Family History Day 3!

You’ve mined the Internet for all you can find on your ancestor.  What should you do next?  If possible, check local repositories in person, such as the courthouse, library, and historical society.

Here’s a quick general checklist of county courthouse offices and what records they may hold:

Clerk: Marriage, divorce, wills, probates, civil and criminal proceedings, coroners’ inquests.  These books are heavy.  Check for indices in the front or back of the book.

Health Department: Birth and death records (Indiana began recording these in 1882).  There are bound indices available to check for your relative.  The Health Department clerk handles the books.

Recorder’s Office:  Land records, deeds, mortgages.


Assessor’s Office:  Tax records.

At the library, you’ll find old newspapers on microfilm and a card catalog index.  Lots of local information, maps, state info, regional info, and early American history.


The historical society holds many treasures: Documents, scrapbooks, yearbooks, old odd courthouse ledgers, ephemera of all sorts, maps, clothing, even old voting and election information!  Too much to mention here…come see for yourself!

Spookiest place I’ve ever searched for records – alone – was in the basement of the Sullivan County, Indiana, courthouse: