Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you located?

We are located in Greenfield, IN on North Apple Street in the Old Log Jail Museum and the Chapel in the Park Museum.  Click here for driving directions.

What are your hours for the museum?

We are open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday from 1-5pm during the months of April through October.  Group tours *by request* at alternate hours.  Admission is $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children.

What sort of things do you have on display?

We have all sorts of items from Ice Age fossils, to Civil War items, to Victorian household items, business memorabilia, pioneer farming implements, World War I & II items, Hancock County family items, to items from famous Hancock Countians.

I am looking for a picture of a family member, my home, a business, etc  do you have one?

The HCHS is dependent upon donations of items (including photographs) for our collection.  In reality, we do not have very many photos in our collection.  Please look at the pictures that are in the gallery online, and posted on Facebook to see some of the photos that we do have.  Our collection is in the process of being catalogued on a computer - so most of our photos are still in the process of being digitized. 

You can contact the HCHS to see if we have a photo - however, there will be a fee assessed for searching and copying of your photo.  

You can look at these other sources that may serve you better in finding the interesting photo:

  1. The Indiana Historical Society has the John Mitchell Photo Collection (John Mitchell was a local newspaper owner and took several photos of Hancock County).
  2. The  Indiana Historical Society has the Bass Photo Collection (Bass Studios took several photos of buildings around the state).
  3. Joe Skvarenina, County Historian, has authored several photo history books.  These books borrowed from some private collections.  Check out the book listing in the Frequently Aksed Question section on genealogy and history research below to see the titles of Skvarenina's books.  The Hancock County Public Library has all of Skvarenina's books in the Local History Room.
  4. Greenfield Historic Landmarks has a collection of photos from downtown Greenfield from the early 1900's.

I would like to get a birth or a death certificate for one of my ancestors.  Do you have those?

No.  All birth and death records are kept at the Hancock County Health Department.  

It is important to note that there were no birth or death records kept by the State of Indiana until 1882.  If your ancestor was born or died before this year - - you will need to rely on obituaries, tombstone inscriptions, family Bible entries, or church records.  Census records may give you general age information, but is not always reliable. 

I am looking for my relative in a Hancock County Cemetery.  Can you help me with my search?

The HCHS does not have cemetery records. 

Church cemetery records are maintained by the church that has jurisdiction over that cemetery.  Abandoned cemeteries are maintained by the Township Trustee for the Township in which the cemetery resides.    Hancock County Township Trustee List

The Hancock County Pioneer Cemetery Board has some valuable information about who has jurisdiction over the variety of cemeteries in Hancock County. 

The Indiana State Library has a Cemetery Locator that may help you in your search. 

Park Cemetery in Greenfield is the largest cemetery in the county, and it is administered by the City of Greenfield.  You can contact the Park Cemetery Office to get information about burials in that cemetery.

Cemetery Resources: 

Find-a-Grave is a great resource for locating an ancestors grave.  However, this site is maintained by a variety of volunteers, and is by no means 100% accurate.  Also, please note - even though you may not find your ancestor's grave on this site - it does not mean that it isn't there.  It is possible that your ancestor's grave has not been recorded by one of the volunteers.

The best resource for burials in Hancock County is Sue Baker's book, "Hancock County, Indiana Tombstone Inscriptions: One Hundred Years, 1833-1933."  This book contains a complete survey of all of the tombstone inscriptions in all of the cemeteries across Hancock County that fall within the date range.  If the tombstone exsisted at the time of the survey, and was legible it will be in this book.

The book is available online through a variety of sources, and there are copies of the book in the Local History Room at the Hancock County Public Library.  

Death certificates should list the place of burial and many times this includes the name of the cemetery. 

Obituaries would usually also list place of burial.  The Hancock County Public Library has several of Hancock County's older newspapers on microfilm in the Local History Room. 

Who can give me the best information about preserving a cemetery or restoring one?

There is a right way to restore a tombstone, and a wrong way.  Several well meaning people have done more to damage stones by improperly repairing a stone, using shaving cream to read stones, or other ill-advised methods.  The Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA) can provide you with the best information about how to properly repair and read tombstones.

I am researching my historic home or building. Do you have records that can help me?

The HCHS does not have records of homes and buildings in Hancock County.  However, we can suggest some places that will help you with that search.  

Maybe you know of an ancestor who once lived in Hancock County, but you would like to see where that property is now and who owns it. Or, maybe you are tyring to determine who used to own your property over time.  

All of the properites in Hancock County have been mapped using GIS mapping.  The Beacon System has the most recent information on properties in question - - including current property ownership and recent property transfer information. 

 A property transfer search will tell you who bought and sold your property over the years.  The Hancock County Auditor's Office has all of the property transfers for the county.  The transfers are searchable by name, township and date.  They also include property descriptions and locations. 

If you are lucky this information is contained in the home's Abstract.  This was a document that contained all of the deed transfers over time; however, the government no longer requires Abstracts to be kept for properties.  If you still have this document - it can provide a wealth of information.  

Actual deeds to property are kept in the Hancock County Recorder's Office.  You can get a copy of deeds from any time period.  

Once you have names, you can search for people using the internet, searching newspaper archives or looking in local histories.

Other sources for historic homes:

Hancock County Interim Report is a survey that was done by Historic Landmarks of Indiana of all historic buildings in Hancock County in 1983.  If you would like a hard copy of this report, the HCHS sells these in the book store.    

Greenfield Historic Landmarks focus is architecture and buildings.  They may be able to help you with the history of a house or building - - especially if it is located in the City of Greenfield.

I am working on a historic home or building.  Do we have to get your permission to make changes or alterations to the building?

No the HCHS has nothing to do with determining the preservation or alteration of historic buildings.  However, if your building falls within a historic district, you may need to go through the Greenfield Board of Historic Review.  Please contact them for all of your historic building questions.  

I am working on a historic home or building, do you provide information or grants about how to properly repair my home or building?

No - The HCHS focus is not building preservation and architecture.  Your best source of information for accurate repairs, contractors and maybe even some grants is to contact Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana  (HLFI) or Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA).  The HLFI is a private not-for-profit organization and the DHPA is a government agency.  They both have resources on architectural styles, repairing old buildings, and contractor lists.  The HLFI can give you information on grants, and the DHPA can give you information on tax incentives for historic preservation.  

What Hancock County places are on the National Registry of Historic Places or on special State Registeries?

This is the listing for all of the properties on the National Registry for Hancock County Indiana.

SHAARD is the Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD).  It allows users to search cultural resource information on known historic and archaeological resources throughout Indiana.

I am researching a Hancock County ancestor or want more information about a Hancock County community, business or school.  Where do I go to find these resources?

The HCHS is not an archives for government documents.  Nor does it have an extensive genealogy archives.  However, we can recommend several places to look for important information.

  1. All birth and death records are kept at the Hancock County Health Department.  Birth and death certificates will show the name of the parents of the individual; where the person was born/died; and location of burial as well as birth and death dates.  **There will be no birth or death certificates prior to 1882.  This is when the State of Indiana started requiring birth and death certificates.
  2. All marriage licenses are kept in the Hancock County Clerk's Office.  Early marriage license will have the name of the bride and groom, and date of marriage.  After 1882, there will be a *marriage application* - this document will include names of bride's parents, names of groom's parents, and birth location of bride and groom as well as marriage information. 
  3. There are indexes for births, deaths, and marriages in Hancock County that were compiled by the Indiana Works Progress Administration in 1938. The index includes letters A-Z for the years 1882-1920.  A hard copy is available in the Local History Room of the Hancock County Public Library.  An online genealogy source, Rootsquest, has an online version of these indexes - but unfortunately, they are not complete.
    1. The Hancock County Birth Index has only last names A - Lz.
    2. The Hancock County Death Index has last names A-Z.
    3. The Hancock County Marriage Index has last names A-Ay.
  4. There are several books that will help you in your search for information on people and places in Hancock County.  These books include:
    1. "History of Hancock County Indiana" by John H. Binford, 1882.
    2. "History of Hancock County Indiana" by George Richman, 1916 *Has an extensive biography section.*
    3. "Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County" by B. F. Bowen, 1902.
    4. "The Pioneers of Hancock County Indiana" by Samuel Harden, 1895.
    5. "Hancock County Indiana in the World War 1914-1918" - unnamed author, 1921.
    6. "Hancock County, Indiana Tombstone Inscriptions: One Hundred Years, 1833-1933" by Sue Baker, 1993.
    7. "Hancock County, Indiana, Civil War Soldiers Plus Related Facts" by Sue Baker, 2002.
    8. "Hancock County, Indiana, Court Records: Will Indexes, 1828-1950, Probate Indexes, 1828-1948, Births-Court Recorded, 1867-1919" by Sue Baker, 2000.
    9. "Hancock County Indiana:  A Pictorial History" by Rosalie Richardson and Larry Fox, 1993.
    10. "History of Hancock County in the Twentieth Century" by Dorothy June Williams and Thomas E.Q.Williams, 1995
    11. "Hancock County Kaleidoscope 1917 to 1966" by Dorothy June Williams, 1976.
    12. "Greenfield Glimpses" by Dorothy June Williams, 1989.
    13. "Hancock County Highlights" by Dorothy June Williams, 1986.
    14. "Hancock County Indiana:  Images of America" by Joe Skvarenina, 1998.
    15. "Also Great:  Stories of the Famous and Not-so-Famous of Hancock Counthy Indiana" by Joe Skvarenina, 2000.
    16. "Hancock County Indiana - Then and Now" by Joe Skvarenina, 2001.
    17. "Hancock County in the Civil War" by Joe Skvarenina, 2011
    18. "Hancock County Indiana:  A Postcard History" by Joe Skvarenina, 2013.
  5. Several of these books are searchable online.  This makes looking for information in the books much easier - as you can search by a name or a location.
    1. Hancock County History by Binford 1882
    2. Hancock County History by Richman 1916



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