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How to Find Public Records in Indiana

Public Records Search: Indiana State Archives

The Indiana Commission on Public Records maintains a site geared specifically for Indiana archives. By visiting in.gov/icpr/archives/ researchers have access to public archival records such as state judicial, executive and legislative records as well as a vast array of other records that comprise the 25,000 cubic feet—records stemming from Indiana’s territorial days to today.

This permanent repository for state records is a treasure trove for many kinds of researchers. Firstly, these archives may be physically visited at the State Records Center—State Archives, 6440 East 30th St., Indianapolis, IN 46219. This facility is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30 and is closed for all state holidays. The site may be reached with questions at 317-591-5222 and by fax at 317-591-5324. To reach the Indiana Archives by email, send a message to arc @ icpr.in.gov.

Essentially, the Indiana State archives extend as far back as the 1790s. Among its vast holdings are War of 1812 records, Mexican War records, Black Hawk War records, Civil War records, veterans’ enrollments, WWI records, WWII records, Vietnam War records, land tracks and original plat records, education and crime records, Soldiers’ Home records, Morton telegrams, etc…Researchers have online access to the following databases: naturalization database, Indianapolis-Marion county employees, Supreme Court cases, Indian lands database, General Land Office database, etc…

To perform a database search from the main page, click on the link for databases. As a sample search, click on the naturalization database. At this page researchers may search by an Indiana county for a first and last name. Similarly, researchers may also search by subject by clicking on the “subject index.” This page is filled with links for African American Family History resources, Central State Hospital, death records, local historical societies, marriage records, photographs, prisons, prisoners, vital records, military records, maps and so forth.

Like many state archives, the Indiana Archives will not perform extensive research for individuals. They will, however spend up to one hour on each specific request and answer general information questions about the various collections in its care. Indiana State Archives will charge for out-of-state research ($10.00 per half-hour) as well as to copy any materials. Requesters will be appraised of their total fees before receiving their requests. Requested materials will be mailed upon receipt of payment. Copies of materials can also be certified for a fee of $5.00.

Of course, researchers who know what they want and where it is in the various collections and databases will require no research on the part of Archives staff and may only pay for the copied materials. The state charges .25 per page up to fifty pages. Researchers that require more than fifty pages of copies will be charged upwards of .50 per copy. Visit the website to browse photographic copies and charges for these services. All checks should be made out to the Commission on Public Records.

According to its mission statement, the state archives are:
“to accession, house, preserve, and make accessible the official records of Indiana state and local governments; to help manage and preserve their records for future generations; to provide efficient public access to these documents and supporting information; to serve as an educational and informational resource encouraging public, scholarly, and administrative research in its holdings.”
To this end, the site accomplishes a great deal and maintains a navigable site geared for researching public records and information applicable to Indiana and past and present citizens of the state.

While other sites are geared for more extensive online archival searching, Indiana’s archives are vast, but sifting for specifics is more difficult and may require the help of a staff member at the archives. However, while public records are free, research help is not, but for extensive searches, it may prove invaluable. Some state archives will not perform research even for a fee, so the available option is nice to have.

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