Meet Our Counties: Livingston

Key locations: Burna, Carrsville, Grand Rivers, Ledbetter, Salem, Smithland (county seat)

Geography: Western border with Illinois is formed by the Ohio River. The Cumberland River and Lake Barkley mark part of the southeastern boundary, and the Cumberland River flows across the middle of the county, joining the Ohio River at Smithland. The lowest elevation in the county is at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers at Livingston Point.

Livingston County is bordered by Hardin County, Illinois (north), Crittenden County (northeast), Lyon County (southeast), Marshall County (south), McCracken County (southwest), Massac County, Illinois (west), Pope County, Illinois (northwest).

History: Livingston County was named for Robert R. Livingston, a member of the Committee of Five who drafted the Declaration of Independence. It was established in 1798 from part of Christian County.

Salem, in Livingston County, is the birthplace of Dr. Charles Edwin Shelby, founder of the Kentucky Genealogical Society.


1820: 5,824
1920: 9,732
2020: 8,888

County population enslaved in 1860 per Federal Census: 17.0%

Some research links:


Throughout 2024-2025, the Kentucky Genealogical Society will focus on the vibrant heritage of all 120 counties in Kentucky. Exploring the diverse tapestry of the Commonwealth, each month will feature profiles of five counties. These profiles will provide valuable historical resources for genealogical researchers to explore further. Join us as we embark on a journey to Meet Our Counties that form the heart of the Commonwealth!

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KY Genealogical Society

Formed in 1973 to provide educational opportunities for family history researchers, the Kentucky Genealogical Society connects family historians in all of Kentucky's 120 counties.

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