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Genealogy Resources

Lexington Public Library’s Kentucky Room is a special collection and a reading room that houses the library's local history and genealogy collection. The Kentucky Room is part of the Reference Department located on the third floor of the Central Library and is accessible during regular library hours. The materials in the Kentucky Room do not circulate, however they are available for all visitors to use in the room.

Hours and more information about LPL’s Central Library.

A photocopier is available for patrons using Kentucky Room materials. Rare and fragile items in the Kentucky Room may not be photocopied, however a digital camera or cell phone camera may be used.

The collection includes materials on Kentucky history and genealogy with an emphasis on Fayette County. The Kentucky Room is an excellent place for anyone with Kentucky ancestors to begin his or her research. This webpage highlights Kentucky Room resources of interest to genealogists.

Online Genealogy and History Databases

  • Ancestry Library Edition

    Large genealogy database includes census images, vital statistics, family trees and historic records. Available only to customers inside the library branches.

  • HeritageQuest Online

    Research your family's history online using census records and rare published family and local histories. Includes PERSI, Periodicals Source Index, for genealogical and local history research magazines.

  • Local History Index

    Selective finding aid to Lexington newspapers about significant people, places and events from 1787 to December 31, 2007. The selective citations included in the Lexington Public Library’s Local History index appeared in various...

  • NewsBank America’s Obituaries & Death Notices

    Obituaries and Death notices from Newspapers around the country.

Kentucky Genealogy Shelf

This shelf contains very popular Kentucky genealogy books, such as Kentucky census indexes, the Kentucky Genealogical Index, Kentucky Cemetery Records, Kentucky Ancestry, and other books that contain records from several counties. This shelf is a good starting place for researchers who have not identified a specific Kentucky county location yet. More records and published histories on individual counties can be located in the main part of the Kentucky Room stack area. Search the LPL online catalog or ask staff for assistance in locating materials on a particular county.

Although Lexington Public Library does not purchase family histories, we are happy to add them to the collection as gifts. Family histories are individually cataloged and shelved in the Kentucky Room at the R929.2 call number. Search the LPL online catalog under the name of the family, for example, “Boone Family.” Visitors may also wish to consult the multi-volume set, Genealogies in the Library of Congress: A Bibliography.

Vertical files

The Vertical Files in the Kentucky Room were designed to preserve unique and hard-to-find information on Kentucky and Lexington, and to make that information quickly accessible to library users. The formats typically found in the files are newspaper clippings, pamphlets, brochures, programs, maps, and documents.

The files are divided into three major sections:

  • Kentucky Biography Files
  • Kentucky Subject Files
  • Lexington Subject Files

The Kentucky Room does not keep family files. However, an extensive collection of family files is maintained by the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort.

Sources for research in other states

Kentucky Room visitors can learn about resources in other states from several excellent guides such as:

These sources assist in documenting various dates and types of available records; county formation; and libraries, organizations, and institutions in other states.

Although Kentucky is the main collection development focus, the room has a few significant resources from other states. The largest out-of-state collection is for Virginia, from which Kentucky was created and a feeder state for early migration here. The Kentucky Room has some county histories and county records from Virginia, as well as the Swem’s Virginia Historical Index, which indexes several important Virginia periodicals. Two other out-of state collections are Pennsylvania Archives and State Records of North Carolina.

Immigration and naturalization records

Consult staff members for assistance in locating the following titles: