Research & Learn
Indiana Research Links. Family History Basics. County Line Formation Map.
Resources for your Research.
Indiana Marriage Records
- Ancestry.com (can gain access at your local library)
- Contact the County where they were married to request a copy.
Birth & Death Certificates
- Remember that government vital records were only required around 1900 so will need to look for bible records, obituaries, cemetery records or other types of documentation once you get back a few generations.
Ancestry.com (Subscription or Library Edition at your local library for free)
- Indiana Death Certificates, 1899 – 2011 –> Click HERE
- Indiana Birth Certificates, 1907 – 1940 –> Click HERE
- Contact County Health Dept where born or died.
Indiana WILLS & Probate Records (FREE at local libraries)
- They have them for other states as well and you can find them by clicking SEARCH / then CARD CATALOG / In the key word box, type the STATE where the death certificate will be located + “Wills” +”Probate” (example: “Indiana Wills Probate”)
- Once in the database, you can Search the Wills by name and County, but it will ONLY show the Wills. There are many more probate records available to browse.
- You MUST click on the BROWSE THIS COLLECTION button, search for the County, and then start looking for the Probate Order Books in the year that your ancestor died. Hopefully there will be an index!
- I’ve even prepared a VIDEO for you to watch me as I work my way around the collection:
African-American Settlers in Indiana
- Indiana Historical Society: Indiana Black Settlements – This resource gives a county-by-county resource listing for help in researching the earliest black settlers in the state of Indiana.
- ACPL Genealogy Center, Fort Wayne, IN. Indiana’s African American Settlements. This is a searchable database that is part of a larger study of Indiana’s African American settlements.
- Indiana African American Genealogy Group(iaagg.org) Resources page.
- Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Fall 2013, Volume 25, Number 4, “The Truth About Joshua Lyles: A Free African American Settler of Lyles Station, Indiana”, pgs 32 – 37
- Retro Indy: African American Settlements. Summary of three original articles published in the Indianapolis Star.
- The Indiana Junior Historian, Febuary, 1993 issue published by The Indiana Historical Bureau. “Black Settlers in Indiana.” This is a great resource that includes excerpts from some letters written in the 1830’s.
- NPR.org. Code Switch. “In Indiana, The Last Remnants of America’s Free African-American Settlements.” This includes a four-minute audio of the broadcast and some photos.
FREE Access Resources
- Indiana marriages can be found in the Digital Collections
County public libraries in area where ancestors resided
- Check to see if have any digitized collections available online
- Also, check to see if your own Local Library has digital access
- Fold3(military site)
- INGenWeb – Check for links to Indiana research –> Click HERE
Indiana State Library to check in Collections by County
Allen County Public Library – Genealogy Center
Internet Archive gives access to digitized books
Google Books gives access to digitized books
- Use parenthesis to help narrow down the searches!
- books.google.com –> Click HERE
Hoosier State Chronicles gives access to digitized newspapers
Indiana Magazine of History
- Search for articles that might contain stories on your Ancestors using Search box in upper right-hand corner.
- Scholarworks.iu.edu –> Click HERE
Indiana Historical Society
- Search for records that include your ancestor or details on the area where they lived.
- indianahistory.org –> Click HERE
- Research military, naturalization, court records, and institution records.
- in.gov/iara –> Click HERE
Books (available online)
Gore triangle in southeastern corner of Indiana.
- This website has indexes available to search by name. There is a fee if you want to retrieve a copy of a document. GREAT RESOURCE for index information!
- Indiana’s Gore – Genealogy Resources — Click HERE
Montgomery County IN Probate Record.
- Ancestry currently does not have any probate records for Montgomery County available online, but I was able to view the Probate records on FamilySearch.org. In this video, I share how I was able to locate it.
- Montgomery County IN Probate Box Records available on FamilySearch by Michele Kerr (Youtube video) –> Click HERE
History of South Central Indiana.
- This is a section online from Looking at History: Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest Region, 1600 to 1950. It starts with a great history of Native Americans living in Indiana in the 1600’s and is an excellent resource to learn more about our pioneer ancestors.
- History of South Central Indiana –> Click HERE
Monroe County Field Notes – Monroe County, Indiana
- Monroe County Field Notes is a virtual dig to uncover stories about 19th-century landmarks and people, from 1816–1876. It’s fun and free to get involved and your research will help the Monroe County Library diversify the community’s history!
- Monroe County Field Notes –> Click HERE
Family History Research BASICS
If you are new to Family History Research, we have some tips!
Where do I even begin?
Hello! If you have NEVER done any family history research but are curious about how to get started, this next section is a perfect starting place for you.
I’m Michele Kerr. I have been the staff genealogist for The Society of Indiana Pioneers since 2006. My background in family history research goes back a lot farther than that to when my son was in 4th grade. He came home one day and needed a family tree. As of January, 2022, he is 31 years old, which tells you just how long it has been since we dove into the whole family history research thing. But once I got started, there was not stopping!
Besides being the staff genealogist for SIP (Society of Indiana Pioneers), I have my own website where I have been adding tips on family history research for quite a while. As I began to figure out how I could pass on this information to prospective members of SIP, it just seemed to make sense to also make this content available here on the SIP website.
(Full disclosure: I’m not looking to sell anyone anything. I’ve been helping prospective members get started in their research for a long time and have a lot of great tips to share!
A few years ago, I produced an online video-based class with the goal to help people get started with their own family history research. It was shared with a group of digital scrapbookers. I am making it accessible to you as well, but don’t worry… The sections I am sharing are ONLY directed towards family history research basics and they are all FREE to prospective SIP applicants.
This section will include both reading sections and video sections and I’m hoping you will enjoy your own journey into your family history research!
So, again… if you are at the very beginning of your own journey to learn about your family’s history, you are in the right place!
To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root. – Chinese Proverb
Heritage Video Series
In my Family History Basics Video Series, we will discover how easy it is to learn about our families, several generations back. We will explore how to set up a family tree (for free) using Ancestry.com and begin to use the Search tools in Ancestry.com, NewspaperArchive.com and Fold3 (a military website.)
#2 - GATHERING _ Setting up an Ancestry Tree
As you begin your exploration of your own family’s history, a family tree is a great place to save everything you find: pictures, documents, and vital records. In this video, I will take you to the special area inside of Ancestry.com where you can set up your own family tree (for free and without a credit card) and show you around a bit.
#3 - GATHERING _ Adding Documents & Searching in Ancestry
If you have seen those Ancestry.com commercials and curious how to use such a program, you are in the right place! In this video, I will show you a way to get your feet wet as we take a free look around Ancestry.com, add documentation to a family tree and also take a look at the free databases available to us — (you guessed it!) all free!
It’s a great way to get started, with no commitments, and then decide if and when you might like to pay for a subscription or take advantage of what might be available at your local library.
#4 - GATHERING _ Researching Military & Online Newspapers
We have a great base with our family tree in place and a few documents added, but what if your ancestor served in the military or you can’t locate any vital records? Military documents are a rich resource because they add to a family member’s story as well as possibly give us more clues to their family details. If you have ever read an obituary, you can agree that digitized newspapers are another valuable resource for finding all sorts of great stories about our families.
In this video, you can follow along as I do a little exploring in the subscription-based Fold3 and NewspaperArchive, all through my local library using my library card barcode (and all in my own home.) These two sights are amazing as they bring those fragile documents to us in their digitized glory — all searchable, which is the key.
#5 - GATHERING _ Researching Google Books & Find-a-Grave
At the risk of sounding kind of book-nerdy, I love everything about books, especially those that give us a peek into our own family’s stories. If you have ever wanted to visit the cemeteries where your families are interred but distance has been a road-block, then Find-a-Grave might be a great way to get there without driving.
In this video, you can follow along as I do a little searching around in Google Books, a wonderful resource for digitized old books, and Find-a-Grave website. Both are well-deserving of your time. There are so many stories out there just waiting for you to begin your exploration!