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Guide to St. Joseph County, Indiana ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


St. Joseph County, Indiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Indiana
Location of Indiana in the U.S.
Founded January 29, 1830
County Seat South bend
Address St. Joseph County Courthouse
101 S Main Street
South Bend, IN 46601
Phone: 219.235.9635
County Website
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
*For earlier dates,

try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries

  • Parent Counties: Formed 9 January 1830 from Cass County.
  • County Seat: South Bend [2]

Neighboring Counties

La Porte  • Starke  • Marshall  • Elkhart  • Berrien  • Cass

St. Joseph CountyLa Porte CountyPulaski CountyFulton CountyKosciusko CountyJasper CountyStarke CountyNoble CountyElhart CountyCass CountyVan Buren CountyKalamazoo CountyBerrien CountySt. Joseph CountyLa Grange CountyMarshall CountyWhitley CountyPorter CountyINSt. Joseph.JPG

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Indiana County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Indiana County Boundary Maps" (1790-1873) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss

For a list of record loss in Indiana Counties see: Indiana Counties with Burned Courthouses

St Joseph County, Indiana Resources

Business Records


For a list of cemeteries that existed and still exist in St. Joseph County, see the South Bend Area Genealogical Society's webpage for their complete listing!

St Joseph County Cemetery

Census Records

For tips on accessing St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy census records online, see: Indiana Census.

Church Records

To find more church records try a search in Family Search's Catalog. Enter place: Indiana, St. Joseph. When a list comes up there are several church sources. By putting a comma after St. Joseph, in the place name, a drop down list of each township or subject will appear. Click on the township or subject for links to more records.

Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository.

Christian Church, Walkerton
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • South Bend

For more information about these major repositories, see Indiana Church Records.

Finding More Church Records

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy Church Records in online catalogs like:

The South Bend Area Genealogical Society's website has information on these churches:

Holy Trinity Church Records

Roman Catholic Marriages

Court Records

Some court records are held in the St. Joseph County Archives Archives and Records:


Civil Records 1832-1984

Criminal Indexes: 1850's-1959

Guardians, Wards, & Minors Indexes 1830-1980

Probate Estate Indexes: 1830-1989

Mishawaka Civil Indexes: 1980-1992

Mishawaka Guardians, Wards, & Minors Indexes: 1882-1990

Mishawaka Probate Estate Indexes: 1981-1995

Traffic and Misdemeanor Indexes for South Bend 1980-1992

Traffic and Misdemeanor Indexes for St. Joseph County: 1972-1999

Traffic and Misdemeanor Indexes for Mishawaka: 1972-1999

Court Dockets

St. Joseph County Dockets: 1899-1995

Mishawaka Dockets: 1980-1995

Order Books

Circuit Court: 1832-1997

Circuit Court Probate: 1839-1995

County Court - Juvenile: 1924-1945

Court of Common Pleas: 1853-1873

Court of Common Pleas - Civil: 1853-1873

Court of Common Pleas - Probate: 1853-1873

Criminal Court: 1832-1835

Superior Court: 1910-1997

Superior Court Probate: 1921-1995

Mishawaka Superior Court: 1981-1995

Mishawaka Small Claims: 1985-1987

Mishawaka Traffic and Misdemeanor: 1991-1997

Probate Court- Estate: 1945-1999

The following restrictions are on these records:

Criminal records must be approved by the corresponding court

Inheritance, Guardianship, Juvenile, and Mental Health records are confidential

Adoption/Paternity records are confidential after 1941

Coroner records are confidential for 75 years

Many indexes are available online at the South Bend Area Genealogical Society's website: South Bend Area Genealogical Society


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic and religious Groups

South Bend Area Genealogical Society: Polish Immigrants to the Midwest


South Bend Area Genealogical Society: Immigrant Family Trees

South Bend Area Genealogical Society: Michiana Genealogical Index


Local Histories

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

After land was transferred from the government to private ownership, subsequent transactions were recorded at the courthouse, where records are currently housed.

See Indiana Land and Property for additional information about early Indiana land grants and patents. 

Finding More Land Records

Additional land records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy Probate Records in online catalogs like:


Military Records

War of 1812

Civil War

Civil War service men from St, Joseph County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in St. Joseph County.

Civil War Books

  • "Military History" Chapter 14 in O'Connor, Cathy L., and Timothy Edward Howard. Every Name Index to A History of St. Joseph County, Indiana, Volumes One & Two, by Timothy Edward Howard, 1907. (Edwardsburg, Mich: Cathy L. O'Connor, 2007), (page 715-757, Regiment, Company, Name's; The Roll of Honor, page 731-735;Roster of G.A.R., page 736-742)977.289 H2h FHL US/CAN BookFHL Collectionother libaries vol.1 Vol.2Family History ArchivesINTERNET ARCHIVE  Google books


Many St. Joseph County newspapers, including the South Bend Tribune, South Bend News Times, St. Joe Valley Register, Mishawaka Enterprise, and others from 1830 to the present are available on microfilm at the St. Joseph County Public Library


Obituaries from the Wakarusa Tribune 1800's to Present Courtesy of the Wakarusa Public Library

Obituaries from The Bremen Enquirer 1884 to 2007 Courtesy of the Bremen Public Library

Obituaries from the South Bend Tribune 1913 to Present  Courtesy of the St. Joseph County Public Library



Probate Records

In most counties in Indiana, probate records have been kept by the county clerk of the circuit court. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

Online Records

Finding More Probate Records

Additional probate records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy Probate Records in online catalogs like:

Public records

School Records

County Courthouse
St Joseph County Indiana Courthouse.jpg
 St. Joseph County Courthouse
101 S Main Street
South Bend, IN 46601
Phone: 219.235.9635

County Health Department has birth, death and burial records.
County Clerk has marriage, divorce, probate and court records.
County Assessor has land records. [4]
Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the Family History Center directory.


St. Joseph County Public Library

304 S. Main, South Bend, IN  46601


M-Th  10am - 8pm     Fri-Sa  10am - 6pm     Closed Sunday

For help with genealogical queries, contact:

Local & Family History Services:

Check out our digital archive: Michiana Memory


The History Museum


South Bend Area Genealogical Society

School Records


Indiana tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties.

For more information see the wiki page Indiana Taxation.

Finding More Tax Records

Additional tax records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy Tax Records in online catalogs like:

Vital Records

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Indiana law in 1882 required registration of births and deaths in counties. The Indiana Department of Health has birth records filed after October 1907 and death records filed after January 1900 for deaths. Copies may be obtained from the county health department or the Indiana State Division of Vital Records. See also How to order Indiana Vital Records or order electronically online.

Marriage licenses were required by counties beginning in 1800. Original marriage records are held at the office of the St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy County Clerk with divorce records located with the St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy Clerk of Courts.

  • Indiana State Digital Achives for Death, E-Publication, Instiution, Military, Misc Historical, Naturalization Records can be searched by person name (accessed 26 May 2011)
Birth Records
Marriage Records
Death Records

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as St. Joseph County, Indiana Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:

St. Joseph County, Indiana Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "St. Joseph County, Indiana" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at _County,_Indiana (accessed 10 May 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), St Joseph County, Indiana 216 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.


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  • This page was last modified on 15 October 2015, at 20:50.
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