NGS Research in the States Series: Kentucky

Beginning in 1987, the National Genealogical Society began publishing a series of state guides in the organization’s magazine, the Quarterly. These guides were later issues as special publications. The latest version of the series contains revised guides, plus additional states not included in the previous releases. NGS Research in the States Series: Missouri was the first guide in this series to be reviewed on this site. NGS Research in the States Series: Kentucky is the subject of this review. This guide was written by Bettie Cummings Cook and edited by Barbara Vines Little.

The booklet is broken into three main sections. The opening section provides a brief history for Kentucky, starting with the earliest exploration by the Spaniards in 1543. Real exploration and settlement began in the mid-1700s. At the time there were no Native American settlements in the area, but the Shawnees and Cherokees used the land for hunting. In addition to the settlement of Kentucky, coverage includes geography and historical economy.

Second is a summary for the primary locations of records, Archives, Libraries, and Societies. The largest section is dedicated to Major Resources, which for the most part means various record types. Each record is described, often giving additional historical background, with information on where to find these records. For example, Pre-Statehood Court Records subsection describes Kentucky as part of Fincastle County, Virginia for the years 1772-1776. Later county division and eventual statehood in 1792 meant that pre-statehood records remained in different counties. Reference is given for finding some of these older court records.

These guides are an excellent resource for state by state research. Available guides, including NGS Research in the States Series: Kentucky, can be obtained from Family Roots Publishing.

Table of Contents

History and Settlement

  • Geography
  • Economy
  • Jurisdictional Changes

Archives, Libraries, and Societies

  • Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA)
  • Kentucky Historical Society
  • Filson Historical Society
  • University Libraries
  • Other Kentucky Libraries

Major Resources

  • Aids to Research
  • Atlases, Gazetteers, and Maps
    • Atlases and Gazetteers
    • Maps
  • Biographical Sources
  • Cemetery Records
  • Censuses and Census Substitutes
    • Federal Censuses
    • Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880
    • Slave Schedules, 1850-1860
    • Special Schedules
  • Church Records
    • Baptist
    • Episcopalian
    • Jewish
    • Lutheran
    • Methodist
    • Presbyterian
    • Roman Catholic
    • Shakers
  • County Records
  • Court Records
    • Pre-Statehood Court Records
    • County Courts
    • Justice of the Peace Courts
    • Courts of Quarter Sessions
    • Court of Oyer and Terminer
    • District and Circuit Court, 1796-1804
    • General Court
    • Supreme Court, District of Kentucky, 1782-1791
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • Federal Courts
    • Laws
  • Directories
  • Ethnic Records
    • African Americans
  • Land Records
    • Virginia and Old Kentucky Patent Series
    • South of the Green River Patent Series, 1797-1866
    • Tellico Patent Series, 1803-1853
    • Kentucky Land Warrants Series, 1816-1873
    • West of Tennessee River Non-Military Patents
    • West of the Tennessee River Military Patents
    • South of Walker’s Line Patent Series, 1825-1923
    • Warrants for Headright, 1827-1849
    • County Court Order Series, 1836-present
  • Military Records
    • Veterans Grave Registration
    • Kentucky Military Cemeteries
    • The Kentucky Militia
    • Revolutionary War
    • Indian War, 1784-1860
    • War of 1812
    • Mexican War, 1846-1848
    • Civil War, 1861-1865
    • Spanish American War, 1898-1899
    • Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 and Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1913
    • World War I, 1917-1919, and World War II, 1941-1945
  • Naturalization Records
  • Newspapers
  • Probate Records
  • Tax Records
  • Vital Records
    • Sutton’s Law and Pre-1911 Registrations of Births, Deaths, and Marriages
    • Birth and Death Records after 1911
    • Marriage Records
    • Adoption
    • Divorces
    • Guardians
  • Women



NGS Research in the States Series: Kentucky is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: NGS18, Price: $15.79.

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