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Explore the Indiana State Archives
October is Archives Month in Indiana and across the nation. For more information on Indiana's events and celebrations, please visit the Indiana Archives Month page, sponsored by the State Historic Records Advisory Board.
Harlow Lindley, Indiana's First State Archivist
The Indiana State Archives celebrated its centennial on October 1, 2013. The State Archives first began operating under a reorganization fund of the Indiana State Library on a part-time basis in 1906, with Harlow Lindley as the first State Archivist. In 1913 Enrolled House Bill 254 provided funding to operate full time as the Division of Indiana History and Archives effective October 1, 1913. The Indiana General Assembly sought to preserve and protect the most valuable records of Indiana Government through the creation of a State Archives.
A century later, the Indiana State Archives continues to serve the noble goal of the preservation of the records of Hoosier government. The State Archives maintains approximately 100,000 cubic feet of permanent records. Collections include the official papers of every previous governor, from territorial governor William Henry Harrison in 1800 to Mitchell E. Daniels. The State Archives also maintains the original House and Senate journals and acts from the territorial period to present day, as well as Indiana Supreme Court & Territorial Court records. Genealogists and researchers contact the State Archives to review records from closed state institutions, state agencies, and Hoosier veteran records from the territorial period through today.
“To provide access and preserve the official records of Indiana is a high responsibility, and it’s great to honor the efforts of all those involved in this endeavor over the last 100 years. There is much more than can and needs to be done to improve access and safeguard Indiana historical records, but today we celebrate the fact that they still exist,” said Jim Corridan, Indiana’s eleventh State Archivist and the third Director of the Commission on Public Records.
For more information, please call 317-591-5222.
On Thursday, August 12, 2010 the State Archives participated in Hoosier Heritage Day at the Indiana State Fair! Special thanks to volunteer Sandy Ricketts for organizing our exhibit, which illustrated the early years of the Indiana State Fair, from 1852-1892. Assisting Patron Services Director Alan January, our wonderful volunteers worked the event throughout the 90 degree day talking to Fair-goers from all over the Midwest! Thanks to Barb Wood, Sandy Ricketts, Dale Armstrong, Barbara and Dick Gibson, Jennefer Burk, Linda Maguire, Judy Ditzler, and Boyd Obermeyer for sharing your time and knowledge of Indiana’s heritage.
The Indiana State Archives is thrilled to announce our new online Digital Archive.
This invaluable new resource is the result of a cooperative partnership made possible by a grant from the Library of Congress and administered by the Washington State Archives. Other partners include the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, and Oregon.
Volunteers from the Friends of the Indiana State Archives have been processing and indexing records for more than fifteen years. Their hard work and dedication has had a positive impact on archivists and researchers who utilize Indiana's archival resources. Using the databases within the Archives meant that archivists could instantly locate records for patrons instead of spending hours plowing through old volumes of often un-indexed records.
Despite budget constraints, archivists have been raising awareness of the collections through public presentations, exhibits, and publications. Now the new online Digital Archive is available to anyone with access to the Internet. Patrons can search the indexes and order records via email online.
The First Round
Presently, the State Archives has made several record collections available online. These include: naturalization records, land records, prisoner records, Marion County court records, wills, and military records.
Our Military Collections include indexes of the World War I Gold Star and Book of Merit Recipients. Both collections refer to the original correspondence and on occasion, photographs submitted by the soldier or his or her family. The files offer far more information than the brief paragraphs found in books first published by the Indiana Historical Commission after the Great War. Other Military collections currently available include the Mexican War and indexes to the files of the Indiana Veteran’s Home in Lafayette, Indiana.
One of our more unique collections is the 1853 Registers of Negroes and Mulattos. Individual counties maintained these registers. The Archives holdings include Clark, Franklin, Orange, Switzerland, Vigo, and Ohio Counties. Additionally, the Archives maintains the 1805 Clark County Slave Register, which is available online. An enhanced feature of this particular collection allows patrons to click on the links and view the images on their computer.
Also available online is the index to the Admission Record of the Julia E. Work Training School in Plymouth, Indiana. This industrial training school, an alternative to orphanages and reform schools, was also known as Brightside. The register contains brief but invaluable information about each of the children placed in the home. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home index has also moved from our old website to the new Digital Archive. The Fort Wayne and the LaPorte-Winamac Land Office Databases have also moved to the new site. These two favorites will be joined in the future by the Vincennes Land Office and the Crawfordsville-Terre Haute Land Office.
This is just the beginning! Soon the Indiana State Archives will be adding more than 200,000 Hoosier Civil War records. Our new National Guard and Early Military Records Databases are also in the final stages. Additional Naturalization records will be updated upon completion, including Marion and Saint Joseph Counties.
The Indiana Supreme Court has generously partnered with the Indiana State Archives in sponsorship of a new database of Indiana Supreme Court cases.
The cases begin with the first session in 1817 following Indiana’s entrance into the Union on December 11, 1816. Territorial Cases will soon be added. Researchers will notice some overlapping of court proceedings between the territorial period and statehood. These historic cases involve freedom suits, Native American land claims, railroads, numerous criminal appeals, and legal disputes.
The Staff of the Commission on Public Records, particularly the Indiana State Archives, would like to express extreme gratitude to Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Dr. Elizabeth Osborn, Ph.D., the projects’ manager Lindsey Borschel, Web Coordinator, and the database’s designer George Wen, System Analyst for making this endeavor a reality. Generations of legal, historical and genealogical researchers will appreciate their efforts for decades to come.