A Beach of Promise

Cases of breach of promise to marry were brought before the courts frequently from the late 18th to the 20th centuries. The majority of these cases were successfully taken by women.  Cases of breach of promise were brought through the courts and the records stored in the Public Records Office.  As a result, most of these records were destroyed by the fire in the Public Records Office in 1922.  Luckily for us family historians, breaches of promise would also have been reported in the newspapers.

Here is an example of a report into a breach of promise from ‘The Cork Constitution’ newspaper on Saturday 16th May 1896.

You will probably only hear of situations of breach of promise through family stories or old letters.  If so, you might be able to substantiate this by checking online sites for newspaper articles.  In Ireland, some county archives or libraries hold original and copies of newspaper articles.  Not everything is online, so do an internet search for the county archives or library and ask if they have any records that you could view during a visit.

Happy Hunting


breach of promise
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