Indiana Court Records

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This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Indiana sil.png
the Indiana Family History Research series.
History of Indiana
Indiana Vital Records
Census Records for Indiana
Background Sources for Indiana
Indiana Maps
Indiana Land Records
Indiana Probate Records
Indiana Court Records
Indiana Tax Records
Indiana Cemetery Records
Indiana Church Records
Indiana Military Records
Indiana Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Indiana Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Indiana Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Indiana
Indiana County Resources
Map of Indiana

Indiana settlers wanted a government that was simple, democratic, and located close to the people. The county courthouse became the axis of politics and government that included a sheriff, coroner, circuit court clerk, recorder, and three county commissioners. The legal system was made up of a state supreme court, numerous circuit courts, and township justices of the peace who had jurisdiction for petty crimes and civil cases involving less than $50.

For additional information on local courts and the types of material they hold, see 'Courthouse Research in Indiana' in Genealogy (July 1974): 1-13; 'Using County Records in Writing Your Community's History' by John Newman, in Local History Today... (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1979); and 'Managing Your Research in Indiana Court Records' by John Newman, in Genealogy 62 (July 1981): 1-9. An important genealogical tool pertaining to immigrants in Indiana is An Index to Indiana Naturalization Records Found in Various Order Books of the Ninety-Two Local Courts Prior to 1907, published in Indianapolis by the Indiana Historical Society in 1981.