CDPL web site

Local History and Genealogy

Come in and learn about your family.

What’s New in the CDPL Local History Department?

The Ladoga Library and the CDPL board have recently come to an agreement on the permanent loan of two county newspaper back issues from Ladoga Library to CDPL. Crawfordsville Library would like to thank the Ladoga Library for their very generous loan of valuable local history!

Check out our local history blog for more interesting posts.

LH database statistics 2016

Newspaper Digitization Project

In 2015, CDPL received a Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) grant to pay for the digitization of our early county newspapers through the Hoosier Chronicles website operated by the Indiana State Library. Learn more about our Early Montgomery County Newspapers project!

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 databases. These databases will give details that will help direct your research in the library. We have more than 15 local databases as well as access to Heritage Quest and Ancestry.com.
  • 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 database 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 (ref@cdpl.lib.in.us). Or fill out our online donation form.


Other useful local history and genealogy links:

Staff Research:

Local History/Genealogy databases

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)

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 fro 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