Our History 

Adair was the 44th Kentucky county formed, created from Green County on December 11, 1801 and named for General John Adair. It is located in the eastern Pennyrile region and western Appalachian areas of the state. The elevation in the county ranges from 585 to 1120 feet above sea level. The main waterway is the Green River and its tributary Russell Creek. This county runs along the Cumberland and Great Lakes Trail.  *As the State of Kentucky grew in population, more counties were added making our current 120 counties. I have covered early on in these tips, the formation of the various counties and from what county(ies) the new county was formed. But, counties lost and gained land over the years as boundaries were changed due to disputes or rules of the Kentucky Congress. Thus, this tip will show the current counties and what areas they lost to different counties. Hopefully this will help explain to our researchers see that ancestors might have lived in an area of a county that had boundary changes thus finding records in more than one county’s repositories. There will be several entries for each county as follows: County name, date founded, date the current boundaries were formed, took land from counties and lost land to counties (dates). Note that if a date is in parenthesis after a lost land to county, this is an additional loss. If no date is shown in the lost land to column, this would be the formation date of that county. I would like to thank Rosenn Reinemuth Hogan for much of the information in this tip along with the KY Encyclopedia and other sources.

As an example, in looking at Adair Co below. Adair was formed in 1802. Its current boundaries were settled in 1860. It took land at formation from Green Co and also took land from Cumberland Co in 1805. It gave up land to Metcalfe Co at that county’s formation, lost land to Russell Co when it was formed, lost land to Wayne Co in 1804 and lost land to Casey Co in 1844.

Adair County's nearest neighbors are, Casey County, Cumberland County, Green County, Metcalfe County, Russell County & Taylor County.

In 1990, the county population was 15,360 in a land area of 406 square miles, an average of 37.8 people per square mile. The county seat is Columbia.

Noted residents included: Thomas Bramlet, Governor of KY; Colonel Frank Wolford, James R. Hindman (Lt. Gov), Colonel William Casey, Jane Lampton Clemens (mother of "Mark Twain."), and author Janice Holt Giles.

Marriage and land records are available from 1802.

 NEW!!  The John Field Home in Adair County, 2015

Columbia - Adair County History

"The Founding of Lindsey Wilson College"

A Pictorial of Adair County

The Digital Library of Appalachia

Kentucky County Lines - 1784-1834

Early Stations and Forts in Kentucky

Columbia Kentucky Court House 1887

Rev. Wood Cundiff Recalls Days On Kentucky Farm

The Early History of Adair County - 1907 edition of the Adair County News


More about the History of Adair County...

Adair County History from the March Issue of The Kentucky Explorer. This wonderful article is compliments of Carlis B. Wilson.

Maps of Adair County Kentucky

Historic Homes of Columbia

The Old Settler's Barn

The Growth of Our Nation This is a 10 minute, animated movie describing the growth of America. It is a valuable timeline for genealogists and history buffs.

Kentucky Regional Directory


  Kentucky Online

A comprehensive List of State Government, Officials, Publications and so much more!

Adair County Courthouse

Adair County Clerk

424 Public Square

Columbia, KY, 42728-1451

Phone: (270) 384-2801

Adair County Libraries

Online Links


Most of the marriages, wills/probate, deeds, and court orders are available in Adair County from the beginning of the county (1801/1802). There are also guardianship records, some military rolls, and various bond records available. All other records, particularly birth and death records--are housed in Frankfort at the Archives Library. 

Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

 Public Records Division, 300

Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort KY USA

Here is a link to search the Archives online catalog http://kdla.kyvl.org/ (click search collection on the left side of screen.)
When were Birth and Death Certificates required by the States?



 P. O. Box 613, Columbia, KY 42728

Membership is $10 per year which includes its quarterly publication: The Adair County Review. Membership is open to anyone interested in the preservation of history in Adair, Casey, Cumberland, Green, Metcalfe, Russell, and Taylor counties in KY. Meetings are held the 1st Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Adair County Public Library, 307 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY 42728.

The Adair County Genealogy Society is now Online! Please check out this wonderful resource at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~kyacgs/index.html


Please Note: The Adair County Genealogy Society no longer has books by Michael Watson for sale. Please do not send checks or money orders for these volumes.


Kentucky Historical Society