Local History & Genealogy Research Guides
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.
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.
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.
Our collection includes cemetery indexes and books with tombstone inscriptions for most Delaware County cemeteries.
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
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.
Do you live in an interesting or historic home? Researching the history of a house in Muncie is a popular endeavor at the Local History & Genealogy Center. We have several resources to assist you with your research including city directories, deeds, newspapers, court documents, census records and more.
Visit the Assessor's Office at the Delaware County Courthouse. You want to establish a 'chain of title' using plat books (Sidwell maps)and property record books. The Auditor's office will have the transfer and tract books as well as Sidwell maps.
Visit the Local History & Genealogy Center
After you have obtained all the records available, you will be ready to start your research at the Local History & Genealogy Center. A good place to begin would be the Muncie city directories. They can be searched by address. After you have the names of former owners, you may also want to search census records, deeds, obituaries, birth, death and marriage indexes. In addition, you could search our cemetery indexes, tax and naturalization records, county histories, yearbooks and family files.
We have Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Muncie on microfilm that may have information on the architecture of the house.
Your house history can be a fun and interesting topic toresearch. Your research may turn up a little, a lot or somewhere in between.
Ancestry.com is an online database of historical records to help people research their genealogy. It includes records like birth and death certificates, census, immigration, tax, wills, military, etc. Muncie Public Library has a subscription to Ancestry Library Edition, which does slightly differ from Ancestry.com. Proquest, who partnered with Ancestry.com to create the Library edition, has put together a helpful guide. Library cardholders can access the site from home through their account until December 2021. Those who do not have a library card will have to visit one of the libraries in the Muncie Public Library system to access AncestryLibrary.com.
Fold3 is a database that researchers can use to search the original military records as well as stories, photos, and personal documents of those who have served in the armed forces. Records included in the database originate from the U.S. National Archives, the National Archives of the U.K., and other international records. Although Muncie Public Library does not have a subscription to Fold3 currently, the Delaware County Historical Society does. You can call the organization at 765-282-1550 to inquire about this service.
Indiana Archives and Records Administration (IARA) holds military records from the territorial period in Indiana’s history up to 1988. Early records can be useful for genealogical purposes and can include biographical information on the soldier while later records show proof of benefits or military funerals. The records at IARA also have information on general military history within the state of Indiana.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the organization that holds all military records on behalf of the federal government. Indexed military records can be found on the National Archives’ Access to Archival Databases or the National Archives’ Online Public Access site. Declassified, non-digital records can be ordered online from NARA or the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.
Note: Military records for conflicts after World War II may still be classified and unavailable to researchers.
An important part of understanding your ancestor’s service within the armed forces is also learning some history about our involvement in warfare whether it began prior to the establishment of the United States with the Native Americans or more recently with the Vietnam War. We have a number of histories within our catalog at www.munciepubliclibrary.org.Try an advanced subject search using the name of the war that you want to research encompassed in quotes.
You can also find a publication containing an alphabetical list of battles from 1754-1900 on the Internet Archive.
If you are a complete newcomer to genealogy research and want to find military records for ancestors, a good place to start would be general handbooks explaining the types of records, where they are held, and how to find and obtain them. Here are some suggestions from the Carnegie collection.
Gathered in this volume is source information for the National Archives and its adjuncts; historical institutions and archives of the armed forces; the Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Administration); state archives, libraries and historical organizations; and such patriotic organizations as the Daughters of the American Revolution. Extensive bibliographic listings of published sources for the United States in general and published sources for each state are also included.
Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, 3rd ed. edited by Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka
Military Service Records at the National Archives compiled by Trevor K. Plante
Both of the above books are publications from the National Archives detailing how Military Service Records can be obtained. They would be very helpful for new genealogists or even for more experienced genealogists who aren’t sure how to find and request military records.
Searching American Military Records by Fran Carter
This is another good resource for military records that includes holding organizations beyond the National Archives as well as lists and small summaries of wars fought, indexes and registers, veterans homes, and much more! We also have resources for specific wars in United States history like the American Revolution or the Civil War. Be sure to check out our catalog and search for “military records.” Change the library location to Carnegie Library to see what we have in our local history and genealogy collection.