CDPL web site

Local History and Genealogy

Check out our local history blog for posts related to local history

Plan a visit

The Local History and genealogy collection is a part of the Reference Department. To take full advantage of your time doing on-site local history or genealogy research, the Reference Department staff have several recommendations before you arrive:

  • Fully explore the library Local History Collection databases (see below). These databases will give details that will help direct your research in the library. We have many local databases as well as access to Heritage Quest and
  • Contact the Reference Department staff in advance to be sure that enough staff will be available during your visit.
  • Become familiar with our collection to know what we have and where in the library it is stored. Some items are in archival storage and can be accessed only with permission.
  • Create lists of newspapers you would like to consult on microfilm to save time during your visit.
  • Bring all your current research notes with you in case you need to verify some details.

Local History staff members are available for consultation Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Researchers planning to visit during evening or weekend hours should contact the department a week in advance so that materials may be retrieved prior to their visit.  We must reserve the right to temporarily suspend archival services during very busy periods or during periods of low staffing levels. Please contact the Reference & Local History department with any questions or to make a research appointment at 765-362-2242 ext. 117.

Search the collection

  • Use our Local History Collection databases to search for local history and genealogy items. This database includes the most comprehensive list of items in our local history collection. Use the drop-down filter to limit your search to items on the 2nd floor, archives, basement storage, or workroom research files.
  • Use our online catalog to search for items. Local history and genealogy items are categorized by call number in three areas: RL: Montgomery County RG: outside Montgomery County RA: local authors. When you find an item in the Local History Collection database or the online catalog, be sure to look at the call number to see if the item is RL, RG, or RA.

Donate an item

We consider donations of all sorts for local history and genealogy. Do you have something you want to donate or even just loan for digitizing purposes? Drop in or contact the Reference/Local History Department at 765-362-2242 ext 117 ( Or fill out our online donation form.

Genealogy and Local History databases: National



Ancestry Library (onsite access only): Search Census records, books, and serials.


Heritage Quest

Heritage Quest Online (onsite access only):  Search Census records, books, and serials.  (Heritage Quest Online offsite access for CDPL card holders only)


Nineteenth Century Newspapers

19th Century U.S. Newspapers (onsite access only): Search 19th-century newspapers from every state.


Fold3: Search historical military records.


Genealogy and Local History databases: Local

CDPL LH Databases: statistics for 2017

LH Database statistics have been generated every year since 2005 and are available online. Statistics for 2017 are at:

Replace the “2017” in the URL for the year that you want to examine (ex.

Suggested CDPL databases to get started:

  • Local History Collection: Search the entire CDPL Local History collection for both catalogued and uncatalogued items.
  • Cemeteries of Montgomery County:Contains readings of county tombstones dating from the early 1800s to 1981.
  • Vital Statistics: An index to the births, marriages, deaths, obituaries, reunions, and more in local newspapers from 1834 to present day. You can consult the microfilm of papers onsite.
  • Marriage Affidavits, Records, and Licenses: Images (.pdf) of the actual pages for affidavits and records from 1883-1940. Licenses are also being digitized, from 1823-1940.
  • Images: Images (.jpg and .pdf) of our postcards, photos, letters, documents, etc. that we have scanned. It also references other images not yet scanned but held in storage.
  • Montgomery County magazines: Index to historical articles published between 1976-present. You can consult the magazines’ issues onsite.
  • Guardian’s Docket: Images (.pdf) of the actual pages, covering 1825-1874.
  • Naturalization Records: This index of naturalization records links to several types of digitized documents: transcriptions, photocopies of original documents, and original documents (when available) in .pdf or .jpg formats. Some names link to more than one document.
  • Persons and Firms: The Persons & Firms index covers a variety of publications useful to the researcher. Most of these publications do not have their own index. This database returns in your search the name of the publication, its location in the library (call number), and page numbers.

Hoosier Chronicles

Hoosier Chronicles website operated by the Indiana State Library: Early Montgomery County Newspapers project

More CDPL databases…

  • The Family Bible Project  from the Genealogy Club of Montgomery County offers access to information in local family Bibles.
  • Events: An index of events mentioned in local newspapers (includes accidents, business openings, crimes, fires, etc. mainly 1973-77, 1990, 1998-present). You can consult the microfilm of papers onsite.
  • Genealogy Vertical File (Index): An index of research (family group charts, pedigree charts, correspondence, etc.) contributed by patrons.
  • Hawcreek Church of God Records: Leads to images (.pdf) of the records between 1839-1853. (802 records)
  • Persons & Organizations (Index): An index to Montgomery County people and organizations (businesses, clubs, etc.) mentioned in various publications.
  • Register of Negroes and Mulattoes: Leads to images (.pdf) of the actual pages, covering 1851-1853.
  • Sheet music scores: A compilation of sheet music or scores including patriotic and novelty songs from the early 1900s, soundtrack songs from popular films of the 1930s and 1940s, holiday carols from around the world, and an assortment of popular hits from the Twentieth Century.
  • Teachers: Examinations and Contracts Leads to images (.pdf) of the documents covering 1881-1912.
  • Veterans: This database contains information on more than 6,000 county veterans associated with Montgomery County, from the Revolutionary War to present day.
  • Yearbooks: An index to many annuals of Montgomery County schools from 1902-present. This database covers the yearbooks that we possess, which you can consult onsite.

CDPL Local History/Genealogy digitized resources

References and tutorials

Quick reference to our Birth records (.pdf)

Quick reference to our Death records (.pdf)

Quick reference to our Plat maps (.pdf)

Quick reference for 16mm microfilm (.pdf)

Family Bible Database Tutorial (.pdf)

Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County

You maybe interested in the collection of our county museum.

View the database of the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County

Miscellaneous staff research

Detchon family — Letters and documents  from as early as 1850 helped us piece together the history of the Elliott Detchon family, a prominent local family.

Local entertainers — Find out about some of the famous entertainers who came from this area, including Stephen Crane (Actor/Restaurateur), Maude Snyder (Actress), Wilbur de Paris (Jazz Musician), and many more.

Julia Ann Riley —  Read the 1834 folded stampless letter written by a Crawfordsville resident, Julia Ann Riley. At the time of this letter, Miss Riley was serving as a missionary in Crawfordsville, and was reporting to a Christian friend in New York.

Maurine Watkins — Maurine Watkins was a journalist and playwright, best remembered for her play of “Chicago,” which saw several film adaptations.

Remley Family Collection — Thanks to a 2015 donation made by David Remley, the library’s local history collection now includes artifacts, photographs, and documents relating to the John and Sarah McCain Remley family, early settlers in Montgomery County.

Lt. Russell M. Baldwin — On August 27, 1974 Baldwin responded to a call concerning a robbery when he was shot and killed. He is the only Crawfordsville police officer killed in the line of duty.

World War I letters — In the early 1960s, the Crawfordsville District Public Library received the war-related correspondence of Mrs. Cordelia (Brenneman) Thompson who lived in Cherry Grove, six miles north of Crawfordsville. The letters in the collection were mainly written by Mrs. Thompson’s two brothers, Amos and Roy Brenneman, who served during World War I.

Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County

Genealogy Club of Montgomery County

Genealogy Club of Montgomery County Facebook page

Montgomery County GenWeb