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Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am to 4pmJoin & Give

Arthur Family Reunion in Linton, Indiana on July 18, 1948

If you are a direct descendant of a pioneer who settled in Monroe County, Indiana on or before December 31, 1849, you are eligible to join our First Families program. A First Families program is a way to preserve your family history and honor the lives of some of our earliest residents. This program is open to anyone, regardless of location of residence. An application must be completed, accompanied by proof of lineage, and a $20.00 fee. Acceptable proofs and eligibility will be determined at the discretion of the First Families Committee.

Whether you are a seasoned amateur genealogist or just getting started, we can work with you to get your research started or through the whole process. Call 812-332-2517 ext. 4 or email with any questions.

How to apply

To qualify for the Monroe County First Families, you must prove descent from an ancestor who lived in Monroe County, Indiana, on or before December 31, 1849.

  1. Begin with yourself. You need a birth document or church record to prove your birth. If you are a married female, provide a marriage proof to show your name change.
  2. Show proof of parentage for every generation between the applicant and the pioneer ancestor using primary documents when possible.
  3. Note the source for each document in the margin or bottom of the page.
  4. The census will only be accepted for proof of parentage when other primary documents cannot be found.


Download the application here.

The deadline for each year’s applications is January 31. Accepted proof and eligibility will be determined at the discretion of the First Families Committee. If you do not have enough documentation, you will be contacted with further instructions. Certificates will be awarded in March of each year.

Please print all information clearly on your application. Application Forms must be completed and accompanied by an ancestry chart (provided or your own), copies of proof descent documents, a photograph or portrait of the pioneer ancestor (if available), and the fee of $20.00 by check or money order made out to the Monroe County History Center, attn: First Families.

Send all application materials to:

Monroe County History Center
attn: Monroe County First Families
202 E 6th Street
Bloomington, IN 47408

Rules of Evidence

Primary Evidence:

Birth record, baptismal record, marriage record, census, probate records, or other records made by governments or churches at the time the person lived. (Death records are not proof of birth date or parents, only proof of death.)

Secondary Evidence:

Indexes, obituaries, newspaper or county history articles, directories, tombstone inscriptions, Bible records, internet family histories or letters. Several of these are needed when you do not have primary documents. Census record copies should show the name of the county and page number.

Copies of each proving document must be included and identified, not just listed.