Jay County, Indiana Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Portland
Organized: January 30, 1837[1]
Parent County(s): Adams New Purchase (Delaware/Randolph)[2]
Neighboring Counties
Adams  • Wells  • Blackford  • Delaware  • Randolph  • Darke (OH)  • Mercer (OH)
See County Maps
Indiana, Jay County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Indiana, Jay County Locator Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Jay County was named for John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers, Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation, and first Chief Justice of the United States.[3] It is located in the east-central area of the state.[4]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Jay County Courthouse
Main and Walnut
Portland, IN 47371
Phone 219-726-4951
County Website

Jay County Health Center
504 West Arch Street
Portland, IN, 47371
Health Officer: Jerry Whetzel, MD
Phone Number: 260-726-8080
Fax: 260-726-2220
Health Department

County Health Department has birth and death records from 1882;
County Clerk has marriage records from 1843, divorce records from 1882, probate records from 1836 and court records from 1837;
County Auditor has land records from 1836.
Health Department has birth records and death records.
Copies may be obtained from the county health department or the Indiana State Division of Vital Records.

Jay 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[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1882 1843 1882 1837 1836 1836 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:[8]

Unincorporated communities

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 Jay 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 Jay County census records online, see: Indiana Census.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 3,863
1850 7,047 82.4%
1860 11,399 61.8%
1870 15,000 31.6%
1880 19,282 28.5%
1890 23,478 21.8%
1900 26,818 14.2%
1910 24,961 −6.9%
1920 23,318 −6.6%
1930 20,846 −10.6%
1940 22,601 8.4%
1950 23,157 2.5%
1960 22,572 −2.5%
1970 23,575 4.4%
1980 23,239 −1.4%
1990 21,512 −7.4%
2000 21,806 1.4%
2010 21,253 −2.5%
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 Jay County courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Jay 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]

Wells CountyAdams CountyBlackford CountyDelaware CountyRandolph CountyDarke CountyMercer CountyIN JAY.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War
Civil War service men from Jay 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 Jay County.

Civil War Books:

  • "Jay County And The War" Chapter 17 in Montgomery, M.W., History of Jay County, Indiana,(Chicago, Illinois Church, Goodman & Cushing, 1864), (page 220-288, Regiment, Companies, Name's), online at: FamilySearch Digital Library; INTERNET ARCHIVE
  • "Civil War" Part 2, Chapter 7 in Biographical and historical record of Jay and Blackford Counties, Indiana: containing portraits of all the presidents of the United States from Washington to Cleveland, with accompanying biographies of each ; a condensed history of the state of Indiana ; portraits and biographies of some of the prominent men of the state ; engravings of prominent citizens in Jay and Blackford Counties, with personal histories of many of the leading families, and a concise history of Jay and Blackford Counties and their cities and villages. (1978. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co.), (page 227-234, Regiment, some Companies), available online at:FamilySearch Digital Library.

World War I

World War II

Korean Conflict


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 Jay 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]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

Jay County Public Library
315 North Ship St
Portland, IN 47371
Phone: 260-726-7890
Many print resources are available, including local histories, directories and family history documents.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Jay County Historical Society
903 E Main St.
Portland, IN 47371
Phone: 260-726-7168
Email: research@jaycountyhistory.org

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jay County History
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Indiana.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Jay County, Indiana Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ind/jay/ accessed 3/29/2017.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Jay County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_County,_Indiana 3/29/2017.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Indiana.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Indiana.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Indiana" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_County,_Indiana (accessed 10 May 2012).
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Jay County, Indiana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_County%2C_Indiana, accessed 16 December 2019.