Prior to January 1900 when statewide registration of deaths began in Indiana, deaths were recorded at the local level by each county's health office. The WPA began to index vital records, county-by-county, for the entire state, but the agency was abolished before the project was completed. Only sixty-seven of the ninety-two counties had their birth and death records (1882-1920) and marriages (generally 1850-1920) collected. The completed county indexes are available in print at the Indiana State Library and Allen County Public Library, among others (Indiana, Ancestry's Red Book by Carol L. Maki, edited by Alice Eichholz. (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1992)).
This data set contains the WPA's indexes to the death records of most of the counties that they completed. For a list of the counties that are included in this index see below. Information that may be found in this index for each entry includes name, gender, color, age at time of death, death date, death place, source location, and source notes. With the information gathered from this index you may be able to obtain a copy of the original death record from the county health department or Division of Vital Records (address listed below). It is important to use indexes to locate original records because original records often contain more information than do their indexes.State Board of Health, Division of Vital Records
1330 West Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46207
You may also use the information gathered in this index to locate other records relating to your ancestor's death. For example, using the date and place of death you may be able to begin searching for an obituary in local newspapers. Obituaries can be great sources of death information. They usually provide details about a person's life, their family, the events leading up to their death, survivors, or place of burial. These are often details that would be difficult to learn from standard vital records. To find an obituary, you should check local and state libraries where the death took place. Usually public libraries maintain a collection of local newspapers, from the earliest times to the present. Often, state libraries will do the same for the entire state. Other types of death records to search for include cemetery and burial records and church death records.
The following counties are included in the index:
La Porte County
St. Joseph County