Books for Search Help

These books can shed light on how to search for ancestors and local history data. Search the library catalog for more. Many can be checked out. Email us with your questions.

County Histories

1886: History of Jackson County, Indiana … (Brant and Fuller)

This history of Jackson County, its townships and its communities into the mid-1880s also includes biographical sketches of some families. Searchable archive is online by clicking on Brant & Fuller.

A 1905 history of Bartholomew and Jackson counties, Boley’s 1976 history and two histories published in the late 1980s by the Jackson County Historical Society also are available along with various township tidbits and municipal histories.

The library also has histories and other resources for surrounding and feeder counties.

Family Histories

Many of the family histories are listed in the library catalog. In the Local History area these books are located on the north side of the low shleves just behind the Information Services Desk.


The library has most of the city directories back to 1899. In the early years the directories were published several years apart so that 1899 is followed by 1912 and 1915. Some older phone directories also are available.

Research & Other Guides

A number of research guides in the library may be borrowed for closer reading. Some also are available for in-library use. General guides are supplemented by specialty guides such as pursuing local or family history interests, house and building histories, military history, country and ethnic history, and so on.

Be aware that only a small percentage of all the records for family history or other research are online. Starting your research online may be possible but as research continues, it will be necessary to locate original records of which digital images are not available. These guide and others can help with that search.

Getting Started

  • Researcher’s guide to American genealogy / Val D. Greenwood / various editions
  • The source: a guidebook of American genealogy / Loretto Dennis Szucs / various editions
  • Unpuzzling your past: the best-selling basic guide to genealogy / Emily Anne Croom / various editions
  • Who do you think you are? the essential guide to tracing your family history / Megan Smolenyak

Census Guides

  • The census book: a genealogist’s guide to Federal Census facts, schedules and indexes / William Dollarhide
  • Finding a place called home: a guide to African-American genealogy and historical identity / Dee Woodtor
  • Map guide to the U.S. federal censuses, 1790-1920 / William Thorndale & William Dollarhide
  • A practical guide to the “misteaks” made in census indexes / Richard H. Saldana

Courthouse Research

  • Courthouse research for family historians: your guide to genealogical treasures / Christine Rose
  • Research in Indiana courthouses: judicial and other records / John J. Newman

Immigration & Migration

  • Atlas of American Migration / Stephen A. Flanders
  • Bound away: Virginia and the westward movement / David Hackett Fischer
  • Carolina cradle; settlement of the northwest Carolina frontier, 1747-1762 / Robert Wayne Ramsey
  • Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1735-1815 / William Dollarhide
  • They came in ships: a guide to finding your immigrant ancestor’s arrival record / John Philip Colletta / various editions
  • Immigration books from English public records as well as forced emigrations to America and migrations within America by Peter Wilson Coldham
  • Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America / David Hackett Fischer
  • Various passenger and immigration indexes including Filby and others plus a number of books on German arrivals
  • Germanic genealogy: a guide to worldwide sources and migration patterns / Edward R. Brandt / includes articles on Venne and Osnabruk emigrants to Jackson County, Indiana