For a short period following the Civil War, my great-great-grandfather, John Hendrickson, lived in Lincoln County, Kansas. While he was there, the area was subjected to deadly raids by the Sioux and Cheyenne, with several settlers and their children either killed or kidnapped.
An Internet cousin, Gene Bird, told me about a wonderful book called Indian Raids in Lincoln County, Kansas, 1864 and 1869. Written in 1909 and reprinted in 1971, it detailed the raids and gave sketches of several residents, including my family.
I found a copy of the book online and bought it for my own library. Prices ranged from under $20 for a reprint to well over $100 for a first edition. Since reading the book, I discovered that Custer’s 7th Cavalry was involved in several of the Indian chases. That discovery led me to another used book, Custer, Come at Once! This book, which chronicles Custer’s years at Fort Hays, gave me even more information about the raids and helped round out my understanding of the historic events that year in Lincoln County. I later read more about my family in newspaper articles and other remembrances posted online at the Lincoln County USGenWeb pages at skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/index.html.
Out-of-print books, particularly those that examine the history of a town or county, can be of exceptional help in your research. They won’t contain marriage licenses or wills, but they will help flesh out the everyday details of your ancestor’s lives.
My favorite sources to search for out-of-print or used books are:
• Advanced Book Exchange
Search thousands of used book dealers with one click.
There are frequently used books up for auction, and in fact, this is where I found the Custer book.
A combined service of Bibliofind and Amazon.com.
“Books you thought you’d never find.”
You may find a used book through the out-of-print service, or through an individual seller using Amazon’s zShops.