Researching Birth, Death & Marriage Records

Birth Records

Indiana counties began recording births in 1882.  However, record keeping was sporadic until 1907 when stricter laws were enacted. The State of Indiana began keeping birth records in October 1907. 

The Local History & Genealogy collection includes the WPA Index to Births for Delaware County 1882-1920. We also have birth indexes for 67 of Indiana's 92 counties, 1882-1920, on CD-ROM.

If a birth record cannot be located, you could use other sources, such as federal census records to verify a birth. For example, the 1900 federal census includes the month and the year a person was born.  All available federal census records for the entire country, are available online via AncestryLibrary.com. You can access this database at any Muncie Public Library computer lab.

If a person was born before birth records were kept, you could possibly verify a birth date by a death record, a cemetery or funeral home record, an obituary or a marriage application.

Copies of original birth records for Delaware County may be obtained from the Health Department's Vital Records Division.  

Birth records can also be obtained from the Indiana State Department of Health.

Death Records

Quite often, a family history researcher will come to Carnegie Library and ask if we have death records. Although 'original' death records are only available at the Delaware County Health Department, we have several resources that will help you find a death date.

Obituary Index

Carnegie Library has a one-of-a-kind obituary index that contains entries from 1943-2006, with new entries being added daily. There is an earlier index for newspapers 1837-1942, but please note that obituaries are rarely found in newspapers prior to the early 1900's and even later in many cases. Early obituaries are spread throughout the newpaper. "Obituary Sections" do not appear in Muncie newspapers until the late 1950's. Muncie newspapers are available on microfilm at the Carnegie Library. If an obituary does not appear in our index, you can find death dates via the Social Security Death Index, funeral home records, burial recodrs, etc.  You can also find more recent death dates on the Muncie Star Press online article archives.  We add "missed" obituaries to our index as they are found. 

Funeral Home Records

Carnegie Library has records from local funeral homes online via the Muncie/Delaware County Digital Resource Library. Most of the records in this database are from the Meeks, Parson and Faulkner mortuaries in Muncie.

Funeral home records may contain the cause of death, the cemetery in which the person was buried, parents' names, an obituary and perhaps even the death certificate.

Cemetery Indexes

Our collection includes cemetery indexes and books with tombstone inscriptions for most Delaware County cemeteries.

We have an online database of records from Beech Grove Cemetery available via the Muncie/Delaware County Digital Resource Library.

The Beech Grove Cemetery index contains over 42,000 entries. The cemetery was established in 1841, however, a cemetery office that kept records did not exist prior to 1867. This historic cemetery contains many veteran's graves, most notably from the Civil War era. The cemetery also has a Jewish and Catholic section. Many African Americans are buried there.

Social Security Death Index

The Social Security Death Index contains death dates for persons of which a death benefit was claimed. The database contains deaths from the mid 1960's to present. This resource is available online via AncestryLibrary.com.

Please note that the release of the Master Death File by the Social Security Administration is designed to prevent fraud and identity theft. For further information go to: http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/consumer/a/deathmaster.htm

Marriage Records

Carnegie Library is unique in that we house the original marriage books from the Delaware County Clerk's Office from 1827-1996.

We also have indexes to Delaware County Marriages from 1827-1996. Marriage applications, which began in 1905 in Delaware County, contain the most information of genealogical value. Some of the items listed on the record are parents' names, birth dates, addresses and occupations of the bride and groom.

Marriage records prior to 1905 contain only the names of the bride and groom and the date.

Marriage records from 1827-1957 are available on microfilm.