Elkhart County, Indiana Genealogy

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Guide to Elkhart County, Indiana ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Goshen
Organized: January 29, 1830
Parent County(s): Unorganized territory
Neighboring Counties
St. Joseph  • Marshall  • Kosciusko  • Noble  • La Grange  • Cass (MI)  • St. Joseph (MI)
See County Maps
Indiana, Elkhart County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Indiana, Elkhart County Locator Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The origin of the name "Elkhart" came from an island at the confluence of the rivers that was known by the Potawatomi word for “elk’s heart,” which the county was said to resemble in shape.[1] It is located along the north-central border of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Elkhart County Courthouse
Courthouse Square
Goshen, IN 46526-3297
Phone: 219-535-6430
County Website

Elkhart County Health Department
608 Oakland Avenue
Elkhart, IN, 46514
Health Officer: Lydia Mertz, MD
Phone Number: 877-523-2283
Fax: 574-295-6186
Email: cmast@elkhartcounty.com
Health Department

County Health Department has birth and death records.
County Clerk has marriage, divorce, probate and county court records from 1830.
County Recorder has land records. [3]
Health Department has birth records and death records.

Elkhart County, Indiana Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1882 1830 1882 1830 1831 1830 1807
*Statewide registration for births in 1907 and deaths in Oct 1899. General compliance by 1917.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Elkhart County, Indiana online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Indiana Cemeteries for more information.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

For tips on accessing Elkhart County census records online, see: Indiana Census.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 935
1840 6,660 612.3%
1850 12,690 90.5%
1860 20,986 65.4%
1870 26,026 24.0%
1880 33,454 28.5%
1890 39,201 17.2%
1900 45,052 14.9%
1910 49,008 8.8%
1920 56,384 15.1%
1930 68,875 22.2%
1940 72,634 5.5%
1950 84,512 16.4%
1960 106,790 26.4%
1970 126,529 18.5%
1980 137,330 8.5%
1990 156,198 13.7%
2000 182,791 17.0%
2010 197,559 8.1%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Indiana Church Records.
List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents. See Indiana Land and Property for additional information about early Indiana land grants and patents.

After land was transferred from the government to private ownership, subsequent transactions were recorded at the Elkhart County courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Elkhart County. County histories may include biographies; church, school and government histories; and military information. For more information about local histories, see Indiana Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Cass CountySt. Joseph CountySt. Joseph CountyMarshall CountyKosciusko CountyNoble CountyLaGrange CountyIN ELKHART.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War
Civil War service men from Elkhart County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Elkhart County

Civil War Books:

  • "Military History", Chapter 10, in Dean K. Garber, Ivan Nunemaker, History of Elkhart County, Indiana, Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens. Chicago : C. C. Chapman, 1881. Pages 537-575 Online at: FamilySearch Digital Book; Internet Archive
  • "Military History" Chapter 11 in O'Connor, Cathy L. Every Name Index to History of Elkhart County, Indiana, Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens. By Chas. C. Chapman & Co., 1881. Edwardsburg, Mich: Cathy L. O'Connor, 2007. Pages 535-574, Regiment, Companies. FamilySearch Digital Library; WorldCat

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Indiana newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

For more Indiana newspaper information see the wiki page Indiana Newspapers.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Indiana, probate records have been kept by the county clerk of the circuit court. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the Elkhart County courthouse. For more information, see Indiana Probate Records.

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Indiana tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information see the wiki page Indiana Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Indiana law in 1882 required registration of births and deaths in counties. The Indiana Department of Health has birth records filed after October 1907 and death records filed after January 1900 for deaths. Copies may be obtained from the county health department or the Indiana State Division of Vital Records.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Adoption[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Elkhart County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Indiana Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Elkhart County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Indiana Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Elkhart County Historical Museum
211 West Lincoln Ave.
Goshen, IN 46526-3280
Phone: 574-535-6458
Email: museum@elkhartcountyhistory.org

Middlebury Community Historical Museum
301 West Bristol Ave
PO Box 270
Middlebury, IN 46540-0270
Phone: 574-825-0978
Email: info@mchm.org

Goshen Historical Museum
124 S. Main St.
Goshen, IN 46526
Phone: 574-975-0033
Email: museum@goshenhistorical.org

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Elkhart County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Indiana Societies.

Elkhart County Genealogical Society
PO Box 1031
Elkhart, IN 46515-1031
Phone: 574-848-1623
Email: queries@elkhartcogensoc.org

Elkhart County Historical Society
PO Box 434
304 West Vistula Street
Bristol, IN 46507
Phone: 574-848-4322
Email: research@elkhartcountyhistory.org

Goshen Historical Society
124 S. Main St.
Goshen, IN 46526
Phone: 574-975-0033

New Paris Historical Society
PO Box 101
New Paris, IN 46553-0101
Phone: 814-470-1718
Email: contact@newparishistory.org

Wakarusa Historical Society and Museum
403 Wabash Avenue
Wakarusa, IN 46573
Phone: 574-862-118
Email: www.wakarusahistoricalsociety.com

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Britannica contributors, "Elkhart County," in ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, https://www.britannica.com/place/Elkhart-Indiana 5/6/2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Elkhart County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhart_County,_Indiana 3/28/2017.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Indiana.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Indiana.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Wiki at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhart_County%2C_Indiana (accessed 4 May 2020).
  6. Wikipedia contributors, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhart_County%2C_Indiana.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Elkhart County, Indiana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhart_County%2C_Indiana, accessed 07 December 2019.