One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of genealogy is locating original records that document your ancestors’ lives. Finding original marriage records are no exception to this.
Unlike birth and death records, marriage records in Indiana date back to the establishment of each individual county. To this day, original marriage records are kept by the Clerk of Courts office in each of the 92 counties. If you know the date and place of your ancestors’ marriage, the research is easy: contact the county and request the record. What if you don’t know when or where your ancestors were married? What if the county where they got married doesn’t seem to have the record? Where do you go next?
One thing to keep in mind is that marriage records are actually marriage license records. The county where the couple got the license is the county where the records will be today. However, a couple may have obtained the licenses from one county and got married in a different county. So knowing where the marriage ceremony was performed may not lead you directly to the marriage records.
Although there is no statewide index or database to marriage records that covers all the counties for all the years, you do have several options available online and free of charge to help you track down those illusive marriage records:
1) Indiana Marriages 1780-1992 provided by Family Search
This database provides an index to marriages for all but four counties, although the dates covered vary by county.
2) Indiana Marriages through 1850 provided by the Indiana State Library
This database provides an index to all marriages in Indiana up to and including 1850.
3) Indiana Marriages 1811-2007 hosted by Family Search and indexed by the Indiana Genealogical Society
This database provides an index to marriages for all but three counties, although the dates covered vary by county. As an added plus, digital images of the actual records have been added to most of the entries, allowing you to obtain a copy of the marriage record right from your computer.
4) Indiana Marriages 1958-2012 provided by the Indiana State Library from information obtained from the Indiana State Department of Health
This database provides an index to all 92 counties for the years covered, although some small gaps in coverage do exist. Try searching by last name only if your initial search does not return the expected results.
5) Marriage License Public Lookup, 1993-present provided by the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration
This database provides an index to all 92 counties, and records are continually added.
If you have exhausted these online resources and still can’t find the records you want, you can contact the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library via the Ask a Librarian form to request a search of the print indexes to marriage records and the marriage records on microfilm. Lookups are provided free of charge, although there is a small fee for photocopies.
This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Genealogy Librarian Jamie Dunn. For more information about genealogy or the library, please visit http://library.in.gov.