Gazetteers list geographical names, such as cities, towns, settlements, rivers, mountains, villages, and districts. They identify these locations and sometimes give historical and biographical information concerning early residents.
How did your ancestor find the correct destination out West? Quite possibly they had a copy of Brown's book:
- Brown, Samuel R. The Western Gazetteer or Emigrant's Directory, Containing a Geographical Description of the Western States and Territories, viz. The States of Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi: and the Territories of Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Michigan, and North-Western. Auburn, N.Y.: H.C. Southwick, 1817. Digital versions at NIU Library Digitization Projects and World Vital Records ($).
- Baker, Ronald L. Indiana Place Names. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1975. FHL Book 977.2 E2b. This gives the names of counties, cities, towns and villages and a brief history of the name or place.
- Chamberlain, E. The Indiana Gazetteer, or, Topographical Dictionary of the State of Indiana. Indianapolis, Ind.: E. Chamberlain, 1849. FHL Book 977.2 E5i; Film 873978; Fiche 6051129. In addition to identifying the locations of towns, cities, counties, and rivers, this gives the population of the towns in 1849.
- Scott, John. The Indiana Gazetteer or Topographical Dictionary. 1826. Reprint. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Historical Society, 1954. FHL Book 977.2 E5s.
- The National Gazetteer of the United States of America -- Indiana, 1988. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1988. FHL Book 977.2 E5n. This contains an alphabetical listing of places or geographical features, such as towns, villages, lakes, churches, and schools, and gives the county, coordinates, and U.S. Geological Survey map name. Includes early maps.
For river landings, see:
- Adams, Louis A. Adam's Directory of Points and Landings on Rivers and Bayous in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. (includes Tennessee) New Orleans : W.L. Murray, 1877. Digital version at Internet Archive.
See United States Gazetteers for additional sources.
Family History Library Collection
Indiana gazetteers are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
INDIANA- NAMES, GEOGRAPHICAL
INDIANA- HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY