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Kentucky Records

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 both original, negative photostat, and microfilm copies of many records related to Kentucky up to approximately 1793, and occasionally after. These records are organized by county.

County Court Records

The Library of Virginia has only microfilm copies of court records for selected Kentucky counties. This microfilm is available for reference use by patrons in the reading room of The Library of Virginia. Researchers who visit the Library can make copies from this microfilm. The Library of Virginia, however, cannot provide copies of these records. These microfilm reels ARE NOT available through Interlibrary Loan. All requests for copies should be addressed to the: Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, P.O. Box 537, Frankfort, Kentucky 40602–0537.

Land Patents and Grants

Patents and grants dating to 1792 for land located in counties that became part of Kentucky are available online in our Virginia Lane Office Patents and Grants database available on Virginia Memory. Microfilm for these records is also available in the Library's reading rooms, as well as through Interlibrary Loan.

Personal Property and Land Tax Lists

Personal property tax lists are available for the counties listed below. Please note that any microfilm referenced below is part of the Kentucky County Court Records listed above and is not available through Interlibrary Loan. Originals will be served only when a negative photostat or micorfilm is lacking or proves unreadable.

Bourbon County:
1787, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22157)
1787-1789, 1 v. (original)
1788-1791, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22328)
1789, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22332) (Land Tax)
1787-1808, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Bourbon County (KY) microfilm reel 0018)

Fayette County:
1787, 1789-1793, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22158)
1788-1789, 1792, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22329)
1787, 1 v. (original)
1788, 1 v. (original)
1789, 1 v. (original)
1787-1804, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Fayette County (KY) microfilm reel 009)

Jefferson County:
1789-1793, (neg. photostats) (Accession 22159)
1789-1801, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Jefferson County (KY) microfilm reel 011)

Lincoln County:
1787, 2 v. (original)
1788, 1 v. (original)
1789, 2 v. (original)
1789-1790, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22330)
1790-1791, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22160)
1787-1805, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Lincoln County (KY) microfilm reel 0016)

Madison County:
1787, 2 v. (original)
1788, 2 v. (original)
1789, 1 v. (original)
1790, 1 v. (original)
1791-1792, 1 v. (neg. photostat) (Accession 22161)
1787-1807, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Madison County (KY) microfilm reel 0011)
1808-1820, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Madison County (KY) microfilm reel 0012)

Mason County:
1790, 1793, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22162)
1791 and undated, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22201)
1790-1809, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Mason County (KY) microfilm reel 0020)
1794-1806, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Mason County (KY) microfilm reel 0019)
1810-1835, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Mason County (KY) microfilm reel 0021)

Mercer County:
1787, (neg. photostat) (Accession 21177)
1789, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22163)
1789, 1794-1812, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Mercer County (KY) microfilm reel 0013)

Nelson County:
1792-1810, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Nelson County (KY) microfilm reel 0018)

Shelby County:
1792, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22165)

Washington County:
1792, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22480)

Woodford County:
1790, 1793, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22164)
1792, (neg. photostat) (Accession 22331)
1790-1797, 1799-1814, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Woodford County (KY) microfilm reel 0021)
1795, 1807, 1815, 1816, 1818, 1826, Land and Personal Property Tax Books (Woodford County (KY) microfilm reel 0022)

Legislative Petitions

Petitions to the General Assembly were the primary catalyst for legislation in the Commonwealth from 1776 until 1865. The Library has petitions submitted by residents of counties that became part of Kentucky. The petitions, often submitted for reasons of public improvements, military claims, divorce, manumission of slaves, division of counties, incorporation of towns, religious freedom, and taxation, can be a useful tool in genealogical research.

These records are available on microfilm at the Library and through Interlibrary Loan. The Legislative Petitions database is an index to these records. In the locality field, select "Kentucky Counties" for those petitions originating in those counties. For more information, please read the Legislative Petitions research guide.

Militia Commissions

The Militia Commission Papers are part of the records of the Governor's Office, accession 42222. They include correspondence, extracts from the journals of the House of Delegates & Senate, circulars, general orders, commissions, returns, recommendations, resignations, certificates of election, and other sundry items. Originals are avaliable for use in the Archives & Manuscripts Reading Room.