’s their wife, what battles they were in, etc. Civil War application was a questionaire but I’ve also found great information there. WWI and WWII Draft and Registration records has their height, eye and hair color, where they live and work and family
Census records: excellent to find family members. If you can’t find your person for a census year, track a family member and see where they went. In addition whole communities sometimes moved so I also look for where the neighbors came or went to and see if my people are still with them in that other location.