Kentucky Research Guide



Vital Records

The University of Kentucky hosts a very valuable death, marriages, and divorce index online at The data were obtained from the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics.

Death records are available from two searchable databases, one on deaths from 1911-1986, and the other including death information from 1987-1992. Names may be searched by surname, plus or minus the given name, and with or without a five-character county code for place of death or residence at time of death. Searches stop when 35 individuals are returned, so it is very helpful when searching common surnames to use given names and/or place information as well.

Marriages and divorces may also be searched from 1973-1993, by either the wife's or husband's name. The data returned from a successful marriage search includes both the groom's name and wife's maiden name, race, county(ies) of residence, and the county and date of marriage. Divorce information available includes both the husband's and wife's name, race, and county(ies) of residence, the date and county of divorce, and the year of the marriage.

The information obtained in these death, marriage, or divorce records will help Kentucky researchers locate vital statistics on their family members, as well as providing specific information that is useful in ordering certified copies of these documents from the Kentucky Cabinet of Health or appropriate county offices. For more information on ordering Kentucky vital records, see

Early Kentucky Tax Lists 1792-1840

If a person owned land, rented land, or had livestock (even just a horse) in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, then they had to pay taxes. Women, free Blacks, and veterans can be found on these tax lists. The taxes for all land owned was done in the county of residence, regardless of if you owned land in the neighboring counties.

Disappearing from the tax lists did happen. If a person died, his widow could appear in the next tax list, unless she had already died. Or he may have moved across county lines. Alternatively, county lines may have shifted such that a family or an entire town "moved" into another county.

External Links

  • Littell's Statute Law of Kentucky, published from 1809-1819, 5 volumes may be accessed from the University of Louisville Law Library Collection [1]

Genealogical & Historical Associations

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