Indiana Church Records
Church records and the information they provide vary greatly, depending upon the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members (age; dates of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information; maiden name of wife; and death date), names of other relatives who were witnesses, or names of members of the congregation. The members of some churches were predominately of one nationality or ethnic group.
For the historical background of religious groups in Indiana, see:
- Rudolph, L. C. Hoosier Faiths: A History of Indiana Churches and Religious Groups. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1995. FHL Collection 977.2 K2ru. This describes general history and Indiana history, and includes biographies of significant local leaders of 50 major religious groups. It is indexed.
Transcripts of many Indiana church records, including over 175,000 indexed names, are published in:
- Heiss, Willard et al. Indiana Source Book: Genealogical Material from the Hoosier Genealogist. 10 vols. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Historical Society, Family History Section, 1977-. FHL Collection 977.2 D29h v. 1
Protestant church records are a prime source for identifying the German hometowns and villages of American immigrants, see:
- Minert, Roger P. et al. German Immigrants in American Church Records. Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 2005. FHL Collection 973 W23g v. 1. Volume 1 covers Indiana Protestant records (primarily Lutheran records).
The Family History Library has some church records and published histories. These include “pastor pocket records” kept by early circuit riders, and abstracts of numerous records of the Society of Friends. The following directories may help you find church records.
- A Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations in Indiana. 3 vols. Indianapolis, Ind.: Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL Collection 977.2 K24d; vols. 2 & 3 on filmFHL Collection 1036694. The Family History Library does not have volume one, which pertains to Marion County. Volume two is for the Calumet Region (Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties). Volume three pertains to Northern Indiana, part one: Adventist Bodies-Mennonite Bodies; part two: Methodist- Y.W.C.A. In addition to an index to churches in Indiana, there is an index of denominations that includes the name and location of the churches.
- Rudolph, L. C. and Judith E. Endelman. Religion in Indiana: A Guide to Historical Resources. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Univ. Press, 1986. FHL Collection 977.2 K23r. This book contains an excellent bibliography of published works, a list of repositories for the different denominations, and histories of congregations.
For brief histories and addresses of the various church denominations in Indiana, see pages 76–89 of:
- Robinson, Mona Robinson. Who’s Your Hoosier Ancestor?: Genealogy For Beginners. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1992. FHL Collection 977.2 D27r
Indiana Baptist Collection
Franklin College Library
101 Branigin Blvd
Franklin, IN 46131-2623
Telephone: 317-738-8162 or 1-800-852-0232
Disciples of Christ
Christian Theological Seminary Library
1000 W. 42nd St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
321 Bonnie Lane,
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Alternate mailing address:
8765 W. Higgins Rd.
Chicago, IL 60631
(Appointments in advance of visits is advised)
This archive has microfilms of German, Danish, and Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran congregations. Many of their records can be borrowed on microfilm for a small fee. You can write to ask if they have records of a specific congregation. For information about lists of some of the church records in their collection, see United States Church Records.
Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism
Roy O. West Library
11 E Larabee St
PO Box 37
Greencastle, IN 46135-0037
The Family History Library has some Indiana Methodist histories and church records.
The Moravian Archives
41 West Locust Street
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
United States of America
Phone: (610) 866-3255
Fax: (610) 866-9210
For information concerning missions to the American Indians visit Moravian Missions Among American Indians. For a map and list of missions visit Early Moravian Missions in Eastern Pennsylvania and Surrounding Areas 1740-1773.
Archives of the Presbyterian Church of Indiana
P.O. Box 287
Hanover, IN 47243-0287
The records of all four Roman Catholic dioceses in Indiana are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. These records include the dioceses of Evansville, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Gary, and Lafayette, plus the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, all to about 1916. The early church records of Vincennes, in what is now Knox County, have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library.
Diocese of Evansville
4200 N. Kentucky Ave.
P.O. Box 4169
Evansville, IN 47724-0169
Phone: (812) 424-5536
Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Archbishop Noll Catholic Center,
915 South Clinton
P.O. Box 390
Fort Wayne, IN 46801
Phone: (260) 422-4611
Diocese of Gary
Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: (219) 769-9292
Archdiocese of Indianaplolis
1400 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: (800) 382-9836
The Archdiocese includes the counties of: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Decatur, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Lawrence, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Putnam, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Switzerland, Union, Vermillion, Washington, and Wayne
Diocese of Lafayette
P.O. Box 260
Lafayette, IN 47902-0260
Phone: (765) 742-4852
The diocese includes the counties of: Benton, Blackford, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Delaware, Fountain, Fulton, Grant, Hamilton, Howard,Jasper, Jay, Madison, Miami, Montgomery, Newton, Pulaski, Randolph, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Warren, and White
St. Francis Xavier (Vincennes, Indiana). Parish Registers, 1780–1960. Microfilmed 1985. FHL Collection 1433361-65. The original records are at St. Francis Xavier Church, Vincennes, Indiana. They list baptisms, confirmations, communions, marriages, deaths, and graves of soldiers who served in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War (1835), the Mexican War, and the Civil War. These records may have information about persons from various parts of what is now Indiana and persons traveling through Vincennes.
Other microfilmed Roman Catholic records for Vincennes are also listed in the Family History Library Catalog, such as St. Thomas (1865–1984) and St. John the Baptist (1847–1947).
THE DROUIN COLLECTION:
Drouin Collection 1621-1967 at Ancestry.ca. When searching these databases, be creative in the spellings as well as the various focuses in searching for an ancestor. The French language has many possible spellings for a name, as well as there are errors in the indexing.
This French-Canadian collection has over 15 million genealogical and vital records entries; they were microfilmed by the Institut Généalogique Drouin. In Quebec, under the French Regime, there were two sets of records kept: a copy for the civil government archives and a copy for the ecclesiastical church archives. The Drouin collection is a civil copy of these entries. Please note that the cutoff date of this collection is in the early 1940s; only a small percentage of entries were covered from 1948 to 1967.
This collection is divided into six databases: 1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967 2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967, 3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954, 4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946, 5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942, and 6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941. For details about these six databases, see "The Drouin Collection: Six Databases" at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/The_Drouin_Collection:_Six_databases .
'Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records', 1695-1954: This database only contains the French Catholic parish records from the United States; in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. The types of records include baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, statements of readmission to the church, and so on. They are written mainly in French, as well as English, Latin, and Italian.
Society of Friends (Quakers)
Another library with Quaker records is:
801 National Road West
Richmond, IN 47374-4095
An important source for information about Indiana Quakers is:
- Heiss, Willard. Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana, 6 vols. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Historical Society, 1962-1977. FHL Collection 977.2 K28h; fiche FHL Collection 6051380-386. This includes records of births, marriages, deaths, removals, dismissals, and memberships.
A unique source listing many Indiana Quakers is:
- Nelson, Jacquelyn S. Indiana Quakers Confront the Civil War. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Society, 1991. FHL Collection 977.2 H2n. Appendix C lists Indiana Friends (Quakers) who served in the Civil War. For each man, it generally lists birth date, parents’ names, monthly meeting and county thereof, company, regiment, rank, and death date.
The Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog lists church records under:
INDIANA, [COUNTY]- CHURCH RECORDS INDIANA, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- CHURCH RECORDS
- Francis Godfroy (trading house-St. Joseph)
- Carey Mission
- Miami Union Baptist Church
- Wahcaconah Church