Shelby County Public Library - Shelbyville, Indiana



The Genealogy and Local History Room is located next to the main library in the Carnegie East Wing. Use Side Entrance B to enter the department.

33 W Broadway St.
Shelbyville IN 46176

317-398-8144

Hours: 
Mon-Thurs 9-8:45 pm
Fri 9-6:45 pm
Sat 9-4:45 pm
Sun Closed

Tracing your roots and have a question? Genealogy searches may be requested by phone, mail, or email Judy Cheatham, Genealogy and Local History Director (jcheatham@sscpl.lib.in.us). Charges are $5 for the search, $0.15 per page for printing, and postage fees.

Thanks again, RushShelby, for the microfilm reader/printer!

"DNA Testing and Your Family Tree" 

A special workshop will be presented by Jeff Bassett, Founder of the Bassett DNA Project, on Wed., April 12, 2017 at 7pm in the Genealogy Department of the Shelby County Public Library. Learn about the different types of tests, the different companies that do the testing, and how to read the results of the test and more. 

FREE -- No reservations are necessary to attend.
Genealogy Classes will be held in the Genealogy and History Dept. (Shelbyville) on Mondays: February 6, 13, and 20 from 6-7pm. Please call Judy Cheatham or Charlene Hoff at 317-398-8144 to register for the classes. A $10 class fee will be charged to cover material costs. 


The SCPL Genealogy Department provides housing for documentation dating as far back as 1822 for Shelby County and surrounding counties. It remains one of the largest sources of genealogy documentation in the state of Indiana. Currently, over 3500 family and history folders are available for the general public to access within our facility. These files contain invaluable information from Shelby County’s earliest organizations and settlers – many who traveled from Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Virginia and Kentucky. 

Situated between Indianapolis, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio, Shelby County was part of the territory called the “New Purchase.” The Delaware Indian Tribe ceded this area by treaty to the United States Government in 1818 at St. Mary’s, Ohio. Soon after, Jacob Whetzel, blazed a wagon path from Franklin County in Eastern Indiana to the ‘Bluff’ on the White River. It was by way of this wilderness trail, known as the “Whetzel Trace,” that many of Shelby County’s pioneering settlers came to make new homes. As one eyewitness testified, “Without money, and without the assistance which money brings, they had come here to make war upon nature in one of her most forbidding forms. Where now we may see broad fields and wide pastures of open woodland, then thickly stood the great oak, the poplar, the beech, the maple and the ash, their limbs and branches so closely intertwined that, when clothed in their summer verdure, a shade so deep and dark was produced as to shut out the sun from May to October.” 

Two computers are available in this area for your genealogy search assistance. Genealogy records are available on microfilms or check the following online resources:

These are just a few of the websites which cater toward ancestral searches.

Other Available Reference Resources Available in the Department:
  • Census Records (317.3)
  • Family Histories (929.2)
  • Indiana Histories (977.2)
  • Shelby County Histories (977.273)
  • Shelby County Newspapers (newspaper file) from 1853
  • Telephone Books
  • City Directories
  • School Yearbooks
  • Book on Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church History, New Palestine, IN
  • Bartholomew County 1850 Census Index
  • Military Record of all men and women serving in World War II from Shelby Co.
  • Shelby County Marriages on Microfilm - 1822-1952
  • Marriage & Engagement Announcements and Pictures in Books for Years 1948-2010
  • Birth Announcements from Newspapers - 1921-1928
  • More Obituaries in Books

Do you have a collection that you would like to share? If you have family files, photos, yearbooks, etc. that you would like to donate to the Genealogy House, please contact Judy Cheatham at 317-398-8144 or jcheatham@sscpl.lib.in.us.

A display case, donated by Maurice Holmes who was an avid genealogist, can be used by patrons to show their various collections. The main library also has two display cases that can be reserved. Please contact Nyla Johnson at 317-398-7121 if you are interested.

Collection Development Policy


Yearbooks Needed:

Work is in progress on completing the collection of county school yearbooks. If you have copies that the department could purchase or if you would like to donate a copy, please call or email Judy Cheatham at 317-398-8144 or jcheatham@sscpl.lib.in.us.


Heritage Trails:

Join in the conversation about Shelby County history and ancestry at Heritage Trails gatherings. The group meets on the first Monday of every month at 6pm at the Shelbyville Genealogy and History House. No membership is required. Everyone is welcome! Ann Miller is the president of the group.