Kentucky Archives, Societies & Publications

It is a good idea to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Kentucky that you simply might travel to by communicating with to the best suited archive or library in advance.

Most, if not all, Kentucky repositories have written and published content that present its collections as well as research policy.

Kentucky archives and historical organizations usually have On-line sites that provide equivalent details. Several also contain down loadable data for some or parts of their collections.

List of 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)

List of Kentucky Libraries & Museums

List of Kentucky Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both.

In addition to their own work, Kentucky groups many times help coordinate the efforts of local societies throughout the Kentucky.

Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created through the area societies.

Regional and State Societies

County, Township and City Societies

Religious and Ethnic Societies

Kentucky Newspapers & Publications

Kentucky Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) contain all types of invaluable information about specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and about all sorts of genealogical records and repositories.

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.


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.


Genealogical journals provide you with plenty of sources of information and facts, they are generally overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history.

Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals which have records relating to the region or vicinity they operate.

Frequently these publications have articles involving records that are not obtainable 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
  • Shaffer’s advertising directory for 1839-40
  • The Cincinnati directory for the year 1834