State of Kentucky
Archives, Libraries, Publications
Historical & Genealogical Societies

Archives  •  Museums  •  Libraries  •  Periodicals  •  Historical & Genealogical Societies  •  Newspapers & Publications
Societies and Archive

It is recommended to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Kentucky that you might visit by making contact with to the appropriate archive or library ahead of time.

The majority of, if not all, Kentucky repositories include published resources that present its collections in addition to research policy.

Kentucky archives and historical agencies likewise have Internet web sites which provide the same content. Several actually contain down-loadable data for some or parts within their collections.

Kentucky Archives

  • Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, 300 Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601; (502) 564-8300; Also has birth and death records for the cities of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Newport, which were established under city ordinance prior to 1911.
  • Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, 275 East Main Street - 1E-A, Frankfort, KY  40621
  • Hancock County Archives , P.O. Box 667, Hawesville, Kentucky 42348; (270) 927-8095
  • Jefferson County ARCHIVES/RECORDS DEPARTMENT, 514 West Liberty Street (Room 100), (Old Jail Building)

Kentucky Museums

  • Mason County Museum, (has a genealogical department) (606)564-5865
  • Breathitt County Museum, 329 Broadway, Jackson, Ky 41339; Phone: 606-666-4159
  • Breckinridge County Historical Society Museum, Main St., Hardinsburg 40143; 270-756-2347 or 270-756-2867. Open Sat. 9-12. FREE. Across from the county courthouse in a former bank building, the museum contains artifacts from the entire county's historic past.

Kentucky Libraries

Kentucky Periodicals

Genealogical journals make available many sources of information, they are usually overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in exploring for family history. Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals that may contain records associated with the region or vicinity they serve. Usually these publications offer articles concerning records which aren't accessible somewhere else.

  • The Bull (1968–present)West-Central Kentucky Family Research Association
  • Bluegrass (1973–present)Kentucky Genealogical Society
  • Tree Shaker. (1982–present) Ashland, Ky: Eastern Kentucky Genealogical Society.
  • The East Kentuckian: Journal of Genealogy and History. (1965–present)
  • Lexington, Ky.: published privately by Clayton R. Cox
  • Filson Club Historical Quarterly. (1926–present)Louisville, Ky.: Filson Club
  • Kentucky Ancestors. (1965–present)Frankfort, Ky.: Kentucky Historical Society
  • Kentucky Family Records. (1969–present)West-Central Kentucky Family Research Association
  • The Kentucky Genealogist.(1959–present) James R. Bentley, ed.
  • Kentucky Kinfolk. (1985–present) Kentucky Tree-Search.
  • Kentucky Pioneer Genealogy and Records. (1979–present) Cook and McDowell Publications.
  • The Register of the Kentucky Historical(1903–present) Kentucky Historical Society
  • South Central Kentucky Historical and Genealogical Society Quarterly. (1974–present)
  • South Central Kentucky Historical and Genealogical Society. Changed name to Traces in 1982.
  • Western Kentucky Journal, PO Box 325, Newburgh, IN; Covers the following counties:Henderson, Union, Webster, Trigg, Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon, Hopkins
  • Kentucky City Directories  (search.ancestry.com)
  • Shaffer's advertising directory for 1839-40  (search.ancestry.com)
  • The Cincinnati directory for the year 1834  (search.ancestry.com)

Kentucky Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost each individual Kentucky you will find a Kentucky genealogical society, a Kentucky genealogical council, or both. Besides their own work, Kentucky-level groups oftentimes help manage the efforts of local societies within the Kentucky. Their publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those produced through the local societies.

State or Regional Societies

County, City, Town or Township Societies

Ethnic Societies

Religious Societies

Research in Kentucky Newspapers & Publications

The biggest repository of Kentucky Newspapers is at the University of Kentucky Library. As part of the United States newspaper project, many if its newspaper records can be found in a database on the Internet. A recent project is called the Kentucky Union List, and it includes over 14,000 titles. It is currently being placed on microfilm. An inter-library loan program will make those records available once the microfilming process is complete. The Worcester, Massachusetts American Antiquarian Society has archives containing several older Kentucky newspaper publications.

Most early Kentucky county news was published in Lexington, as part of the Kentucky Gazette. The University of Kentucky Library has copies of that newspaper on microfilm, as do several other libraries in the state and in the country as a whole. There is an available index to the Louisville Courier for 1917 to 1977.

The Louisville Free Public Library, Filson Library, Lexington Public Library, and Kentucky Historical Society each have copies of Kentucky newspapers on microfilm, as do the FHL and several other libraries.

There are several collections of manuscripts that include information on Kentucky residents. Many of them can be found at the Filson Library, University of Louisville, Kentucky Historical Society, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Kentucky Library. The manuscript collections below are full of useful genealogical information.

The Ardery Collection: This collection features Virginia and Kentucky land, Bible, and court records. It also includes certain correspondences and family history information. It can be found on microfilm at both the FHL and the University of Kentucky Library.

The Barton Collection: This collection contains a lot of information from Pendleton County. It also includes some information from other Kentucky counties and other states. It can be found on microfilm through the Kentucky Historical Society, FHL, and Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. It is also available at the University of Kentucky Library.

The Draper Manuscripts: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin holds this collections, which includes a lot of information about Kentucky and its residents. It has been placed on microfilm and copies are available for purchase, as well as via inter-library loan programs.

The Draper Collection: This collection contains lots of valuable genealogical information. It can be found on microfilm at the FHL. Copies are also available at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Kentucky Historical Society, and University of Kentucky.

The DAR Collection: This collection contains church, cemetery, and bible records, along with obituaries, probate records, and vital records. It can be found at the DAR Library, and the FHL also has copies of the originals on file.

The Shane Manuscript Collection: This collection, which is full of useful information, is located at both the Kentucky Historical Society and Filson Library.

Books

Newspapers - Kentucky newspapers can supply all sorts of clues about historical events, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and much more.

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