See our Vital Records page for online resources at ACGSI.org and the Microtext Catalog at the The Genealogy Center.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans to North America, Indians, or Native Americans, lived around the three rivers now known as Allen County, Indiana. French explorers and fur traders were trading with the Miami Indians by the 1700s. French records were recorded in Montreal, Canada and will be found in their archives. The Fort Wayne outpost was built in the Northwest Territory by General Anthony Wayne in 1794. Indiana (land of the Indians) become a state December 11, 1816. Allen County was established from Delaware and Randolph counties April 1, 1824. Records that survive prior to 1824 will be found in those counties. There are not many records available for this early time period. Birth records were not required by law until 1882 and were not consistently recorded until the early 1900s. Many early records when they exist were kept by whoever recorded them such as an early doctor or minister of the gospel who usually took them to the last county or state they lived in. As a result, even when physical records still exist, they appear to be lost when stored in different county archives, or not-so-obvious places.
Earliest Known Recorded Births
Obviously, the Indians or Native Americans were already here and having children born for generations prior to European settlement. We are not aware of any records for Indian births however. Some early Europeans records survive to this day.
The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency on Facebook posted that the first 4 of the 15 Johnston children were the first
white children born at Fort Wayne to Rachel Robinson and John Johnston appointed in 1802 as the US Factor to the Indians at Fort Wayne.
If you know of other early birth records for Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, please Contact Allen INGenWeb.
- 1777 - Hyacinth Laselle, son of British Indian agent Jacques Laselle, becomes the first white child born at what is now Fort Wayne. Copied from 1000 TO 1900 Millennium milestones in Fort Wayne from the archives of The News-Sentinel newspaper.
- 1803 - Stephen Johnston born at Fort Wayne.
- Before 1807 - Rebecca Johnston died 6 months before her sister Elizabeth was born
- 1807, September 22 - Elizabeth Johnston was born in Blockhouse #1 at Fort Wayne.
- 1809, July 2 - Rosanna Johnston was born at Fort Wayne
- 1825, October 11 - John S. Rogers born to John and Triphen J. Rogers was the
first white born childin Adams Township from page 141 under Early Events of Adams Township in the History of Allen County, Indiana published in 1880 by the Kingman Brothers.
- 1833 the first white child was born in the spring to Jesse Vermilyea and died in the fall from page 145 under Early Events of Aboit Township in the History of Allen County, Indiana published in 1880 by the Kingman Brothers.
- 1839 - Lafayette Squier was the
first white childborn in Scipio Township to Platt and Aurilla Squier who arrived in 1836. From the Introduction page to This Wilderness of War: The Civil War Letters of George W. Squier, Hoosier ... by George Walter Squier on Google Books
Substitutes for birth records:
- Cemetery records found in the office of larger cemeteries can include birth and death information, newspaper obituaries and death certificates.
- Sexton burial records can often be found at the office of the sexton when a phone number is posted on a sign in the cemetery. Sexton records are sometimes kept by the nearest public business to the cemetery for rural cemeteries. Contacting a local funeral home is another way to find sexton records.
- Census records have general information listing ages after 1850, with the 1900 census listing the birth month and year
- Church records for baptisms, marriages, and burials are sometimes available depending on denomination. Records are often sent to the church denomination archive for disbanded churches. Anabaptist churches such as Amish, Brethren and Mennonites generally do not record member information.
- Funeral homes sometimes have records for older out-of-business funeral homes merged into that funeral home. Similar to doctor and minister records, funeral home records may have been lost when the owner died, retired or otherwise shut down the business.
- Land and tax records will not give birth information, but can indicate if the parents were living in Allen County.
- Newspapers often printed birth notices, but they are not indexed or otherwise easily available for Allen County
- Newspaper obituaries are sometimes the only source of birth or death information with the details ranging from a basic death notice in early newspapers to a short detailed family history more often found in rural newspapers.
The Fort Wayne - Allen County Department of Health
Certified Birth and Death Records page at Fort Wayne - Allen County Board of Health explains the process.
Their Genealogy Requests page states:
Allen County’s birth records begin in 1882 for persons born inside the Fort Wayne city limits, and in 1887 for persons born outside the city limits. Death records begin in 1871 for persons who died inside the city limits, and in 1907 for persons who died outside the city limits. For your convenience, many of these records can be found at the Allen County Public Library. (The library has microfiche of actual birth records from 1882 to 1920 and death records from 1871 to 1932 and this includes events that occurred both inside the city limits of Fort Wayne and within Allen County).
Death records record where a person died, not necessarily where they lived, or where they are buried. Elderly people may have been living near or with a child, or may have been traveling for medical reasons.
The History page of Fort Wayne - Allen County Department of Health gives a brief history through the decades starting in the 1830s-1840s. In 1830 Fort Wayne was a town of 300 people growing to a city of 2,050 in 1840.
Indiana Birth Certificates 1907-1940
In 2016, the state’s collection of birth certificates from October 1907 through December 1940 were put online at Ancestry.com, under the title Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940. This database can currently only be accessed by subscription because of a 3-year exclusivity agreement. The state has a privacy law that only allows birth records to be made public if they are at least 75 years old. October 1907 is when the state began requiring county health departments to send a copy of any birth certificate they were recording to the state health department. You can read examples of what information can be found in birth certificates in the the Indiana News- January 2018 email alert published by the Indiana Genenealogical Society. Other editions of Indiana News alerts are online back to 2010.
Delayed Birth Records
On February 19, 1941, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Bill 47 (enacted as Acts of 1941, Chapter 24), titled "An act authorizing the circuit courts of the state to hear and determine the time and place of birth of a person on petition." Under the law - which went into effect immediately - anyone who had been a resident of their county for at least a year could petition their local court to certify their birth. At least 2 residents were needed to vouch for their residency, and evidence of the petitioner's birth also had to be presented to the court. If the court granted the petition, they would issue a decree that had the legal authority of a birth record. Even though these delayed birth records did not begin until 1941, the births they referred to were actually from many years earlier - in some cases as early as the 1850's and 1860's. Copied from
the June 3, 2013 Indiana News monthly newsletter by the Indiana Genealogical Society.
- Delayed Births 1942-1985 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
- Index to Allen County Births and Deaths 1870-1920 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
See our Adoptions page.
- Allen County, Indiana Coroner Records Database, 1836-1949 with information at the The Genealogy Center
- Deaths (City) 1870-1898 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
- Deaths (City) 1899-1920 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
- Deaths (City) 1921-1932 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
- Deaths (County) 1907-1923 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
- Deaths (County) 1923-1930 microfilm numbers at the The Genealogy Center
- The History of Birth Certificates is Shorter Than You Might Think by Erin Blakemore published August 8, 2017 on History.com.
- Mother’s Friend: Birth Control in Nineteenth-Century America by Dr. Lauren MacIvor Thompson published February 5th, 2017 on National Museum Civil War Medicine website
- Why should the cause of death be a big secret? State needs to reconcile two contradictory laws. The News-Sentinel newspaper April 24, 2013 EDITORIAL.
- Cause of death often mistaken, study says , by Thomas Hargrove and Lee Bowman of Scripps Howard News Service August 13, 2009, indicate that as many as a third of today's death certificates list the most likely cause of death rather than the actual medical cause of death making their value questionable.
- Indiana Births and Christenings 1773 to 1933 at FamilySearch.org - Free and Incomplete
- Indiana Death Index 1882 to 1920 at FamilySearch.org - Free and Incomplete
- Where to Write for Vital Records - order Indiana Certificates online from the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Death certificates: classifying the dead to save the living a brief history by Jonathan Purtle published April 9, 2014 at philly.com.
- Executions in the U.S. 1608-2002: The Espy File from the Death Penalty Information Center.
The "Espy File" is a database of executions in the United States and the earlier colonies from 1608 to 2002. This list of 15,269 executions was compiled by M. Watt Espy and John Ortiz Smykla, and was made available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.It lists Indiana executions, but no county or location information.
United States Census Bureau
- An Update to Birth Information from the Census Bureau December 11, 2012 on the GenealogyBlog.com by William Dollarhide.
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