Finding Indiana birth, marriage and death records online

Birth, marriage and death records form the core of genealogical research. They document the basic facts of a person’s life and familial relationships. However, finding these records can be difficult, particularly as one traces one’s family farther and farther into the past. With that in mind, here are a few pointers to help you find your ancestors’ vital and marriage records:

  1. Know what records are available

Birth certificate of Bernece Tipps, 1908. “Indiana Birth Certificates, 1907-1940,” Ancestry Library Edition. Accessed January 17, 2017.

Indiana did not issue birth and death certificates until 1882 and such records were not mandatory or collected at the state level until 1907. So, before 1882, there are no government-issued certificates recording these life events.

Under Indiana law, birth records are not available to the public for 75 years to protect privacy and identity. If you need a more recent record, see the Indiana State Department of Health Vital Records division for information on how to proceed. If you are researching birth records pertinent to an adoption, see the Indiana State Department of Health for more information on obtaining records.

Marriage records, on the other hand, were issued in each county from the establishment of that county. Because couples could not get married without a marriage license, these records tend to be complete all the way back to 1816 and even a bit before that in certain counties.

  1. Know where to find records

Death certificate of Violet Edwards Commer, 1959. “Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011,” Ancestry Library Edition. Accessed January 17, 2017.

Birth and death records are available at the health department in each county as well as the Indiana State Department of Health (1907 forward). There is a small fee to obtain a copy, but a non-certified “genealogical copy” is usually cheaper and sufficient for genealogy purposes.

Marriage records are available at the clerk of court’s office in each county and also at the Indiana State Department of Health (1958 forward). Once again, there is a small fee for copies as well as the option for a non-certified copy.

If you need a copy of your own records, you will need to contact the county where the records were issued. The county of issuance is the only office permitted to certify a record.

  1. Know what research aids are available

Marriage record of Abraham Michael and Winna Smith, 1845. “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” Family Search. Accessed January 17, 2017.

There are a number of databases online that have indexes or full digital images of birth, marriage, and death records. Some are available for free, while others require a subscription or a visit to a library with an institutional subscription.

Database Title Date Range Record Type Source Availability Coverage
Indiana Birth Certificates 1907-1940 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Statewide
Indiana Births 1882-1920 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
67/92 counties
Indiana Death Certificates 1899-2011 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Statewide
Indiana Death Index 1882-1920 Index FamilySearch Online 67/92 counties
Indiana Deaths 1882-1920 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
67/92 counties
Indiana Marriages 1810-2001 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1811-2007 Full records FamilySearch Online Not statewide
Indiana Marriage Certificates 1958-2005 Full records Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1780-1992 Index FamilySearch Online Not statewide
Indiana Marriage Index 1800-1941 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages Early 1800s-1850 Index Indiana State Library Online Statewide
Indiana Compiled Marriages 1802-1892 Index Ancestry Library Edition In library/
subscription
Not statewide
Indiana Marriages 1958-2013 Index Indiana State Library Online Statewide
Marriage License Public Lookup 1993-present Index Indiana Office of Judicial Administration Online Statewide

A list of these databases is also available as a downloadable PDF on the Indiana State Library’s Indiana County Research Guides page.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes… Marriage Records?

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? Continue reading

Evernote Assists Genealogists in Tracking Research

Genealogy remains one area of research where the latest trends in technology are often overlooked, especially in the area of digital organization. Family historians utilize searchable databases, internet searches, and digitization projects, but overlook one very powerful tool of organization: Evernote. In the search for an elusive ancestor or lost records, genealogists often amass a large amount of records or documents in both digital and print form. This collection of records can be gathered and archived with Evernote, a free, web-based downloadable program that allows users to collect and organize all their documents in one place.  Evernote has emerged as a clear winner for genealogy research, “It’s no exaggeration to say that this tool will change your research life. Evernote gives you a place to organize all your genealogical data,” stated Kerry Scott in the November 2015 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Evernote

Continue reading

Genealogy Division Provides ‘Family Search’ Service

The Indiana State Library Genealogy Division has many resources and services to make your family history search easier and more productive. An often overlooked and little known service is the ability to order microfilm from Family Search and view it at the Indiana State library. The library acts as a Family Search Affiliate location. Family Search’s microfilm ordering service is your gateway to a vast collection of genealogical and historical records.
familysearch

Family Search is the world’s largest repository of free genealogical records and is managed by the famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has amassed billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records of genealogical significance from over 130 countries. Family Search is extending access to its collections by circulating microfilms of the historic records through select public library affiliates. The Indiana State Library is one of the Family Search Affiliates. The loan is free, but there is a small shipping and handling charge for each film. To order films from Family Search, create an account with family search and select Indiana State Library Foundation, Inc. as the destination for your microfilm order. To find records and microfilm available for loan, follow the easy steps below.

  • Go to the familysearch.org and select Search and click on Catalog
  • Search Place clicking on the tab
  • Search for a location such as Indianapolis, Indiana or any other location
  • Pick a topic and select available microfilm

The Indiana State Library Genealogy Division

The Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library collects genealogy and family history materials from across Indiana and around the United States and the world. The collection includes over 80,000 books and other printed materials, over 17,000 reels of microfilm, and access to online genealogy databases such as Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3. These resources are kept in open shelving on the first floor of the library to allow for easy browsing and access by library visitors.  One of the most popular items in the collection is the indexes to Indiana birth, marriage, and death records compiled by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. These indexes cover two-thirds of the counties in Indiana and provide the book and page number of the original records, so that researchers can obtain copies of the records from county offices.  The collection also contains many other resources about Indiana, organized by county. There is information from all 92 counties. Resources include cemetery records and listings, indexes to vital records, indexes to marriage records, county histories, and other information on family history research in Indiana.

ISL_Exterior
Although the collection focuses on Indiana, there are more than just Indiana resources in the Genealogy Division. Every state is represented in the collection, although certain states are spotlighted for their connection to Indiana history and national migration patterns. Since people tended to move from east to west and from south to north, our holdings focus on the “border” and “feeder” states: those states that touch Indiana and those states where Hoosiers lived before they moved to Indiana. These states include Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. Other popular items include the indexes to passenger lists compiled by William Filby.

Genealogy_Door

Housed on the second floor of the library, the genealogy microform collection includes Indiana county records on microfilm, select records from other states on microfilm, and family and local history books on microfiche. The microfiche collection includes rare books that can be found in only a few libraries in the original print format.
Genealogy_Interior

The Indiana county records on microfilm collection contains records from all 92 counties, covering marriage records, land records, vital records, and will and probate records. These films were made from the actual records in county courthouses throughout Indiana, so that you can see the handwritten records as they originally appeared.

The Genealogy Division reference desk is staffed by genealogy librarians who are experts at answering genealogy questions and assisting with family history research. The librarians host genealogy events throughout the year, including:

  • One-on-One Genealogy Research Consultations: 3rd Saturday of each month
  • Family History Tours of the Genealogy collection
  • Genealogy and Local History Fair: 4th Saturday in October
  • Genealogy for Night Owls: After-hours research time

The Genealogy Division also answers questions via email, telephone, mail, and Ask-a-Librarian online question service.

This blog post was written by Jamie Dunn, Genealogy Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at
http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.