Discover Kentucky History

Kentucky was granted statehood in 1792, becoming the first US state west of the Appalachian Mountains. Before 1750, Kentucky was populated nearly exclusively by Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, Yuchi, Mosopelea, and several other tribes of Native Americans.

If you are researching your family tree in Kentucky, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, the state has a long history, so you may need to go back further than you anticipated. Second, records can be hard to come by, so you may need to get creative in your search. And third, there are a few resources that are specific to Kentucky that can be helpful in your research. 

Many Europeans developed pathways for early settlers to enter the land of today’s Kentucky.

See how Kentucky went from 9 counties to 120 counties - just like that.

Huguenots migrated from France to the new world and many Kentuckians can claim Huguenot roots.

Franklintown was an early republic in Greene County, Tennessee.

Many of our ancestors were Kentucky pioneers who made their way down the Ohio river on a flatboat. These flatboats were later used to build a home.

The Doan family relocated to Harrison County, KY, after earlier generations landed in Plymouth Rock.

In 1921, a fire in the US Commerce Building damaged the 1890 census records. Learn what eventually happened to the records.

Beckham County was formed in 1904 and disbanded a few months later. It remains the only county in Kentucky’s history with the distinction of being dissolved.

Aaron Horn Sr. moved his family to Fort Boonesborough in 1778. He died soon after arriving leaving many mysteries for his descendents.

In 1818, the US bought the Jackson Purchase area from the Chickasaw Indians.

A brief Scots-Irish history in the Appalachian area written by a descendant of early settlers.

Learn the reasons Kentucky started keeping birth and death records.

Our ancestors migrated to Harlan County for the promise of a better future.

Our ancestors had many options for arriving in Kentucky. Some paths were more dangerous than others.

Fort Boonesborough was settled by Daniel Boone, who walked from North Carolina to Madison County Kentucky. Take the journey with him on videos in a modern day Kentucky.

A gift to newlyweds in early Kentucky was a log cabin.

In 1780, early Kentucky pioneers entered Fayette County so quickly it inflated the land prices.

Fort Boonesborough is Kentucky's second oldest European-American settlement. Early Kentucky settlers met at Fort Boonesborough to establish a local government. Judge Richard Henderson, promoter of the Transylvania Company held the meeting.