Archives of St. Joseph County · Local Genealogy · Local History · Records · Resources · South Bend Area Genealogical Society · St. Joseph County Public Library

Congratulations to Irv Morse!


Dear Nominating Committee:

I have worked at the St. Joseph County – City of South Bend Archives and Records Center for twenty years starting in 1996. The last sixteen years as the Archivist and Director. It has been my pleasure to work with Irv Morse for all those years. I remember hearing stories about the CRIMP Project that started in 1988 in St. Joseph County. (CRIMP – County Records of Indiana Microfilm Project was a statewide project that started in 1980 jointly operated by the Historical Society, the Indiana State Library, the Records Management Section of the Indiana Supreme Court, and the Genealogy Society of Utah.)  Irv Morse was one of the volunteers involved in this project. Irv was involved in preserving records by microfilming both government and private county records such as genealogies, churches, cemeteries, and other miscellaneous records. After the CRIMP project, Irv continued to research St. Joseph County records.

This research led him to various county governmental sites; the County-City Archives and Record Center, Mishawaka Clerks Office, Health Dept. South Bend and Health Dept., Mishawaka, are some of the government sites that Irv visited and worked on governmental projects. Irv receives all the spreadsheets from our volunteers to maintain on his computer as an off-site back-up plan. Irv was involved in and is still working on many of the county government databases that are listed on the website.

=Creating an index for divorces range of years completed 1832-1965.

=Worked on a Health Department Death Records index at South Bend and Mishawaka.

=Index of marriages from 1832-2014. This includes both South Bend & Mishawaka.

=Index of estate files starting 1832-1965.

  • Indexing and flattening old civil files (1832-1968)
  • City Court files of South Bend dating in the 1963-1965.
  • Index of Delinquent Tax List books from 1866-1888.
  • Plus eight (8) more indexes listed on their website page,

In the past twenty-nine years he has helped build a massive governmental records database, helped solve and answer many genealogy questions from Archives patrons, and has helped in so many more ways to improve and expand our records into a research tool that will help others world-wide.

Irv Morse is the ideal candidate to receive the Distinguished County Genealogical Service Award.

Vicky Rydzynski
St. Joseph County – City of South Bend Archives/Records Center
1140 S. Lafayette Blvd.
South Bend, IN 46601


Dear IGS:

I would like to recommend our Mr. Irv Morse of our Society for your Distinguished County Service Award. In his 35 plus years in our Society he has been a major contributor to genealogy in our Michiana area including many days per year of volunteer work at the family history departments of both of our local libraries, our St. Joseph County Archives, and our St. Joseph County Clerk’s office.  He has served our Society tirelessly during all those years in several officer positions and given generously of his time and expertise to all needing research help.  The following details his many contributions to our Society and to genealogy in our area:

  • A SBAGS member since at least 1980, possibly even earlier to our founding in 1976.
  • Our SBAGS President in 1988 and 1989, our co-President in 1994.
  • A SBAGS Board member, Director, or other Society officer various times during our history, always serving when called upon or when his skills were needed.
  • Awarded our Society’s Oak Tree Award in 1991, given annually to one person who has made outstanding contributions to our Society and to genealogy in our area.
  • Served as our Society’s senior researcher for most of these years and continues to do so. He has researched and answered local, statewide, nationwide, and worldwide inquiries from people needing family history help from our area.
  • Served as our Society’s Treasurer since 2009 and continues to do so. Formalized our financial records properly to an Excel format.
  • Served on the CRIMP project (County Records of Indiana Microfilming Project) with LDS personnel filming both public and private records in 1978 and 1979.   Some 500 rolls of microfilm were filmed during this period and our Society members including Mr. Morse continued filming county records for several more years as more records became available adding several hundred more rolls of film.
  • Volunteers weekly, for over 20 years, at the St. Joseph County Archives assisting in indexing and compiling databases on all the many vital records stored there.  We believe our county has one of the most complete computerized databases for genealogy research.
  • Volunteers weekly, for over 20 years, at the Family and Local History Department of our St. Joseph County Public library as senior researcher for genealogy inquiries to the library.
  • Volunteered to index County death records at the St. Joseph County Clerk’s office allowing them to enter those records to their new computer program. This allows instant data retrieval by that office to citizen request.
  • Maintains a personal database collection of many city and county vital records on his personal computer allowing research from his home to inquiries.

Summarizing, I and our Society, do sincerely believe our member and friend Mr. Irv Morse with his years of dedication and contribution to genealogy in our county and area, most certainly deserves your approval of the Distinguished County Genealogical Service award.

William Minish
Member, Director, President Emeritus,
South Bend Area Genealogical Society


Dear Award Committee:

My position in the Local & Family History Services Department of the St. Joseph County Public Library has given me the privilege of working with Irv over the last several years. Irv spends at minimum three mornings a week in our department, answering genealogical questions for our patrons and those received by the South Bend Area Genealogical Society (SBAGS). In addition to the time he spends with us, he actively indexes for the St. Joseph County Archive, and then continues work on his own. He is personally responsible for many of the indexing resources we have on our shelves, and even some that are now available on The requirement is for 10 years of service, but Irv has been contributing for close to 50.

Something that I admire greatly about Irv is his motivation. Many people work with records incidental to their own families. Irv does this work on a much broader scale because he believes in its value, and wants to provide individuals with tools to connect them with their families.

In addition to indexing and answering queries, Irv serves as the treasurer of the local genealogical society. He maintains membership in many other societies nationwide, and donates their publications to the library for use by our local researchers. Continuing work done by his father, and his grandfather (who was a secretary of the local G. A. R. post), Irv has always served a genealogical mission, and even donated historic materials kept by the family to the library for use by others.

I have never met someone so committed to genealogy and the goal of making information more accessible to all. St. Joseph County and all those with connections to this community are lucky to have him, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award.


Greta Fisher
County Genealogist & Assistant Librarian
Local & Family History Services
St. Joseph County Public Library





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