Kentucky Roots Revealed: Statewide, Regional, and National Resources for Finding Kentucky Ancestors

SESSION: F356, TIME & DATE: Friday, 10 May 2019, 4:00 p.m.

Cheri Daniels

Every day, researchers walk into the Kentucky Historical Society library with questions about their Kentucky roots.

While Kentucky is a state rich in records, it has a complex past that requires a solid research strategy using both print and digital resources. If your ancestors were from Kentucky, you are indeed fortunate. Not only did your family settle in one of the most beautiful states in the country, but they were quick to produce records, and faithful in preserving them.

This session will cover Kentucky’s people and the records they produced: how and why the records were made, which record sets still exist, and where exactly to find them. Like most states, Kentucky has record gaps and laws that excluded some of its population, but the lessons learned in this session will explore the resources necessary to perform a reasonably exhaustive search.

Most Kentucky researchers know about the large record holdings in the state capital, at the state archives, and the History Center. Few understand the “hot zones” of Kentucky research. We will cover areas that should be explored depending on your ancestors’ migration or settlement patterns.

As a major migration path of the 19th century, many ancestors traveled to or through Kentucky. This scenario of migration or brief settlement, which has challenged even the most seasoned of researchers will be thoroughly explored, providing advice and resources to help document these families.

A bonus will be exploring newly created online databases that can help break through Kentucky brick walls. From Civil War era ancestors writing to Kentucky governors, to USCT ledgers listing names of some of the earliest African American soldiers signing up to fight at Camp Nelson, you will learn valuable tips and strategies from these new tools that will enhance your Kentucky research.

BIO: Cheri Daniels, MSLS, is the Head of Reference Services and Editor of Kentucky Ancestors Online at the Kentucky Historical Society. With over 25 years of library and genealogy experience, this author, national speaker, genealogist, and librarian advocates for information literacy standards through her blog at Most recently, she was chosen to be a contributing author to the recently published book Genealogy and the Librarian by McFarland Publishers (2018).