I just realized there's another way to use Amazon as a perennially cash-strapped researcher. I can compile a bibliography of books I want to read and then borrow them through inter-library loan. In addition, if the authors are still alive, I am also able to contact them to ask for suggestions on resources.
It is not easy trying to research ancestors when I live hundreds of miles from here they did. There is no web site that has all the information you could ever need from any area. Research is even more difficult when your ancestors were sociopolitical minorities in the area.
I've been trying to find where my great-great-grandfather Albert Galatine Gatton came from for years. He was born about 1819 in Ohio and Native American. He died of pneumonia in Corinth, MS, while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, so there is no death certificate. His marriage record to my great-great-grandmother lists no parents. I was able to find a record for his first marriage to Hannah Wyckoff on 15 March 1838 in Muskingum County, Ohio, still with no parental information. It still doesn't mean he was born there, either.
James Gatton and his wife Rosannah Canner lived in the area with their family. Tantalizingly one of their sons was named Galen. I don't know if they were related or not. Even if they were, I would still have a Native American ancestor to find. I think it's most likely it was a Native wife.
Fortunately in this time period there weren't that many people in Ohio to research. There is one core Gatton family. It has a son named Greenberry Gatton whose history goes unrecorded. I don't know if that's because he died young or if the family lost touch after he became an adult. The only way I can think of proceeding is to read about the early histories of Native Americans and Europeans in Ohio. I think it's possible that Albert's father was trading with Native people and met his Native wife that way. With any luck there might be an early record with Greenberry's name on it.
I have another mystery ancestry in the same area, Solomon Hise. He is my mother's ancestor. He was Native American. He belonged to the United Brethren church. That sect was the only one that Native people in Ohio trusted. I don't believe the parents that people have documented for him because it shows no Native ancestry. I really haven't worked on his background very much yet. I hope to.