Kentucky Records at the Library of Virginia (VA-NOTES)
Local court records, such as deeds, wills, court papers, and marriage bonds, were maintained by local officials in each county. When the state of Kentucky was established in 1792, its original local records were retained in the counties. However, the Library has microfilm copies of some Kentucky county records. In addition, certain Virginia state records pertaining to these counties are also available, including land and personal property tax books, land grants, and legislative petitions.
In 1777, Virginia's General Assembly divided Fincastle County into three parts and created Washington, Montgomery, and Kentucky Counties. The act creating these counties described Kentucky County as being "to the south and westward of a line beginning on the Ohio at the mouth of Great Sandy creek and running up the same and the main, or northeasterly, branch thereof to the Great Laurel Ridge of Cumberland Mountain, then south westerly along the said mountain to the line of North Carolina."
In 1780, Kentucky County was divided into three counties -- Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln. Within just a few years, six more counties had been carved out of those three. Between 1784 and 1792, people living in those counties held ten conventions on the question of statehood; on 18 December 1789 Virginia's General Assembly passed an act allowing Kentucky to apply for statehood and on 1 June 1792, those nine counties became a state, with the full consent of Virginia.
The Library of Virginia has the following original records pertaining to counties that are now part of Kentucky.
- Bourbon county: 1787-1791
- Fayette County: 1787-1793
- Jefferson County: 1789-1793
- Lincoln County: 1787-1791
- Madison County: 1787-1792
- Mason County: 1790-1791, 1793
- Mercer County: 1787, 1789
- Shelby County: 1792
- Washington County: 1792
- Woodford County: 1790, 1792-1793
- Bourbon County: 1789
- Bourbon County: no date shown
- Fayette County: 1781-1791, 1824
- Harlan County: 1831
- Jefferson County: 1783-1791, 1826
- Kentucky County: 1776-1780
- Lincoln County: 1783-1790
- Madison County: 1788-1789
- Mercer County: 1786-1789
- Nelson County: 1787-1789
- Pike County: 1849
- Shelby County: 1825
- Woodford County: 1789-1791
Militia Commissions, 1776 to 1792
Land Grants, to 1792
The Library of Virginia has no original court records of the counties that are now part of Kentucky.
An online series on Research in Virginia Documents.
Prepared by Daphne Gentry, Publications and Education Services Division.
Copyright by The Library of Virginia; this note may be reproduced in full if proper credit is given and no changes are made.