Indiana State Archives: What Is Available?
1. Indiana Civil War Volunteers. Now available on the Indiana Digital Archives
The State Archives maintains an alphabetical list of all the soldiers who served in Indiana volunteer regiments (infantry and cavalry) and artillery batteries. Most entries contain the following information: name, rank, company, regiment, period of original enlistment, place and date of enrollment, place and date of muster (swearing into federal service), age, physical description (height, color of eyes, hair, complexion), nativity, and occupation. Date, place, and manner of leaving service are also listed. Information on promotions, etc., may also be given. The card file has been microfilmed. (If you receive the Researcher by e-mail, click on the above website & begin searching.)
Go to the Internet site listed above, type in your ancestor’s first and last name, and click on Search. (I found it best not to give my ancestor’s middle initial; if you do not get immediate results, try using the Soundex, as his name may not have been spelled correctly in the records.) When your ancestor’s information appears, you may choose a printer friendly format to print out the information.
2. Indiana Legion (Civil War State Militia
In 1861 the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation creating the Indiana Legion, revamping the dying Indiana state militia. Legion companies were raised throughout Indiana. The card file is incomplete; however, those cards available generally list only the name of the soldier and the Legion unit in which he served. The card file has been microfilmed and can be searched on the web. (I know my father was in the National Guard, but his name does not appear. Remember the file is incomplete.)
3. Enrollment of Soldiers, Widows, and Orphans, 1886, 1890, and 1894
Enrollments are arranged by individual township within each Indiana county. Each enrollment alphabetically lists the name of the veteran, unit in which he served, war, number of children under 16, and wounds received or illnesses contracted during service. The enrollments have been microfilmed. An alphabetical card file of the names of soldiers who appear in the 1886 enrollment is available in the Genealogy Section of the Indiana State Library.
4. Veterans’ Graves Registration Files
In the late 1930s a card file of veterans buried in cemeteries in 51 of Indiana’s 92 counties was produced by the W.P.A., in cooperation with the American Legion. The cards generally give the name of the veteran, war in which he served, unit, and location of grave in the cemetery. The cards are filed alphabetically by each Indiana county.
5. Enrollment Lists of Draft of 1862
By the summer of 1862, federal officials at Washington, D.C. concluded that conscription was necessary to fill the Northern armies to put down the Southern rebellion. War Department orders and instructions went out to all Northern states to organize and administer a draft. All white men between the ages of 18 and 45 years were required to enroll. Two lists of men in each township in each county were made. The first listed all men who had already enlisted in the armed services, giving the unit in which each served along with age and occupation. The second listed all other eligible men. This list included information on each man, giving age, occupation, disease or condition that made that man ineligible, exemption, and other remarks. These lists have been microfilmed.
6. Grand Army of the Republic
After the Civil War, Northern veterans organized the G.A.R. to remember their participation in the struggle to save the Union. The G.A.R. grew to become a major political force, wielding great influence in state and federal affairs. Records of the G.A.R. state organization and the many local ‘posts’ survived. The records of greatest genealogical interest include the applications for establishment of each G.A.R. post, listing the charter members and the units they served in during the war. As the last members of the G.A.R. died and membership dwindled, the decision was made not to merge with other veterans’ organizations. The G.A.R. records were given to the Adjutant General of Indiana. A list is available that identifies the post names, post numbers, and the town in which posts were established.
7. Indiana State Soldiers’ Home Applications
Soldiers’ Home was established at Lafayette by state law in 1895 (It was originally named the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home). Its stated task was the care of Civil War veterans and their wives and widows. In later years, veterans of subsequent wars received care there too.
The State Archives holds the applications for admission to the Home. The applications include information on the veterans, noting the units in which they served and medical information on the applicant/resident, often including information on circumstances of the death of a resident. There is an index of the names of the applicants/residents for whom the State Archives have packets, dating from 1878 to 1890. This is now available on the Indiana Digital Archives.
8. Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home Applications, 1880-1920
Established by state law in 1865 at Indianapolis as the Soldiers’ and Seamen’s Home to care for destitute and disabled Civil War veterans; the Soldiers’ and Seamen’s Home at Knightstown was created in 1867 to serve wives, widows, and orphans. Orphans of veterans had first received care from the state in 1865; these orphans moved to Knightstown in 1866, and soon after resided at the state-supported Knightstown Soldiers’ and Seamen’s Home. The Home became strictly an orphan’s home after a fire destroyed the building housing the veterans in 1871. The State Archives holds the applications, listing the applicants’ names, and the names of the parent veterans and their units. These are now available on the Indiana Digital Archives.
9. Lists of Soldiers and Sailors and Members of the National Guard Living in Indiana, 1913-1922
These lists include the names of living veterans by county and township. Information listed includes age, war in which veteran served, and unit. Additional remarks are also noted. Many Civil War veterans are listed. These records are microfilmed.
The Indiana State Archives is located at 644 E. 30th St. Indianapolis; Phone: 317-591-5222; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.indianadigitalarchives.org