Daniel Boone explored the region in 1767 and then founded Boonesboro in 1775, after cutting a trail through Cumberland Gap, when was known as the Wilderness Trail.

In December 31, 1776, the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County (aka Kentucke County) by dividing Fincastle County. During the 3-1/2 years of Kentucky County’s existence, government seat was in Harrodstown also known as Oldtown, and later renamed Harrodsburg.

Kentucky County was abolished on June 30, 1780, when it was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties of Virginia. Eventually, the residents of Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties petitioned for a separation from Virginia. Ten constitutional conventions were held in Danville between 1784 and 1792, in the Constitution Square Courthouse . The final convention, in April 1792, was approved by the Virginia House of Delegates.

The the Kentucky Territory, was organized on May 7, 1800. The State of Kentucky was created as the 15th state on June 1, 1792. It has 120 Counties. The State of Kentucky is bordered by Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Kentucky State Capital is in Frankfort and the state government website is kentucky.gov.

Select a Kentucky county to view information & records pertaining to each County

Kentucky Genealogy Record Guides

Getting Started with Kentucky Genealogy and Family Trees

Kentucky Genealogy Tips & Hints – Kentucky genealogy can be traced through cemetery records, court filings such as marriage certificates and even archived newspapers. Browsing through Kentucky records like bibles, birth certificates and letters, if available, is another way to glean missing information. Libraries are a good source to find books, periodicals, magazines and other printed material full of helpful information to help trace genealogy.  Unfortunately, some Kentucky counties have kept better records than others.  So, you may hit a few roadblocks along the way.  However, you shouldn’t let that deter you, especially in this digital era.

Finding The Lost Counties

It is also important for you to know that there are two “lost counties” in Kentucky. As the state changed, two counties were eventually done away with entirely. Beckham County was dissolved on 29 Apr 1904, but the state still has some postal records and marriage records on file from that county.

The other “lost county” isn’t really lost at all. The name was simply shortened. It went from being called Josh Bell County to simply being called Bell County beginning on January 31, 1873.  The county was originally formed just after the Civil War, on February 5, 1867, from portions of Harlan and Knox Counties. So, if you are looking for records from its first 6 years, you should look under the full original name of Josh Bell County.

Paper Trails

It would be fair to say that Kentucky is, in general, a little behind the times when it comes to genealogy. A lot of the Kentucky public records have not been digitized. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. You just have to follow the paper trails. Visit Kentucky libraries and historical societies and look for Bibles, Books, Newspaper Articles, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates, Court Documents or Land Deeds.

The DAR (Daughters Of The American Revolution) and the SAR (Sons Of The American Revolution) are huge organizations. They are devoted to helping descendants of those who helped to fight for freedom in America during and around the time of the Revolutionary War. There are both DAR and SAR chapters in Kentucky. So, if your ancestor may have had any connection to our founding fathers or to the military, you should definitely start there.

Kentucky Genealogy Databases and other Helpful Links

There are several websites which contain court records and other data where visitors can trace their Kentucky ancestry for free. The Internet is also a source to find Kentucky ancestry communities where people can perform Kentucky research and potentially create family trees or connect to relatives they didn’t know existed.