Historical Facts of Indiana Counties

Indiana County records can vary vastly from county to county in either quality and quantity. Some have been carefully preserved while others have been significantly misused and neglected. A number of Indiana records have merely vanished. For genealogists carrying out research in Indiana you will find no valuable replace to have an on-site search of county court house records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Indiana has 92 counties. Each county serves as the local level of government within its borders. County government in Indiana consists of two bodies, the county council and the commissioners. Indiana State Government is located in Indianapolis.

Indiana Counties

Indiana began microfilming records during the Great Depression. It was one of the first states to do so. Naturalization records, court records, slave registers, Revolutionary War pension files, wills, vital records, and more were recorded for 16 counties by the WPA around that time.

The Indiana State Library placed several court records and vital records on microfilm during the 1950s and 1960s. They worked with the Genealogical Society of Utah, Indiana Historical Society, Commission on Public Records, and Indiana Historical Bureau to compile those records.

Unfortunately, there have been fires in 28 of the 92 courthouses in the state of Indiana. Some of them have been damaged or destroyed multiple times. For example, a fire in 1814 at the Knox county courthouse destroyed all of its records.

The county recorder’s office holds land records, while probate records and other court documents can be find in the circuit court clerk’s office. Many of the earliest records in counties that were gained as part of purchases from Native Americans can be found in each courthouse in the form of county commissioner’s records. Those records may include: Names of Road Supervisors, Payments Made to Individuals, Appointments for Tax Collectors, Business Licenses, Naturalization Applications, Early Justice of the Peace Dockets.

Although records may go back quite far, they may be incomplete. Many records may have been lost, damaged, destroyed, or the events may never have been recorded in the first place.

The links in the table below link to county and city government offices and is limited to government-maintained websites. If you know of a Indiana county that has an official government web site but is not linked, or if the link is in error, please contact us so we may edit our database.

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Adams February 7, 1836 Adams New Purchase Decatur
Allen December 12, 1823 Delaware New Purchase Fort Wayne
Bartholomew January 8, 1821 Jackson County and Delaware New Purchases Columbus
Benton February 18, 1840 Jasper County Fowler
Blackford February 15, 1838 Jay County Hartford City
Boone January 29, 1830 Adams and Wabash New Purchases Lebanon
Brown February 3, 1836 Bartholomew,
Jackson and
Monroe counties
Nashville
Carroll January 17, 1828 Adams and Wabash New Purchases Delphi
Cass December 18, 1828 Non-county Area Logansport
Clinton February 3, 1801 Knox County Frankfort
Clark February 12, 1825 Owen,
Putnam,
Sullivan and
Vigo counties
Jeffersonville
Clay January 29, 1830 Adams and Wabash New Purchases Brazil
Crawford January 29, 1818 Orange,
Harrison and
Perry counties
English
Daviess (No website) February 2, 1818 Knox County Washington
Dearborn March 7, 1803 Clark County, IN; Hamilton County, OH Lawrenceburg
Decatur December 12, 1821 Delaware New Purchase Greensburg
Delaware February 7, 1835 Non-county Area Muncie
De Kalb January 26, 1827 Delaware New Purchase Auburn
Dubois December 20, 1817 Perry and
Pike counties
Jasper
Elkhart January 29, 1830 Non-county Area Goshen
Fayette January 29, 1818 Franklin Wayne County and Non-county Area Connersville
Floyd January 2, 1819 Clark and Harrison Counties New Albany
Fountain (No website) December 20, 1825 Montgomery County and Wabash New Purchase Covington
Franklin February 1, 1811 Clark,
Dearborn and
Knox counties
Brookville
Fulton February 7, 1836 Non-county Area Rochester
Gibson April 1, 1813 Knox County Princeton
Grant February 10, 1831 Madison County, Adams New Purchase and unorganized lands Marion
Greene January 5, 1821 Sullivan County and
Non-county Area
Bloomfield
Hamilton January 8, 1823 Delaware New Purchase Noblesville
Hancock March 1, 1828 Madison County Greenfield
Harrison December 1, 1808 Clark and Knox County Corydon
Hendricks December 20, 1824 Delaware and Wabash New Purchase Danville
Howard December 31, 1821 Delaware New Purchase Kokomo
Henry January 15, 1844 unorganized lands New Castle
Huntington February 2, 1832 Adams New Purchase and unorganized lands Huntington
Jackson January 1, 1816 Clark, Jefferson and Washington Brownstown
Jasper February 7, 1835 Wabash New Purchase Rensselaer
Jay February 7, 1835 Adams New Purchase Portland
Jefferson November 23, 1810 Clark, Dearborn and Knox County Madison
Jennings December 27, 1816 Jackson and Jefferson Counties Vernon
Johnson December 31, 1823 Delaware New Purchase Franklin
Knox June 6, 1790 Original County Vincennes
Kosciusko February 7, 1835 unorganized lands Warsaw
Lake February 2, 1832 unorganized lands Crown Point
Lawrence January 28, 1837 Newton and Porter Counties Bedford
La Grange January 29, 1832 St. Joseph and unorganized lands LaGrange
La Porte January 7, 1818 Orange LaPorte
Madison January 4, 1823 Delaware New Purchase Anderson
Morgan December 31, 1821 Delaware New Purchase Martinsville
Miami February 7, 1835 St. Joseph County Peru
Marion January 17, 1820 Daviess and Dubois Counties Indianapolis
Monroe January 30, 1833 Cass County and unorganized lands Bloomington
Marshall January 14, 1818 Orange County Plymouth
Martin (No website) December 21, 1822 Wabash New Purchase Shoals
Montgomery December 31, 1822 Delaware and Wabash New Purchase Crawfordsville
Newton December 8, 1859 Jasper County Kentland
Noble February 7, 1835 unorganized lands Albion
Ohio (No website) January 4, 1844 Dearborn County Rising Sun
Orange February 1, 1816 Gibson, Knox and Washington Paoli
Owen December 21, 1818 Daviess and Sullivan County Spencer
Parke January 9, 1821 Vigo County Rockville
Perry November 1, 1814 Gibson and Warrick Counties Tell City
Pike December 21, 1816 Gibson and Perry County Petersburg
Porter February 7, 1835 unorganized lands Valparaiso
Posey November 11, 1814 Warrick County Mount Vernon
Pulaski February 7, 1835 unorganized lands Winamac
Putnam December 31, 1822 Owen County and Wabash New Purchase Greencastle
Randolph January 10, 1818 Wayne County Winchester
Ripley December 27, 1816 Dearborn and Jefferson County Versailles
Rush December 31, 1821 Delaware New Purchase Rushville
Scott January 29, 1830 unorganized lands Scottsburg
Shelby January 12, 1820 Clark, Jefferson, Jennings and Washington Counties Shelbyville
St. Joseph December 31, 1821 Delaware New Purchase South Bend
Spencer January 10, 1818 Perry and Warrick Counties Rockport
Starke February 7, 1835 St. Joseph County and unorganized lands Knox
Steuben February 7, 1837 unorganized lands Angola
Sullivan December 30, 1816 Knox County Sullivan
Switzerland October 1, 1814 Dearborn and Jefferson County Vevay
Tippecanoe January 20, 1826 Wabash New Purchase and unorganized lands Lafayette
Tipton January 15, 1844 Adams New Purchase and unorganized lands Tipton
Union January 5, 1821 Parts of Fayette, Franklin and Wayne counties Liberty
Vanderburgh January 7, 1818 Gibson,
Posey and
Warrick counties
Evansville
Vermillion January 2, 1824 Parke County and Wasbash New Purchase Newport
Vigo January 21, 1818 Sullivan County Terre Haute
Wabash March 1, 1835 Adams New Purchase and unorganized lands Wabash
Warren March 1, 1827 Adams New Purchase Williamsport
Warrick March 9, 1813 Knox County Boonville
Washington December 21, 1813 Clark and Harrison Counties Salem
Wayne November 27, 1810 Clark, Dearborn and Knox Counties Richmond
Wells February 17, 1837 Adams New Purchase Bluffton
White April 1, 1834 Wabash New Purchase and unorganized lands Monticello
Whitley January 29, 1839 unorganized lands Columbia City


Interactive Map of Indiana Counties Formation

(Indiana maps made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company)

Indiana Extinct Counties

Indiana has counties that no longer exist. They were created by the state, provincial, or territorial governing administration. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the Nineteenth century; county boundaries have altered very little since Nineteen hundred in the vast number of states. These counties need to be investigated when you are conducting genealogy research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or consolidated with some other county.

  • Adams New Purchase: Formed in 1820 as Delaware New Purchase, renamed in 1827 and abolished in 1844
  • Delaware New Purchase: Formed in 1820 from Unorganized Land, renamed Adams New Purchase in 1827.  Some of the records may exist in Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Randolph, Ripley, Wayne and Bartholomew Counties. Portions were set apart as the entire counties of Allen County, Bartholomew County, Hamilton County, Henry County, Johnson County, Marion County, Rush County, and Shelby County. Parts of the counties of Delaware County, Hendricks County, Madison County, and Morgan County also were located in the Delaware Purchase.
  • Randolph (Old) County: Formed in 1790 from territorial St. Clair County in the Northwest Territory, became part of the Indiana Territory in 1800, absorbed by the Illinois Territory in 1809)
  • Richardville County: Formed in 1844 from Unorganized Land, renamed Howard Co in 1846
  • St Clair County: Formed in 1790 from Unorganized Land in the Northwest Territory, became part of the Indiana Territory in 1800, absorbed by the Illinois Territory in 1809
  • Wabash New Purchase: Formed in 1820 from territorial Knox County and Unorganized Land and abolished in 1835. Some early records may be found in Monroe, Owen, Vigo and Parke Counties
  • Wayne (Old) County: Formed in 1796 from Unorganized Land in the Northwest Territory which included parts of modern Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Wayne Co outside of the Northwest Territory was eliminated in 1800. In 1803 Wayne County, Indiana Territory was created from territorial Knox and St.Clair Counties as well as Unorganized Land which included parts of modern Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and most of Michigan.It was eliminated in 1805. In 1811 Wayne County was formed and becae a Indiana State County in 1816)
  • Newton (Old) County: Formed in 1835 from Unorganized Land and abolished in 1839

Indiana Counties with Burned Courthouses

The harm to Indiana courthouses tremendously has a affect on genealogists in just about every way. Not only are most of these historic structures torn from each of our lifetimes, so are the archives they stored: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they are destroyed permanently. Despite the fact that they have been placed on mircofilm, computers and film burn up too. The most heartbreaking side of this is the reason that almost all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. However, don’t assume all records were lost. A number of Indiana counties have suffered a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Boone County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Oct. 1856, Practically all records lost
  • Brown County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire, All records lost, except some clerk’s files
  • Clay County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Nov. 1851, All records lost except Recorder’s records
  • Daviess County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1879, Marriage records and index to probate and deed records were not destroyed
  • Dearborn County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Mar. 1826, Most records lost–some early marriage and will records exist
  • DeKalb County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1913, Probate records before 1860 were the worst loss
  • Dubois County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Aug. 1839, All records destroyed, except the WPA found 10 boxes of deeds from 1812
  • Franklin County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Feb. 1852, No records lost
  • Gibson County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1935, No records harmed
  • Hancoc County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in kDec. 1940, No records harmed
  • Henry County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Feb. 1864, Clerk, recorded, auditor and treasurer’s records were saved
  • Jackson County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1872? and 1881?, No records lost
  • Jasper County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1864, Clerk’s records were lost–deeds and deed indexes escaped damage
  • Johnson County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in May 1849 and Dec. 1874, Records that survived: marriages from 1830, “complete” court records from 1823; recorder’s entry book from 1822 and deeds and deed indexes from 1824
  • Knox County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Jan. 1814, Records that survived: marriages from 1807; order book from 1811; minutes book 1816-1818; orphan’s court minutes 1796-1805; minutes of common pleas court 1790-1810; general indexes to administrations from 1795-1886; deeds from 1814 and wills from 1806
  • Madison County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Dec. 1880, Lost: marriage, circuit court and common pleas court records
    Saved: wills from 1879, deeds from 1825, and general index to deeds from 1829
  • Martin County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Apr. 1876, Saved: all records of genealogical interest
  • Miami County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Mar. 1843, All records destroyed–deeds from 1828 survived
  • Morgan County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Mar. 1876, Some records destroyed. Saved: marriage and deed records from 1822, probate order books 1822-1836
  • Noble County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1843 and 1859, Most of clerk’s records were lost. Saved: marriages from 1859, deeds and deed indexes from 1836
  • Parke County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Oct. 1833, Saved: marriages from 1829; probate, deed and deed indexes from 1833
  • Porter County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Dec. 1934, All records saved
  • Spencer County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Sept. 1833, Saved: marriage and deed records
  • Sullivan County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Feb. 1850, All records destroyed except wills from 1841
  • Tipton County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in 1857, Saved: records of genealogical interest
  • Union County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Feb. 1903, Water damage to records only
  • Vermillion County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Jan. 1844, All records saved
  • Wabash County Courthouse – destroyed by Fire in Apr. 1870, Saved: treasurer’s, auditor’s, recorder’s and clerk’s records.
  • Warren County Courthouse – The Courthouse at Williamsport was destroyed by fire on Sunday, January 20, 1907. All the records but those of the commissioners were saved.