Kentucky Archives and Libraries

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Many archives and libraries have maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids about Kentucky. They frequently have collections of previous research such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state. Archives and libraries located near state boundaries usually collect records relating to the adjacent states.

The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections and services useful to genealogical researchers:

Archives[edit | edit source]

Department for Libraries and Archives
Public Records Division
300 Coffee Tree Road
Frankfort, KY  40601
Toll Free Phone:  800-928-7000
Telephone: 502-564-8300
Fax: 502-564-5773

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 537
Frankfort, KY 40601-0537

The Department for Libraries and Archives is the central repository for city-, county-, and state-level records. It has two facilities of particular interest to genealogists. The state library has printed materials, and the state archives maintains original Kentucky government records and other historical documents. Many of these repositories’ records are being microfilmed, and copies are being sent to the Family History Library. The Department of Libraries and Archives responds to genealogical requests but prefers that requests be sent on a form available on its Internet site or through the mail.

National Archives-Southeast Region (Atlanta)
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260
Phone: 770-968-2100
Fax: 770-968-2547
E-mail: []


Libraries[edit | edit source]

Margaret I. King Library
Department of Special Collections and Archives
University of Kentucky
179 Funkhouser Dr.
Lexington, KY 40506-0039
Telephone: 859-257-8611
Fax: 859-257-6311

While the Margaret I. King Library does not specialize in genealogical records, the Department of Special Collections and Archives maintains many items that lend themselves to the study of family and local history. The materials include church records; genealogical collections; historical manuscript collections; the Draper manuscripts, described in the "Genealogy" section of this outline; county and local histories; county, state, and federal records; and a biographical file.

Western Kentucky University Library
1906 College Heights Blvd., #11067
Bowling Green, KY. 42101-1067
Phone (270) 745-6125.
Fax (270) 745-6422

The Kentucky Library has significant genealogical records, church histories, and biographical files relating to south central Kentucky.

Eastern Kentucky University Library
Crabbe Library
Special Collections and Archives
521 Lancaster Ave.
Richmond, KY 40475
Telephone: 1-859-622-1790
Fax: 1-859-622-1174
TTY: 1-859-622-6594
E-mail: University Archives Website

This university library has many records about Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina, with an emphasis on Kentucky records.

Kentucky Room
Lexington Public Library
140 East Main Street
Lexington, KY 40507
Telephone: 859-231-5520

The Kentucky Room of the Lexington Public Library houses many secondary sources on state and local history and genealogy, family histories, census indexes, and some census microfilm. It also has an excellent collection of Lexington newspapers and the Local History Index, an extensive index to newspapers. More detailed information on the collection can be found on the library’s web site.

Forrest C. Pogue Special Collections Library
Murray State University
208 Waterfield Library
Murray, KY 42071-3307
Telephone: 270-809-4295 or 866-774-6612

The Pogue library has records on all areas of Kentucky, with an emphasis on the western portion of the state.

Kenton County Public Library
502 Scott Blvd
Covington, KY 41011
Telephone: 859-962-4070

The Kenton County Public Library has extensive statewide, local, and family history materials and in-depth collections for northern Kentucky. It has a local newspaper index for the years 1835 to 1931 and 1984 to the present. This includes an obituary index. The catalog of the Kenton library is available on its web site. You can also access the Kenton County Historical Society from the library’s web site.

Historical and genealogical societies play a prominent role in preserving records and promoting research. These organizations may or may not have their own archives. Major Kentucky societies are the Filson Club, Kentucky Genealogical Society, and Kentucky Historical Society. See the "Societies" section of this outline for information on these and other Kentucky societies.

FamilySearch™ Internet Genealogy Service [Internet site]. [Salt Lake City, Utah]: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 22 March 1999 [cited 6 August 1999]. Available at . At this site you can access the Family History Library Catalog, Ancestral File, the International Genealogical Index, SourceGuide, lists of Family History Centers, web sites related to family history, and lists of researchers interested in similar genealogical topics. You can also learn about and order Family History Library publications.

Howells, Cyndi. "U.S. - Kentucky - KY." In Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet [Internet site]. Puyallup, Washington: Cyndi Howells, 6 August 1999 [cited 6 August 1999]. Available at . This list has more links to other Kentucky genealogical sites and describes more resources than any other site on the Internet.

"Kentucky USGenWeb." In The USGenWeb Project [Internet site]. N.p., 1999 [cited 6 August 1999]. Available at This is a cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country.

"United States Resources: Kentucky." In RootsWeb [Internet site]. N.p., 12 July 1999 [cited 6 August 1999]. Available at . This list of sites and resources includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list.

Guant, Christine. "Kentucky Resources." In Genealogy Resources on the Internet [Internet site]. N.p., 31 July 1999 [cited 25 October 1999]. Available at . This site provides links to vital record offices, genealogical and historical societies, queries, mailing lists, county-by-county Internet sites, and gopher sites.

"Kentucky GenExchange." ' Available at This site brings searchable data to genealogists, including databases (church, cemetery, census, land, immigration, naturalization, and vital records), directories, historical accounts, mailing lists, queries, local surname researchers, and look-up volunteers.

Cleaveland, Richard. "BBSes for Kentucky." In Richard Cleaveland’s Genealogical Bulletin Board Systems World-wide (GBBS) [Internet site]. [Washington, D.C.]: National Genealogical Society, 4 May 1998 [cited 20 October 1999]. Available at . Look for answers and post queries on the genealogical electronic bulletin boards of this list.

For further details about using computer networks, bulletin boards, and news groups for family history research, see the United States Research Outline, "Archives and Libraries" section.