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Vital Records

Marriage and Divorce Records

The State Department of Health began recording marriage data in 1958. Indiana marriage records dating from 1958 to 2005 have been digitized and are available online at Ancestry.com. These digital copies must be used for genealogical purposes only. If you require an official certified copy you must obtain it from the clerk of the court in the county in which the marriage occurred. If you do not have access to Ancestry, please contact the Indiana State Archives at arc@iara.in.gov to obtain unofficial copies.

Before 1958, marriage data was collected at the county level only. Some of these records have been digitized and can be accessed for free at FamilySearch.org. This collection includes marriages from 1811 to 2007, but the data is not complete and varies by county.

If you cannot locate a digital record, the original marriage records are available at the county level with the clerk of the court. To see which counties have transferred their marriage records to the Indiana State Archives, visit the Record Series and Collections search page and search for “marriage records.”

There are several indexes to marriage records available. To search marriages before 1850, and between 1958 and 2017, utilize Indiana Legacy, provided by the Indiana State Library and the Vital Information Exchange.

The statewide marriage index for 1957 to 1992 is available on microfilm in the State Archives reading room.

Marriage license information from 1993 to the present can also be accessed through the Marriage License Public Lookup portal provided by the Indiana judicial branch.

Divorce records from 1852 to the present are maintained by the clerks of the court at the county level. Previous to the second state constitution in 1852, a divorce could only be granted as an act of the state legislature.

Birth and Death Records

The State of Indiana did not require births or deaths to be recorded until 1882, and they were not recorded by the state until 1907. For birth and death records between 1882 and 1906, researchers should contact the County Health Office where the birth occurred. A list of County Health Officials is available online through the State Board of Health.

Birth and death records for 1907 and later are available through the State Department of Health and may be ordered online. Unofficial copies of birth certificates between 1907 and 1940 and death certificates between 1899 and 2011 may be obtained on Ancestry.com. If you do not have access to Ancestry, contact the Indiana State Archives at arc@iara.in.gov to receive an unofficial copy.

The Indiana State Library has limited WPA birth and death indexes for about half of Indiana’s 92 counties available in the Genealogy Division.

For birth and death information prior to 1882, researchers should look for local newspapers and religious affiliations to which to the family might have belonged. Many historic newspapers are available through the Indiana State Library. Ancestry.com also maintains digital collections of several Indiana newspapers.

Probate records are also a good source for researching family relationships and can be located in the office of the county clerk where the legal process occurred. Some counties have transferred their probate records to the Indiana State Archives. To see the different probate records held at the Indiana State Archives, visit the Record Series and Collections page and search "probate." Some probate records for Marion County and Posey County have been indexed and can be searched by name in the Indiana Digital Archives (and the forthcoming Research Indiana Indexes online database). Probate records for some Indiana counties can be found on FamilySearch.org by conducting a records search for the particular county.

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Adoption Records

The Indiana State Archives does not have access to final adoption information. For more information, please visit the State Department of Health's website.

Court records regarding adoptions before 1941 are available in court order books at the county clerk's office, and are a matter of public record.

The State Archives has a collection of more than 10,000 files for children who were fostered through the Board of State Charities during the years 1892-1910. Additional resources are available for the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home, The Julia Work Center, and The Rose Orphans’ Home, as well as several Boards of County Children's homes. Visit the Indiana Digital Archives (and the forthcoming Research Indiana Indexes online database) to search several of these indexes online.

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