Locating Naturalization Records in Indiana

You can learn more about your ancestors’ immigration experience if they became a U.S. citizen.

Naturalization of John Stating (1845) Dearborn County, Indiana, Probate Order Book 5, p. 151.

In order to become a citizen, an individual followed the following process:

  1. Declared his intent to become a citizen in front of a court. Declarations of intent can be rich in details about a ancestor’s life before immigration, including their birth date, birth place, when they migrated, and ports of departure and arrival. They may detail the persons migration within the United States. Sometimes family details are included, such as names of their spouses and children, along with ages.
  2. Petitioned to become a citizen after a period of time set by federal law. At the time of their naturalization, the person may state where they filed their declaration of intent, which may be in another county or state if they have moved. Sometimes other citizens in the county vouched for the individual and can expand your knowledge of your ancestors’ family, friends, neighbors, and associates.

Individuals could file their naturalization documents in any court from the federal to state to local level before the 1950s. Records relating to your ancestors’ naturalization process may be found in a variety of locations in Indiana:

  • Circuit Court Order Books
  • Common Pleas Order Books
  • Probate Order Books
  • Superior Court Order Books
  • Naturalization Books
  • Loose papers

The Indiana State Archives is the official repository of Indiana naturalization records prior to 1951, with the exception of naturalizations found in court order books. Unfortunately, some counties submitted none or only some of their records. A partial index of these records are online at the Indiana Digital Archives.

An incomplete index of Indiana naturalizations has been compiled into An Index to Naturalization Records in Pre-1907 Order Books of Indiana County Courts by Indiana Historical Society (Indianapolis, 2001). [Amazon affiliate link]

Some naturalizations have been indexed on the Indiana’s Gore website:

BLM Tract Books for Indiana’s Gore

Once you have located your ancestor’s land patent and identified what land they owned, you can learn more about their land transaction with the Bureau of Land Management Tract Books.

Land offices tracked sales using tract books. These books recorded name of the purchaser, the land description, the price of the land, and the date sold. When the land was sold on credit, each transaction was recorded with date and price paid.

Images of the BLM tract books are available for free on FamilySearch. They are not indexed.

To find the tract books for the Indiana’s Gore: Click “Browse through images,” then select “Ohio.” Lands in the Gore are found in Volumes 11 through 16.

Records are arranged by Range, then Township, then Section. Additional Volumes 11-16 contain entries that did not fit and are referenced at the bottom of the section’s entry in the original volume. The following table describes what sections each book covers:

Volume Start End
11 (starting page 3114) Township 1 Range 1 Township 3, Range 1, Section 7
12 Township 3, Range 1, Section 8 Township 9, Range 1, Section 33
13 Township 9, Range 1, Section 33 Township 15, Range 1, Section 36
14 Township 16 Range 1, Section 1 Township 6, Range 2, Section 4
15 Township 6, Range 2, Section 5 Township 13, Range 2, Section 12
16 Township 13, Range 2, Section 13 Township 3, Range 4, Section 36

A more detailed finding aid is available at the Indiana’s Gore website.

 

The tract books for the Gore have been indexed in the following volumes:

  • Mikesell, Shirley Keller. Early Settlers of Indiana’s “Gore,” 1803-1820. Bowie, Maryland : Heritage Books, 1995.
  • Waters, Margaret R. Indiana Land Entries. 2 volumes. Indianapolis : No publisher, 1948. Online at HathiTrust.

Finding Federal Land Patents in Indiana’s Gore

Indiana’s Gore is a triangle of land in southeastern Indiana. It is bordered by the Indiana-Ohio state border to the east, the Ohio River to the south, and the Greenville Treaty line to the west. The Gore is a unique area with more ties to Ohio than Indiana which makes finding its records a challenge.

Land in the Gore was surveyed by the federal government. The principal meridian (PM) used for the Gore was the first PM drawn. It was a line north from the mouth of Great Miami River (the present-day Ohio-Indiana state border). The baseline was a line west from the mouth of the Great Miami River. The survey created townships running north to south and ranges running east to west. Read more about federal land states on the FamilySearch Wiki.

Land sales in the Gore occurred at the Land Office at Cincinnati which opened on 10 May 1800. Land was originally sold in quarter sections or larger at no less than $2 per acre. Land could be sold on credit. Later land could be sold in smaller pieces for less, but it had to be paid for in cash at the time of the purchase.

Land in the Gore has various descriptions, including:

  • “West of the Meridian line, drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami river”
  • “West of the Meridian line”
  • “In the District of Lands subject to sale at Cincinnati, Ohio (lying in Indiana).”

Land Patents

After an individual finished paying for his land, he received a land patent. Federal land patents are available for free on the Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records website.

The top search box allows the user to choose a state to search within. But because the land in the Gore was sold at Cincinnati, the indexers sometimes marked the land as being in Ohio instead of Indiana. The user can run two searches, one within Indiana and one within Ohio. Alternatively, the user can search using the following steps:

  • Location: For state, choose “Any State” at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Leave county blank.
  • Land Description: Choose “1st PM” for Meridian. Leave township, range and section blank, unless you are searching for a known piece of land.
  • Miscellaneous: Under Land Office, choose “Cincinnati.” Leave other boxes blank.
  • Names: It is recommend to only fill in the surname field. the BLM website does not do fuzzy searches, so make sure to search for alternative spellings.

Ancestry.com also has a database with images of the land patents called “U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907.” It can be easier to pull up alternative spellings of names using this database.

Once you have found your ancestor’s land patent, you can learn more about the land purchase with the BLM Tract Books.

County Commissioners Records

Have you used county commissioners’ records in your genealogy research?

County commissioners handled county business. They still do today. Minutes of the county commissioners have many details about life with a county and activities of many individuals living in the county. Some of their duties included:

  • Creating townships and altering township boundaries
  • Auditing treasurer and auditor’s reports
  • Defending the county in the courts
  • Appointing constables
  • Appointing overseers of the poor
  • Appointing trustees to the county seminary
  • Appointing school trustees
  • Granting licenses for liquor, taverns, retailing foreign merchandise, ferries, etc.
  • Opening and maintaining public roads and bridges
  • Building and maintaining county buildings, including the courthouse, jail, and county asylum
  • Purchasing materials and supplies for the county
  • Levying county taxes
  • Appointing assessors
  • Selecting juries
  • Poor relief, including boarding, food, clothing, medicine, and burials
  • Overseeing the county asylum or farm for the poor
  • Offering rewards
  • Military bounties

Records produced before 1850 are rich in details about people who were only enumerated as tally marks on the census. Women are recorded boarding the poor or receiving poor relief themselves. Poor men, women, and children are recorded when someone else was paid to provide their coffin or dig their grave.

You may find details about the criminals within your family. The Sheriff and his constables were paid for fire wood, food, clothing, and ironing (not their clothes) the county’s prisoners.

You may be able to recreate a neighborhood by reading petitions for roads or changes in township boundaries.

Liquor, tavern, store, and ferry licenses may tell you more about your ancestors’ professions. Or your ancestor may have been reimbursed for flour or shoes he provided the poor.

County commissioners records contain a wealth of information about our ancestors. Abstracts for the Dearborn County, Indiana County Commissioners’ Records are online from 1826 to 1852.

The Family History of Robert Bovard (1783-1854)

I have just published my first family history book.  The Family History of Robert Bovard (1783-1854) tells the story of Robert Bovard and 4 generations of descendants.

Robert Bovard was born in County Donegal, Ireland. He immigrated to the United States and married Margaret McGarvey. They lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hamilton County, Ohio; Dearborn County, Ohio County, and Switzerland County, Indiana.

The book also contains an appendix about the McGarvey family and an additional appendix about the Bovards of Ripley County, Indiana. Citations are provided for all facts throughout the book.

The hardcover book is available to purchase from Lulu for $39.99.

Please email me at tina@genwishlist.com with any questions you have about the book.

Archibald Lewis Certificate of Freedom – 1832

Switzerland County, Indiana, Circuit Court Order Book J, p. 317.

Switzerland County SS.

Be it remembered that on the 8th day of June AD 1839, Archibald Lewis a person of colour filed in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of said County, a Certificate of his freedom which Certificate reads in the words and figures following to wit:

This is to certify that on the 4th day of October in the year One thousand eight hundred and thirty, that I Sarah Lewis of Pleasant township Switzerland County and State of Indiana, did on the same day in the town of Vevay according to law, Liberate and set free one negro man by the name of Archibald, said Archibald being my property previous to said date, according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and I further certify that by said liberation, I relinquished all my right and claim to his services, and by said act I fully intended, that he said Archibald should enjoy all and every privelege, that free people of colour, did enjoy under the constitution and laws of this Commonwealth or State of Indiana.

Given under my hand Seal this 23rd day of April 1832.
[Signed] Sarah [her X mark] Lewis {Seal}

Attest} David Henry, Isaac Lewis

Subscribed and sworn to before me on the 23rd day of April AD 1832.
Henry Rogers, a justice of the peace

Indiana Genealogical Society 2017 Conference

The Indiana Genealogical Society will be holding their 2017 Conference will be at the Indianapolis Public Library (40 E. St. Clair St.) on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Tony Burroughs is the featured speaker.

I will be presenting Locating Your Family in County Commissioners’ Records at 9:45 AM. We will be exploring the history of the county commissioners, what types of information is available in the records, and where to locate the records. County commissioners’ records became one of my favorites after I abstracted the Dearborn County, Indiana records.

Registration for the conference is now open. I hope to see you there.

Adam Bauer Family

This family profile is part of the ICC Families Project. The project seeks to piece together the families that attended Immaculate Conception Church in Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.

Alternate surname spellings: Bower, Bowers.

Adam Bauer born 2 February 1823 in Bavaria and died 23 January 1890. He was buried in Immaculate Conception Cemetery.1ICC Cemetery, p. 38; birth place: 1860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household. He married 1st Barbara Schmoll. Barbara was born circa 1826 in Wurttemberg and died between 1865 and 1866.2Birth: 1860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household; death between daughter Francisca’s birth in 1865 and presumed marriage of Adam Bauer and Maria Rarvell in 1866.

Adam married 2nd Maria Rarvell circa 1866.3Marriage calculated by birth date of son Francis. Maria died before 1870.41870 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 32, dwelling 233, family 242, Adam Bower household [not in Adam Bauer’s household].

Adam married 3rd, the widow, Louisa Bender on 12 October 1871. Witnesses at the marriage were Michael Dincher and Adam Dietrich.5ICC Marriage Register, p. 16. Louisa was born circa 1828 and died 24 December 1873. She was buried in Immaculate Conception Cemetery.6ICC Cemetery, p. 27. They had no known children.

Adam married 4th Emma Schmalz circa 1875.7Marriage calculated by birth date of son Albert. Emma was born August 1840 in Germany.81900 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, ED 34, sheet 2A, dwelling 26, family 26, Emma Bower household. Emma married 1st Fred Bernstein.91870 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Williamsport, Sixth Ward, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 18, dwelling 122, family 120, Fred Bernsine household.

Children of Adam Bauer and Barbara Schmoll, all born in Pennsylvania:

  1. Margareta Bauer born circa 1850.
  2. Adam Bauer born circa 1852.
  3. Mary Bauer born circa 1854.101860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household.
  4. Carol “Charles” Bauer born 1 December 1856.11ICC Baptisms, p. 28.
  5. Catharine Bauer born circa 1859.121860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household.
  6. Josephine Barbara Bauer born 2 April 1861.13ICC Baptisms, p. 44.
  7. Johann Bauer born 6 March 1862.14ICC Baptisms, p. 48.
  8. Franciscus Bower born 24 June 1864. He died 1 February 1865 and was buried in Immaculate Conception Cemetery.15ICC Baptisms, p. 55. Also, ICC Cemetery, p. 27.
  9. Francisca Magdalena Bower born 23 October 1865.16ICC Baptisms, p. 58.

Children of Adam Bauer and Maria Rarvell:

  1. Francis Michael Bauer born 4 June 1867.17ICC Baptisms, p. 63.

Children of Adam Bauer and Emma Schmalz:

  1. Albert George Bower born 24 April 1876.18ICC Baptisms, p. 86.
  2. Francisca Friederic “Alfred” Bower born 29 July 1877.19ICC Baptisms, p. 90.
  3. Berta Hildegard “Hilda” Bower born 1 December 1878.20ICC Baptisms, p. 93.
  4. Edward “Edmund” Laurentius Bower born 9 March 1881.21ICC Baptisms, p. 100.

 

References   [ + ]

1. ICC Cemetery, p. 38; birth place: 1860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household.
2. Birth: 1860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household; death between daughter Francisca’s birth in 1865 and presumed marriage of Adam Bauer and Maria Rarvell in 1866.
3. Marriage calculated by birth date of son Francis.
4. 1870 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 32, dwelling 233, family 242, Adam Bower household [not in Adam Bauer’s household].
5. ICC Marriage Register, p. 16.
6. ICC Cemetery, p. 27.
7. Marriage calculated by birth date of son Albert.
8. 1900 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, ED 34, sheet 2A, dwelling 26, family 26, Emma Bower household.
9. 1870 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Williamsport, Sixth Ward, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 18, dwelling 122, family 120, Fred Bernsine household.
10. 1860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household.
11. ICC Baptisms, p. 28.
12. 1860 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, page 20-21, dwelling 141, family 154, Adam Bowers household.
13. ICC Baptisms, p. 44.
14. ICC Baptisms, p. 48.
15. ICC Baptisms, p. 55. Also, ICC Cemetery, p. 27.
16. ICC Baptisms, p. 58.
17. ICC Baptisms, p. 63.
18. ICC Baptisms, p. 86.
19. ICC Baptisms, p. 90.
20. ICC Baptisms, p. 93.
21. ICC Baptisms, p. 100.

Michael Bauer Family

This family profile is part of the ICC Families Project. The project seeks to piece together the families that attended Immaculate Conception Church in Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.

Alternate surname spellings: Bower, Bowers.

Michael Bauer born 6 December 1855 in Pennsylvania to Johann Bauer and Maria Katharina Schilling and died 1910.1Birth: ICC Baptisms, p. 22; Death: Lycoming County Catholic Cemeteries, no. 972. He married Margaretha Hamm on 24 November 1881.2ICC Marriage Register, p. 19. Margaretha was born 10 August 1853 and died 1926.3Birth: ICC Family Book, no. 47; death: Lycoming County Catholic Cemeteries, no. 954. They were buried in St. Boniface Cemetery.4Lycoming County Catholic Cemeteries, nos. 954 and 972.

Children of Michael Bauer and Margaretha Hamm, all born Pennsylvania:

  1. Margaretha Elisabeth Bower born 24 April 1883.5ICC Baptisms, p. 106.
  2. Catharina Elisabeth Bower born 15 July 1884.6ICC Baptisms, p. 110.
  3. Joseph Bauer born November 1885.
  4. Ida Bauer born April 1887.
  5. James Bauer born August 1888.
  6. Albert Bauer born August 1890.
  7. Walter Bauer born December 1892.
  8. Mary Bauer born September 1895.71900 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, enumeration district (ED) 34, sheet 2A, dwelling 28, family 28, Michael Bower household.

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Birth: ICC Baptisms, p. 22; Death: Lycoming County Catholic Cemeteries, no. 972.
2. ICC Marriage Register, p. 19.
3. Birth: ICC Family Book, no. 47; death: Lycoming County Catholic Cemeteries, no. 954.
4. Lycoming County Catholic Cemeteries, nos. 954 and 972.
5. ICC Baptisms, p. 106.
6. ICC Baptisms, p. 110.
7. 1900 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, enumeration district (ED) 34, sheet 2A, dwelling 28, family 28, Michael Bower household.

Johann Wilhelm Bauer Family

This family profile is part of the ICC Families Project. The project seeks to piece together the families that attended Immaculate Conception Church in Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.

Alternate surname spellings: Bower, Bowers.

Johann Wilhelm Bauer born 7 January 1843 in Pennsylvania to Johann Bauer and Maria Katarina Schilling and died 1927.1Birth: ICC Family Book, no. 5; death: Catholic Cemeteries of Lycoming County, no. 937. He married Johanna “Hannah” Hamm on 24 May 1870.2ICC Marriage Register, p. 15. Hannah was born 29 November 1851 in Pennsylvania and died 1930.3Birth: ICC Family Book, no. 47; death: Catholic Cemeteries of Lycoming County, no. 915. They were buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery.4Catholic Cemeteries of Lycoming County, nos. 915 and 937.

Children of Johann Wilhelm and Johannette Hamm:

  1. Maria Anna Bauer born 28 March 1871.5ICC Baptisms, p. 73.
  2. Anna Margaretha Bauer born 29 August 1872.6ICC Baptisms, p. 76.
  3. Johanne Carol Bauer born 16 July 1874.7ICC Baptisms, p. 81.
  4. Francis Michael Bauer born 2 July 1876.8ICC Baptisms, p. 86.
  5. Johanna Bauer born 12 January 1879.9ICC Baptisms, p. 93.
  6. Margaretha Catharina Bauer born 21 June 1881.10ICC Baptisms, p. 100.
  7. George Michael Bauer born 22 August 1883.11ICC Baptisms, p. 107.
  8. Edward Bauer born September 1885.
  9. Alice Bauer born December 1887.
  10. Agnes Bauer born December 1890.
  11. Augustus Bauer born December 1893.121900 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, ED 34, sheet 2A, dwelling 27, family 27, John W Bower household.

References   [ + ]

1. Birth: ICC Family Book, no. 5; death: Catholic Cemeteries of Lycoming County, no. 937.
2. ICC Marriage Register, p. 15.
3. Birth: ICC Family Book, no. 47; death: Catholic Cemeteries of Lycoming County, no. 915.
4. Catholic Cemeteries of Lycoming County, nos. 915 and 937.
5. ICC Baptisms, p. 73.
6. ICC Baptisms, p. 76.
7. ICC Baptisms, p. 81.
8. ICC Baptisms, p. 86.
9. ICC Baptisms, p. 93.
10. ICC Baptisms, p. 100.
11. ICC Baptisms, p. 107.
12. 1900 U.S. Census, , population schedule, Armstrong Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, ED 34, sheet 2A, dwelling 27, family 27, John W Bower household.