The State of Indiana, through the Indiana Commission on Public Records (State Archives) has entered into a contract with Ancestry.com to digitize and eventually post online more than 13 million birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records for access by Hoosiers. These online historical records, those older than 75 years, will start to become available in 2015, with the completion date expected by the State’s Bicentennial in 2016. This will be the largest online collection of the State of Indiana’s materials ever digitized.
“As we head toward the 2016 Bicentennial and celebrate Indiana’s past, this initiative serves not only present-day Hoosiers by improving accessibility to records, but also future Hoosiers as they look back at state history,” Governor Pence said.
This partnership saves the State of Indiana more than $3.2 million—the cost to index, scan, and make accessible the materials, and would have taken the state more than a decade to complete. It also provides another mechanism to both access the records and preserve the remaining originals from excessive use and degradation, and provides an additional copy in case original copies are destroyed.
For the last two years, the Indiana Commission on Public Records has been working with the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) Vital Records office to achieve this partnership. Both the ISDH and State Archives will receive a copy of the digital images and indexes—ISDH will use its copy to improve service to Hoosiers by streamlining the process of accessing records and providing official copies to citizens, while State Archives will provide access to the records more than 75 years old at its facility. Ancestry.com also will provide access to its members for the historical records when the project is completed.
The birth and death certificates date back to the early 1900s, and the State’s marriage records from 1958 through 2005.