Genealogy and Local History
Tippecanoe County Public Library has several resources available for individuals wanting to research their family or local history. Most of these are located at the Downtown Library in the Family Memory Center and the Sweezy Room of Indiana History.
TCPL subscribes to two genealogy databases, Ancestry Library Edition and HeritageQuest. These databases provide access to a wide range of genealogy resources, including the US census in a searchable form. HeritageQuest is available from home; Ancestry is only available inside the library. There are also sevearl databases for newspapers. Please see the Databases page for more detail.
Family Memory Center
The Family Memory Center is home to technology that can help you research local and family history. It was made possible by a generous donation from the Friends of the Library as part of their 50th anniversary. The former computer lab was renovated and new equipment purchased with their gift.
The Family Memory Center contains TCPL's microfilm collection. This includes the local newspapers back to the 1850s. We also have the Indiana Census. You can also bring in microfilm or microfiche of your own to use. There are three microfilm machines with attached printers, plus a ScanPro digital scanner which save files to a flash drive or send them by email.
Unfortunately the microfilm is not searchable. However, we do have several indexes available to help you find what you're looking for. TCPL also has a searchable database for the Journal & Courier back to 1999.
The Family Memory Center has a scanning station with a large flat-bed scanner. It has a 11.8 x 17" scanning bed, making it perfect for large documents, and has a 600 dpi resolution. The scanning surface also goes right up to the front edge, which is angled. This allows books to be set with the inner spine on the edge, so that an entire page can be scanned without pressing the book flat and potentially damaging it.
Attached to the scanner station is an archival printer. It prints with photo-quality resolution. It also has special archival paper that is designed to last decades without any deterioration, unlike normal paper which tends to yellow and fade. Because of the paper and ink quality, archival printouts cost $1.00. Please ask for assistance if you have any questions.
Film to Digital Converter
If you have old slides or film, there is a "F2D Mighty" converter. This device can take 35mm, 127 (1.5x1.5"), 126KPK, and 110 slides or negatives and convert them to digital format. It will save the files directly to an SD card. It can also take Super 8 film, and once an entire film strip has been scanned it can be turned into a silent video. If you would like to use the F2D converter, please ask in the Portal and staff will help set it up.
VHS to DVD Copying
If you have old VHS tapes sitting around, you can convert them to DVD or digital files for free. The VHS machine can either transfer the video directly to a blank DVD, or it can save the video to the computer for later editing or upload. DVDs can also be duplicated once you have made them. You will need to bring a blank DVD-R with you, or for files a USB drive. Sign up to use the machine at the reference desk. Please note that the conversion process will take the entire length of the tape. For example, if a home movie is an hour long, it will take an hour to convert. You may want to borrow a book or magazine, or bring other genealogy tasks to work on. It is possible to convert just part of a tape.
In addition to the databases and microfilm, there are additional print resources located in the Sweezey Room of Indiana History. These inlcude:
- Lafayette / West Lafayette City Directories and Phone Books from 1858 - Present
- Birth, Death, and Marriage Indexes for Tippecanoe County
- Cemetery Indexes
- High School Yearbooks
- Civil War Muster Rolls
In addition, there are a number of books on local history, including biographies of famous individuals from Tippecanoe County. For a more in-depth listing, please click here.
TCPL's Reference Department is able to do lookups for obituaries, newspaper articles, and other resources on a limited basis for individuals outside the local area. Residents of Tippecanoe County must come to the library in person for assistance. There is a $10 lookup fee per name or article.
Information that you need to include with your request:
- Full name of the person or persons you are looking for.
- Date of event. Please be as exact as possible. We can only search over a span of a few days.
- Publication, if known. Most local announcements are in the Journal & Courier.
If you do not know some of this information, please consider checking our online indexes or databases. Unfortunately we are not able to do general lookups without a name and timeframe. To request a lookup, you must send a written letter, self-addressed return envelope, and payment to the following address:
Tippecanoe County Public Library
627 South Street
Lafayette, IN 47901
Include your name and contact information as well in case there are questions. If you would like a scan, please indicate this and include a valid email address. Checks should be made out to the Tippecanoe County Public Library.
If you have questions about lookup procedures, please call 765-429-0113, or submit an email via the Ask a Librarian page.