Dear Historian,

In 1997 the late Jefferson County historian, Laura Lynne Scharer, wrote an excellent manual for local government historians titled, “But What Am I Supposed to Do?”  It contained extensive information designed to aid the new municipal Historian. During the past 20 years, our activities and the tools we use to perform our responsibilities have changed, making it a good time to create a quick reference for today’s busy historians.

The intent of this reference is to provide you with just the information you need to understand a topic or complete a task.  However, if you have a comment, correction, question, or request for a specific topic not covered here, please contact Margaret Hadsell, at

Unlike published documents, digital information can be updated quickly so although these topics are in PDF format to make them easy to print and share, you should always check this site to ensure you have the latest update.    When a section is updated, a revision date will be shown in the lower left corner of each page; for example, Rev. Oct 2017.

Table of Contents

Select a topic to open a PDF that you can read online or download for printing and sharing.  Additional topics and those without a PDF will be added as soon as they are complete.

View the 1997 manual “But What am I Suppose to Do”?