Why are there gaps in primary records covering the most dramatic moments in our county’s first 60 years?  

  1. Some records were lost in a fire.
  2. Not all people could read or write.
  3. Industrious people didn’t take selfies.

Monroe County Field Notes is a virtual dig to uncover stories about 19th-century landmarks and people, from 1816–1876.

Download a promotional flyer pdf

As we emphasize oral history and accessibility for Field Notes, source citations are not used.



Maps for 19th Century Story Telling

  1. Bloomington in the Gilded Age (1880s & 1890s) (PDF)
  2. Monroe County Field Notes Map - Beta
  3. Monroe County Field Notes – Harrodsburg Edition (PDF)
  4. Hoosier Character (1800-1900) – Beta with MoCo GIS
  5. David Nord's Bibliography (1815-1941)
  6. Monroe County – 1856 Plat Map
  7. Monroe County from 1876 Indiana Atlas
  8. Monroe County Survey Utility
  9. US Land Patent Search – Bureau of Land Management
  10. Reconstructing Bloomington (1900 & 1907)



Select a location to research and use these tools:  


Underground Railroad

We have a special interest in the Underground Railroad (UGRR). Was your character or location connected to the UGRR here? Learn more about Monroe County Underground Railroad Resources.



When you've finished your research, summarize the history of the location and characters in about four or five sentences so we can add a pin to our maps.

Email your findings to:
indianaroom [at] mcpl.info (subject: Monroe%20County%20Field%20Notes)

Example Field Note:

My assignment was for Van Buren Township (Sec. 13) 39.12318609141971, -86.58709900992096 and here is my field note:

According to oral history about the Underground Railroad, Isaac Adkins was a slave catcher.
Following the laws of the times, working near his home on W. Leonard Springs Road.
This is west of where Monroe Hospital is today and north of Shirley Springs Cave or Leonard Springs Nature Park.


Find Gold?

Did you find something extra special? If you fall into your character or property history’s rabbit hole and go beyond the basics, or want to share more than a short paragraph, please email the Monroe County History Center librarian at library [at] monroehistory.org (subject: Field%20Notes%20Project%20Findings) .