Indiana Archives and Libraries
Public and private organizations, such as societies and churches, often place their old records in archives or libraries for safekeeping. Many archives and libraries have also prepared aids to help researchers find records in their collections. The archives, libraries, and societies listed below have major collections of compiled genealogies or services helpful to genealogical researchers. Compiled records are collections of information about a person, group, or family. You can save a lot of time by seeing what information others have already found about your family. You should use these secondary sources with caution and evaluate them for accuracy.
The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services for Indiana genealogical research.
- 1 State Archives and Libraries
- 2 National Archives Regional Center
- 3 Genealogical and Historical Societies
- 4 Allen County Public Library
- 5 Loss of Records through Disasters
- 6 Archives Inventories
- 7 Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards
- 8 FamilySearch™ Internet Genealogy Service
- 9 Cyndi Howell’s List
- 10 USGenWeb
- 11 Roots-L
- 12 Helm’s Genealogy Toolbox: Indiana
State Archives and Libraries
Commission on Public Records
Indiana State Archives
140 North Senate Avenue, Room 117
Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Indiana State Archives, Commission on Public Records, houses state and local government records including land office, census, and military records for Indiana.
Indiana State Library, Indiana Division
140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2296
Indiana State Library, Genealogy Division
140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2296
The Indiana State Archives is located in the same building as the State Library, but is a separate organization. The State Library’s Genealogy Division is well-known for its family and local histories and its census, military, cemetery, and vital records collections. The Indiana Division has county histories, Indiana periodicals, maps, photographs, and newspapers. It also houses a number of indexes to its collection. An important guide to the Indiana State Library is:
Miller, Carolynne L. Indiana Sources for Genealogical Research in the Indiana State Library. Indianapolis, Indiana: Genealogical Section, Indiana Historical Society, 1984. (Family History Library book 977.2 D23mc.)
A listing of family records and other sources at the Indiana State Library is found in:
Pumroy, Eric. A Guide to Manuscript Collections of the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana State Library. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Society, 1986. (Family History Library book 977.2 H23p.)
National Archives Regional Center
National Archives–Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7358 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629
This center has federal censuses, passenger lists, Indian census rolls (1885–1940), records of marine inspection and navigation for Indiana (1865–1968; includes owners, masters, and crew members), naturalization indexes, General Land Office records for Indiana (1808–1876; listed by land office), U.S. District and Circuit Court records for Indiana (1819 –1961), military, and other records.
For more information about their holdings, see:
Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1988. (Family History Library book 973 A3sz)
Genealogical and Historical Societies
Indiana Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 10507
Fort Wayne, IN 46825-0507
Indiana Historical Society
315 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
A guide to family records and other sources at the Indiana Historical Society is in Eric Pumroy’s book cited above.
See the "Genealogy" section of this outline for information about Ruth Dorrel’s book Pioneer Ancestors of Members of the Society of Indiana Pioneers. The records of the Society of Indiana Pioneers are in the basement of the Indiana Historical Society.
Allen County Public Library
Although it is part of a public library, the Genealogy Center, with its Reynolds Historical Genealogy Collection, has an outstanding collection of Midwestern and national sources. This is one of the best genealogical collections in the United States, including the largest genealogical periodical collection. These are described in:
Cavanaugh, Karen B. A Genealogist’s Guide to the Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Public Library. Owensboro, Kentucky: McDowell Pub., 1980. (Family History Library book 977.274/F1 A3c)
Loss of Records through Disasters
There have been over 50 courthouse fires and other natural disasters in Indiana that have caused significant losses of records. A list of these lost records was prepared by John J. Newman of the Indiana Supreme Court in 1988. In the list, the date in parentheses following the county name is the year the county was organized. A fire in one parent county might have affected other counties that were later divided off from it.
- Boone (1830) 1856–loss of deed records (partially re-recorded), tax, and commissioner records
- Brown (1836) 1873–loss of deed and mortgage records (partially re-recorded)
- Clark (1801) 1937–flood, loss of original court, marriage, and probate files
- Clay (1825) 1851–early probate and marriage records were destroyed (all deeds and mortgages survived)
- Daviess (1817) 1891, 1927, 1985; 1891–fire heavily damaged deeds, mortgages, and commissioner records (fragments were re-recorded from original ledgers)
- Dearborn (1803) 1826–loss of virtually all courthouse records
- DeKalb (1837) 1913–loss of Clerk’s records, including naturalization, some marriages, most probate, and nearly all civil records
- Dubois (1818) 1839–loss of all courthouse records (some court and deed records were re-recorded)
- Jasper (1838) 1865–loss of all court and marriage records (a few were re-recorded)
- Jennings (1817) 1859–loss of some records; 1950s– man-made loss of civil complete order books and naturalization records by mold due to poor storage
- Johnson (1823) 1847 and 1874–loss of original papers; marriage book one begins July 1830, but a few marriage licenses date from 1823.
- Knox (1790) 1814–loss of all deed and mortgage records
- Madison (1823) 1880–loss of marriage, court, and probate records; 1950s–disposal of commissioner and tax records
- Martin (1820) 1876–loss of some tax and commissioner records
- Miami (1834) 1843–loss of all court and marriage records (deed and commissioner records generally survived)
- Morgan (1822) 1876–loss of some court, probate, tax, and commissioner records
- Noble (1836) 1843–loss of all courthouse records; 1859, loss of all court, probate, and marriage records
- Parke (1821) 1833–loss of all courthouse records (some court and deed records re-recorded)
- Porter (1836) 1934–loss of original court and probate files, most contemporaneous to the fire, but some earlier files were destroyed
- Randolph (1818) 1955–disposal of court and probate ledgers, including naturalization records (court order books were not destroyed)
- Spencer (1818) 1833–loss of most records (some court, probate, marriage and deed records survived)
- Sullivan (1817) 1850–loss of virtually all courthouse records (some deed and one probate ledger survived)
- Vermillion (1824) 1923–loss of some commissioner and tax records
- Warren (1827) 1907–loss of commissioner records (many re-recorded) and tax records
Thompson, Donald E. Preliminary Checklist of Archives and Manuscripts in Indiana Repositories. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Society, 1980. (Family History Library book 977.2 A3p) This book contains lists of manuscripts, the counties they relate to, and the addresses of the libraries and archives that house them. It is arranged alphabetically by county and archive.
Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards
Computers with modems are important tools for obtaining information from selected archives and libraries. In a way, computer networks themselves serve as a library. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial on-line services help family history researchers to:
- Locate other researchers.
- Post queries.
- Send and receive e-mail.
- Search large databases.
- Search computer libraries.
- Join in computer chat and lecture sessions.
You can find computerized research tips and information about your ancestors from Indiana in a variety of Internet sources at local, state, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost. Addresses on the Internet are subject to frequent changes. The following sites are important gateways that link you to many more network and bulletin board sites:
FamilySearch™ Internet Genealogy Service
At this site you can access the Family History Library Catalog, Ancestral File, International Genealogical Index, SourceGuide, lists of Family History Centers, web sites related to family history, and lists of researchers interested in similar genealogical topics. You can also learn about and order Family History Library publications.
Cyndi Howell’s List
This list has more links to other Indiana genealogical sites and describes more resources than any other site on the Internet.
This is a cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country.
This useful list of sites and resources includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list.
Helm’s Genealogy Toolbox: Indiana
This site lists family associations, maps, libraries, and county genealogical societies.
For further details about using computer networks, bulletin boards, and news groups for family history research, see the "Archives and Libraries" section of the United States Research Outline.
Most family history centers have computers with FamilySearch. These computers have access to on-line services, networks, and bulletin boards. You can use on-line services at many public libraries, college libraries, and private locations.
You can find Indiana archive directories, handbooks, and inventories by looking in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
INDIANA- ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
INDIANA, [COUNTY]- ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES