Difference between revisions of "Porter County, Indiana Genealogy"

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United States Gotoarrow.png Indiana Gotoarrow.png Porter County

Guide to Porter County Indiana genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Hand and keyboard.jpg Indiana
Online Records

Porter County, Indiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Indiana
Location of Indiana in the U.S.
Founded February 7, 1835
County Seat Valparaiso
Address Porter County Courthouse
16 E Lincolnway #209
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219.465.3450
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
*For earlier dates,

try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries

  • Parent Counties: Formed 7 February 1835 from La Porte and Newton Counties.[1]
  • County Seat: Valparaiso [2]

Neighboring Counties

Lake  • Jasper  • Starke  • La Porte

Porter CountyLake CountyWhite CountyMiami CountyKisciusko CountyWabash CountyCass CountyJasper CountyNewton CountyFulton CountySt. Joseph CountyElkhart CountyLa Porte CountyVan Buren CountyKankakee CountyCook CountyWill CountySt. Joseph CountyKalamazoo CountyCass CountyBerrien CountyMarshall CountyStarke CountyLake CountyIroquois CountyPulaski CountyINPorter.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 MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss

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

Jasper County, Indiana Resources

Bible Records


Business Records


Census Records

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

Courtesy of the Porter County Public Library System:

Church 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.

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 Porter County, Indiana Genealogy Church Records in online catalogs like:

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic and religious Groups

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 Porter County, Indiana Genealogy Probate Records in online catalogs like:




Local Histories
  • Goodspeed, Weston Arthur, and Charles Blanchard. Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana: Historical and Biographical.(Chicago: F.A. Battey, 1882.)FHL US/CAN Film 934917 Item 1FHL Collection     other librariesINTERNET ARCHIVE
  • Lewis Publishing Company. cn. 1911. History of Porter County, Indiana : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests FHL book 977.298 H2h FHL US/CAN BookFHL CollectionINTERNET ARCHIVE



Military Records

War of 1812

Civil War

Civil War service men from Porter 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 Porter County.

Civil War Books

  • "Military History", Chapter 6 in Lewis Publishing Company. cn. 1911. History of Porter County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests 977.298 H2h FHL US/CAN BookFHL Collection(page 101-120; Regiment, Company)INTERNET ARCHIVE

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship


Courtesy of the Porter County Public Library System:




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.

Courtesy of the Porter County Public Library System

Finding More Probate Records

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

Public Records

School Records

Voter Registration


See also a List of Indiana Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

County Courthouse

Porter County Courthouse
16 E Lincolnway #209
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219.465.3450

Attached to St. Joseph County prior to organization 6 Feb 1836.
County Health Department has birth and death records.
County Clerk has marriage, divorce, probate and court records from 1836.
County Auditor has land records. [3]

Family History Centers

FamilySearch Centers are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FamilySearch Center for Porter County, Indiana Genealogy is the

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

Societies and Libraries

The Valparaiso Branch of the Porter County Library (VPL)
103 Jefferson Street
Valparaiso, Indiana
Hours: 9am-9pm Monday through Thursday, 9-5 Friday, and 9-6 Saturdays

The library has a genealogy department located on the second floor headed by Larry Clark, Porter County genealogist, and is always staffed with at least two librarians. It is the second largest public library genealogical collection in the state, second to the well known Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne.

The library contains many family histories, and many local histories on the county and Northwest Indiana area. VPL also subscribes to many genealogical periodicals.

There is a collection of historical newspapers on microfilm in the genealogy department. They are all non-circulating and all are on microfilm. The earliest local paper VPL has is the Western Ranger. As time went by the paper’s name was changed or was merged with other papers so that the library holds continuous newspaper coverage for Porter County from 1847-2010. Names were changed from the Western Ranger to the Valparaiso Republican to the Valparaiso Messenger to the Valparaiso Vidette, to the Vidette Times, to now just The Times.

VPL has a manuscript collection located in the Genealogy Department. It is included in their Indiana collection, also referred to as the vertical files. It contains donated family histories, Indiana genealogies, family genealogies, obituaries cut from newspapers, photographs, and other miscellaneous documents that patrons have donated. It is indexed by file description and this index is located in the front of the file cabinets and is not available on their online catalog. Sometimes this manuscript collection is also referred to as their special collections.

The Porter county library catalog is available on computers in the library or online through their websitethe exception being the manuscript collection that was mentioned previously. The library has 3 photocopiers. One located in the genealogy department, one in the youth department, and the other is on the main floor by the reference desk. The library has five microfilm readers and three microfiche readers in the genealogy department along with four reader printers that can also be used as readers.

The library has many online databases some subscription, some not, some are accessible from home, others available only at the library. Those available at home are Porter County 1930 Census, Porter County Obituary Index 1938-2010, Porter County Marriage Index 1921-1946, and Porter County Herald Index 1933-1938. The following are available only in the library 1937 Liberty Township and 1943 Morgan Township enumeration of males in Porter County, and 1920-1921 Milk producers Association in Porter County. The following subscription sites are available at home with a valid library card: Historic Map Works, InspireIndiana.gov, ReferenceUSA, and ProquestObituaries.com. The following subscription sites are usable in the library only: Ancestry, Heritage Quest, Access Newspaper Archives, BooksinPrint.com, AmericanAncestors.org, and Politicalfamilytree.org.

The Porter County library does participate in the interlibrary loan program through INCOLSA available at the reference desk on the main floor. A patron must have a valid Porter County library card and a $2.00 fee per item is charged. Items are loaned for 1-5 weeks depending on the lending library’s rules. The library does not loan out their collection of newspapers, but refers all inquiries to Indiana State Library which has copies of all the newspapers from the state and they will loan the papers to participating libraries. Our library does, however, put in requests for newspapers in the genealogy department and will receive them for patrons, usually these are on microfilm. If actual papers are received, and this is rare, they are to be read in the library and are not to be removed from the reading room. The loaning library sets the fees and time limits for the loans.

The genealogy department of Porter County Library also has many other records of significant value to the genealogist. In addition to the US Census on microfilm, and a large microfilm collection, they have the original Porter County sheriff records from 1907-1989, court dockets, marriage records, and probate records that are on extended loan from the Porter county courthouse. They also have high school yearbooks beginning from the early 1900’s and many original family histories that were privately published and donated to the library. These histories are rarely found elsewhere as they were written and copied only for family members. They also have copies of all Porter County Catholic and Presbyterian Church records that were sent to their church headquarters out of state. The Valparaiso branch of Porter County Library also has lending privileges from the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. This allows them to order films for patrons from the FHL and keep them on extended loan if the correct lending fees are paid. The library has done this for all vital records for the state of Indiana up to 1920. All extended loan films are on their catalog.


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 Porter 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 Porter County, Indiana Genealogy County Clerk with divorce records located with the Porter County, Indiana Genealogy Clerk of Courts.

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

Courtesy of the Porter County Public Library System

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

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

Porter County, Indiana Web Sites


Porter County, Indiana References

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Porter County, Indiana" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_County,_Indiana (accessed 10 May 2012).
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Porter County, Indiana 215 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.