Sunday, March 11, 2012
Finding Records in Brown County, Indiana
This is a short description of where in Brown County certain records/documents can be found. Many counties in Indiana will be similar, but it will give you a sense of where to look when in another county. There are three main locations for Brown County's records - Public Library, County offices, Historical Society.
When beginning any genealogical search one is always best advised to start at the Public Library. Many county records can be found there on microfilm or on the book shelves. There are published family histories that other researchers have donated. These could save you a lot of time if you find one of your families in one of these. Then in the genealogical section you will find many indexes in book form for many of the most used county records. These can save you time also, because some county records are not indexed. The local newspaper is here also on microfilm to look up articles/obits. But don't look here first for an obit because most of our obits have been put in book form from 1918 to 1999 which will be in the genealogy section. The marriage records, deaths, births, court records, wills, guardianships, etc. are all indexed or abstracted in books at the library. It is best to start here, find your document in the index, write it down, and then pay a visit to the other two repositories.
The County offices still hold most of the old records from the county's beginnings in 1837. Located in two buildings the Brown County Courthouse and the County building you can can take the next step in your search. The Clerk's office holds the Marriage records, Will books, Court order books, etc. In the courthouse fire of 1873 only a few records were lost from 1873 in the Clerk's office. The Recorder's office holds the miscellaneous books and the deed books, although the courthouse fire of 1873 destroyed all the earlier books prior to 1873. Some of the earlier deeds have been re-recorded though depending on who was willing to come back to the Recorder's office to add their deeds back to their files. For records on early land transactions though you can still find most all of those at the Auditor's office in the Land Transfers books and Tract books which all survived the fire. The Birth and Death Records are located in the Health Dept. Although their collection is spotty especially in the earliest records when they were required to start recording births and deaths in 1882.
The last leg of your trip should include the Historical Society's Archives. That's where I come in. Our Archives contain a lot more detailed information for family researchers. Our collection includes special collections on historical subjects which is anything to do with the history of our county - railroads, festivals, military, etc. We have special collections donated by individuals that may contain some genealogy and some history which pertains to the individual's role in our county history. These may be artists, politicians, business owners. We also house the Circuit court and Probate court packets. These are envelopes with all the loose paperwork that pertains to each case. In these you might find warrants, receipts, copies of filed paperwork, legal documents, etc. If you are interested in visiting our county to do research it is best to contact either the library or the historical society. Either one can give you an idea of what our hours of operation are and our location. See our websites below.
Brown County Public Library
Brown County Historical Society