St. Joseph Co. Genealogical Records

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Finding St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogical Records

By Sara Allen

St. Joseph County land records

Federal land records

For the initial purchase of St. Joseph County land from the federal government by an individual, see the Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office records.

County deed records

For subsequent land transfers of St. Joseph County land:

  • 1830-present: The St. Joseph County Recorder's Office has the original copies of all county land records.
  • 1830-1900: St. Joseph County Public Library (SJCPL) has microfilmed copies of the deed records and deed indexes from 1830 to 1900. Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons should be submitted according to these guidelines. Requests must include the first and last name of the person sought and approximate date of land transaction.
    You can also borrow these deed records on microfilm from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Family History Library (FHL) for a fee; visit your local LDS Church Family History Center (FHC) to find out how.

Online maps

  • 1875 atlas: SJCPL has the 1875 St. Joseph County Atlas available on our website.
  • 1936 platbook: SJCPL has the 1936 St. Joseph County Platbook available on our website.
  • Maps of St. Joseph County towns 1867-1970: If you have a valid SJCPL library card, you may view the Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 - Digital database from home, by entering your name and library card number at the prompt. Anyone may use the Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 - Digital database in person at any SJCPL location.

St. Joseph County probate records

Will records

  • 1830-1989: The St. Joseph County Archives has the original copies of all county probate records.
  • 1830-1922: SJCPL has copies of the will records from 1830 to 1922 on microfilm. Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons should be submitted according to these guidelines.

Will indexes

  • 1830-1849: SJCPL and Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library (MPHPL) have an every-name print index to all individuals named in probate cases, including wills. Find a library near you that has this index.
  • 1830-1971: SJCPL and MPHPL have a print index to persons whose wills were probated. Search an online version of the index at the South Bend Area Genealogical Society's webpage. Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons for wills up to 1922 should be submitted to SJCPL according to these guidelines.

Estate records

  • 1830-1989: The St. Joseph County Archives has the original copies of probate records for individuals who died without a will (intestate), and for guardianships of minor children or those incapable of caring for themselves.

To borrow St. Joseph County probate records on microfilm from the FHL (for a fee), visit your local FHC.

St. Joseph County court records

The St. Joseph County Archives has the original copies of county court records.

St. Joseph County military records

Federal military records

For information about federal military records and how to access them, see the National Archives website.

Revolutionary War

  • Pension and bounty land warrent applications (selected): If you have a valid SJCPL library card, you may view selected pages of Revolutionary War pension and bounty land warrants in the HeritageQuest Online database from home, by entering your name and library card number at the prompt. Anyone may use HeritageQuest Online in person at any SJCPL location. For complete pension and bounty land warrant files, you must order the records from the National Archives.

Other wars
Access many different federal military indexes and some digitized records in the Ancestry Library Edition database which is available free at all SJCPL locations or in many other public libraries nationwide.

Local military records

Graves Registration Project 1830s-1938:
Burial information for deceased adult males (with service information for veterans) who died before 1939 and are buried in St. Joseph County. Search the index at the South Bend Area Genealogical Society's website. SJCPL can perform lookups for out-of-county patrons according to these guidelines.
Civil War

  • Pensioner's Index, 1860s-1880s: View an online index at the South Bend Area Genealogical Society's webpage. Contact the St. Joseph County Archives for copies of these records.
  • 1883 Veteran's Census: The St. Joseph County Archives has the original records. This census also includes pensioners from the War of 1812.
  • 1894 Veteran's Census: The Northern Indiana Center for History has the original records. SJCPL has copies of these records on microfilm. Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons should be submitted according to these guidelines.
  • Grand Army of the Republic: SJCPL has the Memorial Record Book of the Auten Post no. 8 (South Bend) on microfilm. Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons should be submitted according to these guidelines.
  • Regimental records: Northern Indiana Center for History has records from several Civil War regiments; most notably the 73rd Indiana Infantry. They have some records of the 48th Indiana and the 84th Company as well.

Newspaper column

  • 1941-1979: Search the online Service Notes Index to a column in the South Bend Tribune about servicemen and servicewomen from St. Joseph County. For copies of the newspaper column entries, contact SJCPL. Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons should be submitted according to these guidelines.

St. Joseph County naturalization records

  • Pre-1871: For an online index of pre-1871 naturalizations, visit the South Bend Area Genealogical Society's webpage. For copies of early naturalizations found in county court records, contact the St. Joseph County Archives.
  • 1856-1955: The Indiana State Archives has all other county naturalization records. SJCPL has a print index to the naturalization records held at the State Archives.

St. Joseph County census substitutes

  • 1890:
    • City of South Bend: SJCPL has a print index to a city census taken for portions of the city of South Bend.
    • Townships: SJCPL has county census records for 1890 for most townships on microfilm.
    • City directories: SJCPL has city directories covering South Bend and Mishawaka for 1890.

Lookup requests from out-of-county patrons should be submitted according to these guidelines.

St. Joseph County photographs

St. Joseph County vital records

See our separate webpage devoted to finding these valuable records.


Back to the Genealogy page

Contact and find out more about Local & Family History Services
Created by: Sara Allen, October 2008
Last updated by: Libby Feil, March 10, 2009

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