In early June 2016, Ancestry made available on their subscription website
tens of thousands of digital images of vital records from the State of
Birth Records: 1907-1940
Marriage Records: 1958-2005
Death Records: 1899-2011
While these records represent a rich and valuable resource for Indiana
genealogists, it isn’t quite as good as it sounds. For starters, this is a
monumental project, and it takes considerable time to put all the records
online. When all is said and done, however, it is expected that 17,000,000
records from these three sources will be available online. Some of the
records are up now and others are being added until the project is complete.
Those records already online are searchable.
The downside of searching these records is the fact that information in
search fields is no better than the information recorded on the document or
the indexing done by volunteers. I searched for three known records and the
results are noted below:
The birth record of my mother-in-law, Elizabeth Pauline Skirvin, who was
born April 12, 1922, in Monroe County, Indiana, to Ross and Mary
(Kleindorfer) Skirvin was found without incident using her name alone.
I was unable to locate my marriage record in Monroe County when I searched
by my name. When I searched again under my husband’s name, it pulled up
readily. There were several reasons why I couldn’t find the record using
my name: (1) the indexer misspelled both my first and last name-Watson was
substituted for Matson–as it was written by the clerk; and (2) the clerk
misspelled my last name by transposing two letters.
The death record for my maternal grandfather, James Montague Blankenship who
died in Marion County in 1957 at the home of my parents required more
information than just a name to locate. Although his name was indexed
correctly based on the information noted on the document, the middle name on
the document was recorded incorrectly. My mother was the informant.
Perhaps she provided incorrect information or, perhaps, it was simply
Now that you are aware of the caveats of using these wonderful resources,
you should have lots of fun searching for answers to some of your tough
questions. Remember to search creatively, and if you don’t find what you
are looking for on one day, try again later. Last but not least, don’t give
up just because you may not be a subscriber to Ancestry. Lots of libraries, including the Monroe County History Center Research Library, offer free access to Ancestry for their patrons.
Post Submitted by Randi Richardson (Library Volunteer)