FINDING ALLEGHENY CO. (PA) DIVORCE
Written by Larry Thompson
If you have a Mac computer you’re out of luck, this page won’t
work with a Mac. In order to access the file on the
following page you have to have Internet Explorer, or either
Firefox or Chrome browsers with an add-on called IE-tab installed.
Go to; https://dcr.alleghenycounty.us/indices/indices.html
Near the top of the page that opens up you’ll see a list of the
available databases. The one we’re interested in is the Ejectment
& Miscellaneous Index (Arrow 1). The
left hand column is the first initial of the Surname (Arrow
2). When you click on the Ejectment & Miscellaneous Index
the column above the Surname Initial should change to the
appropriate database. (Figs. 1 & 2 below).
To walk through an example I’ll use my ggrandmother, Margaret
(Maxwell) Thompson. Her husband was James Henry Thompson.
Click on The letter T in the left hand column. Another column
under T pops up (shown below) with the first letters of the first
name. For Margaret we would click on K-R.
The next page that pops up is the actual index page.
To use it we have to determine the key letter in the left
hand column. To determine the key letter ignore the first
letter of the surname, in this example T. than compare each letter
in sequence to the key letter column. For this example compare the
h to the key letter column. There is no H, than no O. The next
letter is M. There is an M in the key letter column so the first
letter of the key letters is M. Continuing on there is no P S or
O. The last letter is N. There is an MN in the key column so that
is the key letter we’re interested in. In evaluating surnames for
finding key letters, if a letter is repeated only the first
occurrence is considered.
To continue, in the row along side the word Key Letters
is the first initial of the first (Given) name. In this case go
down the column M (for Margaret) until it intersects the row for
the key letters MN. This is the page for the index, in this case
page 1120. Click on the 1120. Common names will often have their
own index page.
At the top of page 1120 you see an entry for
THOMPSON-THOMSAN-THOMSON. This shows that that index for those
names are on page 2052, so click on that link.
The right hand column is Nature of Instrument and Location (Arrow
1). We are interested in finding entries in this column that have
Divorce. In the right hand side of the NAME YOU ARE SEARCHING
(Arrow 2) column, for divorces, will have either the letters PLF
(for plaintiff, person filing) or DFT for defendant.
The center column at the top has "No. Term Year" (Arrow 3).
The second entry is for Thompson Mary the entry is;
318 JUL 1841. That is the case number you would have to ask
the court house for if you wanted to get a copy of the record.
The last entry in the center column is DATE OF DECREE. If there is no entry in that field then the
divorce was not pursued. In a lot of cases a
divorce was sought then dropped, but then was pursued later.
To continue looking for our record scroll down through the list
(below) until you get to the entry dated 2 JUN 1926 in the DATE OF
DECREE field. The PLF beside her names means she filed for the
The center column indicates the case number is 362 APR 1926. That
is probably who we’re interested in, but Thompson is a common
name, so to verify we have the correct person check for the same
case number listed for James Thompson on the same date.
(Go Back To the Index Page--sample
In the left hand column under Given name initial click on F-J. The
key letter MN initial J lists 920 for the page number. Click on
it. Then at the top of the page Thompson entry indicates that
index is on page 2034. Click on it and scroll down on the page
that come up. For the date of 2 June 1926 there is an entry for
Thompson James H Sr. with the same case number, so it more than
likely that is the correct record.