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Trace your family tree in Indianapolis, IN

Genealogy doesn’t have to be hard when you’ve got these resources at your fingertips.

Hand pulling out drawer of cards

You can find this wall of drawers in the Genealogy room at the Indiana State Museum.

Photo by INDYtoday team

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered how deep your Hoosier roots are?

Starting the process might seem overwhelming, but Indy has a number of local resources to get you started on your family tree. And the best part? They’re free.

Pro tip: start with what you know. Put together a list of your parents’, grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ names, along with any other biographical info.

Indiana State Library

Not to brag, but the Indiana State Library has one of the largest collections of family history info in the Midwest.

Once you’ve done the preliminary work, you’re ready to hit the Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library. There, you can sift through census records dating back to 1790 and see if it has a book about your family in its stacks. You can also look for your family books online by searching for your surname, followed by the word “family.”

Plus, the library offers one-on-one family history and DNA testing consultations once a month.

Exterior of the Indiana Historical Society building

Why not take a stroll along the Canal while you’re at it?

Photo by INDYtoday team

Indiana Historical Society

When you’ve checked all the resources at the library, you can walk across the street to the Indiana Historical Society, where you’ll be able to find indexes and research guides related to your family history.

It has three main departments you can turn to in your genealogy journey: Family Records, Genealogy Across Indiana, and Regional Sources.

Indianapolis Public Library

The city library has several genealogy resources, including a library edition of Ancestry.com, which offers almost everything a paid account does, just without a few personalization tools.

For those with African ancestry, you can learn about specific challenges and databases by watching a video on African American Genealogy led by leader of Center for Black Literature & Culture Nichelle Hayes.

IPL’s Beech Grove branch is hosting a Lineage Research Workshop on Monday, Feb. 20 from 3-7:45 p.m. Sign up.

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