Your Guide to Researching Your Kentucky Ancestors

State Capital: Frankfort
First Settled:1774
Prior to 1780 part of Kentucky was included in the state of Virginia.
Admitted as the 15th state in 1792
First mostly extant federal census:1810, but there are earlier tax lists that have been used to subsitute.
Statewide birth and death registration:1911 (with some earlier from large cities.) See county records for earlier births and deaths.
Marriage records are usually available from early in the formation of a county and were kept only at the county level until 1958.
XXXX land state

Basic Guides to Kentucky Research

All of the three books listed below have a small section covering each state that includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources for Kentucky. If you don't have a copy of one of the books, try to get a photocopy of the pages covering Kentucky from one of them at your local library.

  1. Handybook for Genealogists ( 11th edition) (find in a library) (note: some libraries may have earleir editions; those are perfectly usable)
  2. Ancestry's Redbook (you'll want the 3rd edition) (find in a library)
  3. The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogical Research (find in a library)

Books you might purchase or use in a library include

Use the Family History Library

Bookmark or print out these FHL documents:

Use the catalog at the FHL to find out what has been filmed covering the state Kentucky ; Click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the county you are researching and once there click View Related Places in the upper right to find sources that have been filmed for the township or city. You will want to check for resources in all three jurisdictions, although most people check the county holdings first, township next and state last.


Projects on the web:

See what is available for your counties of interest at at the Kentucky Gen Web (use the county selection list to find what's available for each of the counties). Then do the same for the ALHN Kentucky pages and the AHGP Kentucky pages. See also Kentucky Genealogy, which doesn't have a page for every county, but has a substantial amount of helpful information.

Visit the websites of these libraries. archives and societies.

Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. This site offers a helpful page on Family History/Records Research. (but note fees apply to the searches). You will probably first want to use other resources to verify that the record exists.

The website of the Kentucky Historical Society has a Research and Genealogy section.

The Kentucky Genealogical Society website includes a substantial amount of information on

Cemetery Records:

KHS Kentucky Cemetery Records Database.

Census Records

Kentucky Census Records online

Church Records:

Access Genealogy: Kentucky Church Records


City Directories: Kentucky (this site begins to identify what directories exist and where they can be located, but it is not a complete union list of all city directories.)


Kentucky Ancestors comes to you with a membership in the Kentucky Historical Society, but a table of contents for the full run and .pdf copies of several back copies are available online for free.

More Links:

  • Cyndi's list: Kentucky
  • Access Genealogy: Kentucky
  • Linkpendium: Kentucky links
  • GenealogyToday's State Gen Site: XXX
  • Genealink's XXXX page
  • Rootsweb U.S. Resources: XXXXXX



Books, Periodicals, Articles, Tapes, CD's etc.
On The Web



Cemetery RecordsFind burials at CensusThe 1880 census can be searched for free at Find other online cesus records and more sensus informaiton at's XXX links. Churches County HistoriesNaturalizationsNewspapersThe XXX Newspaper Project will help you locate newspapers. Those that have been filmed can usually be borrowed on interlibrary loan. Once you've identified a newspaper you want to see, ask the Librarian at your local library to try to get it on interlibrary loan. Vital RecordsTo get information about vital records, check the XXX Vital Records (official page) or the Vitalrec VVVV PageSpecial populationsBlack SheepFinally, check out XXXX Black Sheep Ancestors! Queries and Lookups
RAGKMore links

  • Access Genealogy List of XXX Links
    Cyndi's List XXXX Page
  • Linkpendium's XXXX Page