Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

Introduction to the Collection

Since 1835, when Jackson Kemper first arrived in Indiana as Missionary Bishop of the Northwest, Episcopalians have been a part of Indiana's religious landscape. The denomination drew its membership from British and Canadian immigrants, parishioners who had been Episcopalians in the East, and newcomers to the faith, who were attracted by the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer. Many were also attracted to the fact that the church was not overly judgmental in matters of doctrine. The denomination was never large in Indiana, but it has persisted and changed over time in ways that merit further historical study.

The history and archival records presented in this collection document the congregations in the northern third of Indiana that are part of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, established in 1898. Many parishes have much earlier histories dating from the 1830s and 1840s from the time that all of the state was part of the Diocese of Indiana. In addition to historical sketches, one will find a variety of photographs documenting the story of the Episcopal Church and how it adapted through time as it gained the support of a stalwart body of followers, many of whom were community leaders. The collection includes images of church buildings, inside and out, that reveal something of the "architecture of faith" that members used to express their religious heritage. There are pictures of clergy and laity, of events such as diocesan conventions, ecumenical services, ordinations and consecrations, and youth camps. This website attempts to place those images into larger historical contexts.

Except for those images with a copyright watermark, the majority of images are free to use for any educational or historical purpose so long as the user gives proper credit to the "Archives of the Diocese of Northern Indiana" as the source.

For many laymen, diocesan history takes a back seat to local parish history. The latter offers a sense of immediacy and relevance that the more distant entity of a diocese fails to provide. The stories of rectors with whom people have had close relationships and the histories of familiar buildings command more attention than those of bishops who visit just once a year. Nevertheless, understanding the struggles and foibles of diocesan leadership and the macro social and religious history of the larger Episcopal Church are imperative for placing parish history into a denominational context. This website seeks to do just that by offering a variety of avenues for further research and study.

Users will find links to digitized parish registers from numerous churches in the diocese. Some of these have been digitized by the non-profit website FamilySearch in connection to the Genealogical Society of Utah. Accessing those images will require a free registration and login with Familysearch. Other images uploaded by the Archivist can be viewed without a login.

We hope you will enjoy this history and these images of more than 150 years of Episcopal Church life in Indiana. If you are a genealogist, we wish you success in finding records of interest to your family research. Finally, if you are new to the church, we hope you will take time to explore the Anglican tradition in a faith community near you.

For inquiries about the collection or to donate material, please contact the archivist, John D. Beatty, c/o, Trinity Episcopal Church, 611 West Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802 <johndbeatty62@gmail.com>

For a Guide to the Diocesan Archives, see this link: 2022 Guide