Sheila Kell has been appointed the new county historian in Jennings County. Kell was born in Phoenix, Ariz., and raised in Indiana and California. Most of her working life was in the electronics manufacturing industry in supply chain management. As was common then, her maternal grandparents lived with the family during her formative years, and since both were born prior to 1900, they spoke often of their early lives in rural southern Indiana.
At the age of 34, Kell discovered she had been adopted. Of course, there were some questions about her birth families, all of whom were from Indiana. Some of these questions her adopted parents could not answer — and so began a quest that continues to this day. Learning about her roots took her back to the founding of Indiana, and the more she researched, the more it interested her.
In 2005, Kell became the county coordinator for Jennings County and Jefferson County with INGenWeb, an online genealogy database project; she still serves in both positions. She became the local history and genealogy librarian at the Jennings County Public Library in late 2010.
Shortly after, Kell became a member of the board of directors of the Jennings County Historical Society and at historic Eleutherian College in Lancaster, Jefferson County. She set up a research center focusing on family history in her home in Vernon, across the street from the Jennings County Historical Society. She remained with the Jennings County Public Library for 10 years and retired in 2021. She still acts as a consultant with the library and with the Historical Society.
The Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau thank all Indiana county historians for their service and dedication to local history. In 1981, through an effort to improve the historical communication network in the state, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau established the Indiana County Historian Program.
County historians serve as volunteers appointed by the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Historical Bureau to promote local history in their counties, connect individuals and groups with history resources, promote collaboration between local history organizations and maintain connections with the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Historical Bureau.
For information about the Indiana county historians, visit https://indianahistory.org/across-indiana/hometown-resources/find-who-you-need-by-county/.