Metro Louisville, Jefferson County Kentucky GenWeb Project


Where are the records?

County, State and National Holdings

I get many questions asking where to find particular research materials.    Ever wondered where you go to find newspaper obituaries?   Need a copy of a marriage bond?   You'll find listings below of what holdings each institution possesses and what you need to do to access them.   If you have any comment or question, please feel free to email your coordinator.
A listing of Jefferson County Records
FHC:  Vital statistics 1859 and 1877 only; County Court orders/Minutes 1870; deeds 1783; Division Books (land and personal property) 1784-1785; Resident lands sold for taxes 1846 only; Wills 1784; Tax books 1799-1814, 1817-1831, 1833-1875; Black Marriage licenses and bonds 1852-1861, 1868-1874, 1888-1891, 1893 on; White marriage licenses & certificates 1853; White marriage licenses and bonds 1780-1852, 1855--1858, 1861 on; Marriage register 1784; Louisville births 1898-1910; Louisville deaths 1866-1910.

State Archives - Frankfort: Deeds 1783; Wills (originals) 1794; Circuit Court 1783; Circuit Case records 1795, 1805, 1808, 1810, 1813, 1816-25, 1828-1829, 1831 on. Police Court Order Book for Louisville 1856-1863 and 1867 only; Tax Assessment books, L'ville 1834 on.

County:  Rejected wills 1869; Contested wills 1887-1895; Guardian Bonds 1874; Guardians, Trustee, Receivers & Committee Bonds 1874; Commissioner's Deed Book 1812-1871; Grantor Index of Circuit Court (General index of deeds) 1812-1847, Grantee index of same 1812-1847; Grantee General Index Chancery 1853-1871; Grantor Index same 1853-1871; Unrecorded deeds 1790; Wills that are incomplete - individual's deemed incomplete) 1887;

County Clerk Attic:  Common Law Circuit Court, Quarterly Sessions and Dismissions 1781-1803; Common Pleas Circuit Court Civil Suits 1803-1893; L'ville Chancery Court with Plaintiff's index to Suits 1835-1877, 1887-1890; L'ville Chancery Court (Defendant's index to suits) 1835-1872, 1887-1890; Current Index to Civil Defendant's suits 1782-1870; Current index to Civil suits - Plaintiff 1782-1875; Settled estates (the originals) 1867-1904.

Circuit Clerk:  Index to Plaintiff Civil Suits 1880-1890; Same for defendants 1898 on; Declarations of Intention 1893; Naturalization Petitions 1897; Court of Common Pleas (Rule Docket) 1885-1892; Chancery Rule Docket 1835-1892; Chancery Judgements 1874; Court of Quarterly Sessions 1801-1903; Chancery Courts - Equity 1835; Suits 1803-1893; Judgments 1874; Law & Equity Book 1880-1892; Guardian Bonds 1874-1886; Lunacy Inquests 1892; Minute Books 1882.

County, State and National Institutions Holding these records
The Filson Club, 1310 South 3rd Street, Louisville, KY 40208
Open Monday-Friday 9-5 and the first Saturday of each month from 9am-4pm, except for Derby Day (May 5, 2012 and Labor Day September 1, 2012).

Site includes online catalog and a research request form for those not close enough to visit themselves.  Note: There is a fee for this privately supported historical society.  This is one of the premier societies in the country.

The Filson Library is a collection of some 50,000 non circulating titles of local, regional, and national interest, focusing on the Upper South and the Ohio Valley.  Library holdings include a fine Civil War collection; approximately 1,500 maps, primarily of Kentucky and other southern states.  Some 3,000 reels of microfilm containing Kentucky census records from 1810-1920 are available with indexes for 1810-1870 in book form.  The indexes for 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 are Soundex indexes on microfilm.  We also have many county abstracts of  census in book form.

There are tax records, as well as the Draper and Shane collections; over 840 newspaper titles, including one of the largest 19th-century Kentucky newspaper collections in original form; a sheet-music collection of over 3,700 pieces, much of it written or published in Kentucky; over 3,500 family histories; and almost 4,000 genealogy files on Kentucky families. While Kentucky is the focus of the library collection, many titles and files concern other states. Kentucky was a migration route over which thousands of people passed during America's westward expansion, and states such as Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are well represented in our holdings. (excerpted from website)

Cemetery & Funeral Records for Maas Funeral Home, Schildt Funeral Home, Pearson Funeral Home 1890-1920, Cave Hill Cemetery 1848, Some Eastern Cemetery in book form, McDaniel Funeral Home, and bits and pieces of several other cemeteries in various sources.

Military Service Records

Civil War--Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union/Confederate Soldiers from Kentucky for some  units. INCOMPLETE
WWI--listing of Kentucky servicemen.  BOOKS
Revolutionary War--Compiled Service Record Abstracts.  BOOKS

County Records

Histories of many of Kentucky's major cities and 120 counties.  Some include biographical sketches.

Compilations of transcribed county records for most counties. These include records of wills, marriages,  court proceedings, and cemeteries.

Draper Manuscripts:

All of the Draper Manuscripts on microfilm There is an index, "Guide to the Draper Manuscripts."  PAPER.  We also have Book Guides to some of the series.

Kentucky Adjutant General Reports

War of 1812
Mexican War
Civil War--also have capsule histories of many units. These are rosters of volunteers who served from Kentucky.

Maps and atlases

Several county atlases - Maps of Kentucky and Louisville


A good collection of early Louisville and Kentucky  newspapers on microfilm and in original form. Indexes to the Courier-Journal for the years 1901 to mid-August 1902.

Vital Records

  Kentucky Birth, Death, and Marriage Records, 1852-1910 on 
               microfilm. These are incomplete records.
            Death Certificate Index: 1911-1989. MICROFICHE.
            Death Certificates: 1911-1938. MICROFILM.         
            Directory of Births and Deaths Registered in Kentucky     
            Births: 1911-1959.  PAPER (incomplete and not in good condition)
            Deaths: 1911-1969.  PAPER (incomplete and not in good condition
            Births for Louisville: 1898-1910. Includes index. MICROFILM.
           Deaths for Louisville: 1866-1910. Includes index. MICROFILM.
              Kentucky Marriages.  MICROFICHE
              Marriage index for brides, 1974-1989
              Marriage index for grooms, 1975-1989
              Kentucky Divorces.  MICROFICHE
              Divorce index for wife, 1974-1989.
                Divorce index for husband, 1974-1989.
     Louisville and Jefferson County marriages.
              1780-1911 indexed and on microfilm.
              1912-1915 on microfilm, but not indexed.
              1916-1930 PAPER, no index.

Special Indexes and Vertical Files

Indexes to articles in some Kentucky historical and genealogical magazines
            Newspaper clipping files about Louisville and Kentucky subjects
            Family Files--correspondence folders on over 3,000  surnames
            Kentucky Biographical Index--finding aid for thousands of Biographical sketches
            Historical files on a variety of people and subjects.
            Papers read before The Filson Club
            Indexes of Kentucky Place Names
            Passenger and Immigration Indexes

Other Resources:

     Many published family histories
      Indexes to Kentucky land grants
            Magazines concerning Kentucky genealogy
            State documents and Louisville city reports
            Scrapbooks prepared by individuals
            Tax Records for many of the counties (early)
            Louisville Naturalization Records

Family History and Jefferson County Research Resources
Available at Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives in Frankfort
Site includes ordering forms for birth, marriage, divorce, death, military, tax, civil, and estate records seen listed at right, along with interlibrary loan.  There is a small fee associated with these orders.

Notice:  Some years do exist and are available for Louisville which are prior to the 1911 date most associated with modern record keeping in Kentucky.

Louisville Birth Index: 1898 -1910

Louisville Births: 1898 -1910

Louisville Death Index: 1866 -1910

Louisville Register of Deaths: 1866 -1910

County Clerk Records, General cross indexes to deeds 1783 -1932, General indexes to deeds - grantee 1783 -1892, General indexes to deeds - grantor 1783 - 1869, Deeds (loose) 1783 - 1892, deed books 1783 - 1965, Reports of commissioner's of division of land 1797 - 1916, Record of the board of election commissioners 1921 - 1984, General index to inventories and settlements 1800 - 1910,  Circuit Court Records, Civil Case files 1795 - 1949, Marriage books 1780 - 1931, Marriage licenses 1930 -1984, Marriage registers 1784 - 1911, Order books 1780 - 1901, General indexes to wills 1784 - 1972, Wills (loose) 1901 - 1977, Will books 1784 - 1966.

Confederate Pension Applications - Passed by the Kentucky General Assembly on 04 Mar 1912, the Confederate Pension Act provided aid to indigent and disabled Confederate veterans and their widows.  In some cases, the application and supporting documents are the only surviving records of a soldier's service.  Generally, each application contains the veteran's date and place of birth, his unit designation, and terms of service.  Some files may also contain marriage and death records.  The Index of Confederate Pension Applications, published by KDLA in 1978, provides access to this material.

The Kentucky Confederate Home - The Confederate Veteran's Home was located at Pewee Valley in Oldham County, was established by an Act of the Kentucky General Assembly in 1902.  This collection of material remains largely unprocessed.  A list of inmates dated 1912 is among the records available to researchers on microfilm.  Unprocessed material includes applications for admission by Confederate veterans on microfiche as well as Reference Book B, and a roster of applicants dated 1903 - 1909.

Louisville City Directories

Louisville Suburban Directories, 1957 to the present. PAPER

Tax Records

Real Property Tax Rolls for Jefferson County, Kentucky, 1789-1892, hard copy.
           Property Tax Rolls for Jefferson County, Kentucky 1956-1968, hard copy, 1969-74, microfilm.
            Real Property Tax Rolls for the city of Louisville, 1835-1885, microfilm.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D. C.
Louisville Military Prison Registers

The Louisville Military Prison was Kentucky's primary facility for the confinement of prisoners-of-war.  It served as a major shipping point for prisoners bound for the prison camps of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  Obtained from the National Archives, these microfilmed records cover the period from 1862 to 1865.  The register for civilian prisoners contains references to those Kentuckians charged with treason, spying or engaging in guerrilla warfare.


FORM 80 - PRE WORLD WAR I - Contains Pension Application Files



The Military Personnel Records Building houses military personnel and medical records as well as the dependent medical records of former members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Jefferson County Clerk (Deed Room), 527 W. Jefferson Street, Louisville, KY 40202
Military Service Records

Miscellaneous Books-Jefferson County, 1912-present, hard copy and microfilm, Jefferson County Clerk-Legal Records (Deed Room); (Military discharge papers, when put to the record here  in Jefferson County, KY, are recorded by the County Clerk in the Miscellaneous Books)

Land Ownership and Division

Deed Books and Indexes, 1783-present, microfilm and hard copy, Grantor Index to Deeds, microfilm, 1938-present.

Plat and Subdivision Books and Indexes, c.1900-present, hard copy and microfilm.

Name Change Records

Name Change Order Books, #1-current volume, 1978-present,  microfiche and hard copy, Jefferson County Clerk-Probate Department.

Probate Records

   Will books and Indexes, 1784-1977, #1-#231, microfiche.
      Will Admitted books and Indexes, 1978-present,.#1-#88, microfiche, #89-current volume, hard copy.
            Estate Files-Jefferson County Court, c.1925-1977, microfiche.,
            Inventory and Settlement Books and Indexes 1800-1977, #1-#1126, microfiche.

Vital Records

Marriage Returns,. 1930-present, paper copy.

Marriage registers and Indexes, 1784-present. 1784-present, hard copy,

Marriage Bonds, 1916-present, hard copy, Jefferson County Clerk-Marriage License.

Jefferson County Department for Historic Preservation and Archives

Adoption and Apprenticeship Records

Adoption and Apprenticeship books-Religious Institutions and Index, c.1879-1945, (Louisville Baptist Orphans Home, Christian Church Widows and Orphans Home, Methodist Episcopal Church South Widows and Orphans Home, German Baptist Orphans Home), hard copy.

Adoption papers filed in the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court, 1875-1904, and Index, hard copy,

Adoption Case Files-Jefferson County Court, and index, #1-#580, 1940-1946, hard copy. (restricted).
Before 1940, adoption case files are included in the civil division case    files of Jefferson Circuit Court.  The case number may be found in the    Plaintiff Index under the name of the petitioner.  Post 1946 files are also in the Circuit Court, but they are restricted.

Citizenship Records

Index to Naturalizations, 1811-1913, hard copy.
Naturalization Books-Jefferson Circuit Court, 1892-1913, hard copy and microfilm.

Coroner's Records

Inquest Books, 1878-1914, #1-#8, hard copy
Inquest Papers, 1898-1899, 1902-1908,1916-1919, hard copy
Inquest Files, 1926-present, hard copy and Jefferson County Coroner's Office (1975-present)
Deputy Coroner's Memo Books, hard copy, 1918-1921,1934-present, and Jefferson County Coroner's Office (1976-present)

Land Ownership and Division

Grantor Index to Deeds, microfilm, 1783-1937.,
Division Books and Index, 1797-1916, hard copy.
Jefferson County Court-Division Case Papers, 1852-1950, hard  copy
Commissioner's Deed Books and Index -Circuit Court, 1812-1847, hard copy
Commissioner's Deed Books and Index-Louisville Chancery Court, 1835-1871, hard copy.

Entry Books, 1779-1835, hard copy. Indexed in Willard Rouse Jillson, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds, Ch. IV, "Jefferson Entries."

Name Change Records

Name Change papers-Jefferson County  Court, #1-#7, 745,  1886-1977, hard copy.  Index kept in Jefferson County Clerk-Probate Department.

Pension Records

Old Age Pension Applications-Jefferson County Court, 1930-1932,  A-G only, hard copy, not indexed.

Confederate Soldiers Pension Applications-Commonwealth of Kentucky and Index, 1912-1920, hard copy.

Probate Records

 Original Wills, 1784-1902, hard copy.

Probate Records

    Representatives' Bond Books, c.1863-1977, (Administrator, Assignee, Committee, Curator, Executor, Guardian, Trustee), hard copy, indexed after 1893 in the Index to Wards and 
               Estates, Jefferson County Clerk-Probate Department.

Tax Records

 Real Property Tax Rolls for Jefferson County, Kentucky. 
               1789-1892, microfilm, Jefferson County Department for Historic Preservation and Archives.

Vital Records

  Death Register-City of Louisville, 1866-1910, microfilm.
        Birth Register-City of Louisville, 1898-1910, microfilm.
           Death Returns-Jefferson County, 1852-1859,1893-1894,1900-1901, 1903-1906,1909, microfilm.
            Birth Records-Jefferson County, 1852,1854-1859,1900-1906, 1908-1909, microfilm.
            Marriage registers and Indexes,1784-1911, microfilm.
            Marriage Bonds, c.1855-present; c. 1855-1916, hard copy.

Other Resources:

  Research Files-Jefferson County Historic Resources Inventory, 1977-present, (files maintained on all the historic sites in Jefferson County, KY, outside the City of Louisville, identified by the staff of the Jefferson County Department of Historic Preservation and Archives).
            Louisville City Directories, 1832-1983, microfilm and hand copy.
            1858 Bergmann Map of Jefferson County
             1879 Beers and Lanagan Atlas of Jefferson County
            1913 Louisville Title Company Atlas of Jefferson County
            1927 A.W. Hardin Company Atlas of Jefferson County
            Jefferson County Department for Historic Preservation and 
               Archives, November 1987 (revised August 1995).

Fiscal Court, Fiscal Court Building, 527 W. Jefferson Street, Louisville, KY 40202
Land Ownership and Division

Grantee Index to Deeds, hard copy, basement, Fiscal Court Building.
Louisville Free Public Library, 301 W. York Street, Louisville, KY 40202, 502-574-1611

All available census schedules for Kentucky 1810-1920. MICROFILM 
(The U.S. 1890 census records were damaged in a fire; all that remains for Kentucky is an enumeration of Civil War Union veterans for some counties.) 

Census indexes.
The indexes for 1810-1870 are in books.
The indexes for 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 are Soundex indexes on microfilm.

Louisville City Directories, 1832 to the present.   MICROFILM AND/OR PAPER.

Louisville Suburban Directories, 1957 to the present. MICROFILM AND/OR PAPER.

Lexington city directories.
New Albany/Jeffersonville City Directory.  1880, 1882, 1895, 1899 to the present.

Louisville (Ky.):  Executive budget, 1956 to present.

General ordinances of the city of  Louisville, 1869 to present, some years.

Annual communication of the mayor and reports of departments of  the city of Louisville, 1866

Department of Finance City of Louisville Annual Report, 1868-1916.

Louisville Water Co. Annual Report.  1862-1900, some years. 1901-1989.

Annual reports for various city agencies such as Parks, Health Department, Civil Service Board etc.

Military Service Records

Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union/Confederate Soldiers from Kentucky.  MICROFILM.  There is an index. MICROFILM

County Records

Compilations of transcribed county records for some counties. These include records of wills, marriages, court proceedings and cemeteries.

Draper Manuscripts:

Series A, B, C, J, K, L, M, N, O, W, Y, BB, CC, NN, QQ which relate to Kentucky.  MICROFILM

There is an index, "Guide to  the Draper Manuscripts." PAPER Histories of Kentucky counties and cities.

Histories of many but not all of Kentucky's major cities and 120 counties.  Some include biographical sketches. Congregational and denominational histories:  Many Louisville congregations.

Kentucky Adjutant General Reports

War of 1812
Mexican War
Civil War-- These are rosters of volunteers who served from Kentucky.

Manuscripts (other than literary)

Congregational and denominational histories.  Many Louisville congregations.
Directory of the Louisville Public Schools.  1904-1972.

Maps and atlases

A few county atlases and maps of Kentucky and Louisville.   
All the topographical maps for Kentucky that are published by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Place names that appear on the topographical maps are indexed in a gazetteer that is keyed to the maps, "Guide to Kentucky Place Names."

County and city atlases:

  • Jefferson, 1879  PAPER

  • City of Louisville, 1876 and 1884  MICROFILM

  •  Ohio River Valley (Pittsburgh to Cincinnati), 1877  MICROFILM

  •  Oldham, 1879  PAPER

  • Shelby, 1882  MICROFILM AND PAPER

  • Spencer, 1882  MICROFILM AND PAPER

Sanborn Maps of Louisville, 1975 - 1988.  Paper.


  • Louisville Public Advertiser    July 1818-1832, 1834-Oct. 1841.  MICROFILM

  • Louisville Daily Journal    Nov. 1830-Jan. 1832, May 1836-  Nov. 1868.

  • Catholic Advocate  Feb. 1841-July 1849, June 1869-1899.

  • Louisville Morning Courier   1844-1861, 1866-1868.

  • Louisville Daily Democrat    1851-April 1869.

  • Courier-Journal    Nov. 1868-present.

  • Evening Post    May 1878-Oct. 1925.

  • Record     1879-1973.

  • Louisville Times    May 1884-Feb. 1987.

  • Kentucky Irish American    1898-1968.

  • Herald     April 1903-Oct. 1925.

  • Louisville Leader    Nov. 1917-Sept. 1950.

  • Herald-Post (evening)    Nov. 1925-Oct. 1936.

  • Herald-Post (morning)    Nov. 1925-Feb. 1927.

  • Louisville Defender    1951-present.

Other miscellaneous Louisville newspapers

The Library also has these Lexington and Cincinnati newspapers on microfilm:

  • Kentucky Gazette    1787-1910.

  • Kentucky Evening Gazette    1907-1910.

  • Cincinnati Enquirer    1841-1863.

School Records

   Board of Trustees. Report of the Board of Education of Louisville, Kentucky.  1911-1939
            Louisville Public Schools. Board of Trustees.  Report.  
               1860-1954, some years.
            High school/college yearbooks:  Some local high schools, UK and U of L.

Vital Records

 Kentucky Birth, Death and Marriage Records, 1852-1910.  MICROFILM  
     These are incomplete records.
             Directory of Births and Deaths Registered in Kentucky.
             Births and deaths:  1911-1954.  MICROFILM
             Births:   1911-1959.  PAPER
             Deaths:   1911-1969.  PAPER
             Death Certificate Index, 1911-1986.  MICROFICHE
     Kentucky Marriages.  MICROFICHE
             Marriage index for brides, 1974-1989.
             Marriage index for grooms, 1975-1989.
             Kentucky Divorces.  MICROFICHE
             Divorce index for wife, 1974-1989.
             Divorce index for husband, 1974-1989.

Special Indexes and Vertical Files

    Indexes to the Courier-Journal for the years 1901 to mid August 1902 and 1918 to the present.
            An index to articles in Kentucky historical and genealogical magazines.
            Newspaper clipping files about Louisville and Kentucky subjects.

Other Resources:

Some family histories.
Indexes to Kentucky land grants.
Magazines concerning Kentucky genealogy.
State documents and Louisville city reports.
Proceedings of religious and professional groups.
A variety of materials about life in Kentucky from the Devonian age to the present.

Property Valuation Administration, 5th floor, Fiscal Court Building.
Land Ownership and Division

Tax Maps-Property Valuation Administrator, c.1930s-present, hard copy.
University Archives and Records Center, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library
Louisville, KY 40292, 502-852-6674

Louisville city directories 1832-1990 (PAPER)
Louisville suburban directories 1957-1991 (PAPER)
Ekstrom - Louisville city directories 1871-present  (PAPER)
Louisville suburban directories, 1957-present (PAPER)

Institutional Archives

Official records of the University of Louisville, 1798-present, bulk dates, 1838-present (PAPER, PHOTOGRAPHS,  and FILM) including correspondence,  documents, minutes of the University Board of Trustees, official catalogs,  photographs, and other materials.  Finding aids and information on records management available on U of L gopher at

Manuscripts (other than literary)

Urban History Collections, nineteenth and twentieth century   records of important businesses, cultural organizations,  social service agencies, and churches, and personal papers of  political figures, scholars, and members of   the Jewish and African-American communities.  Included are major collections   such as the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Collection, which contains records, photographs, and maps and drawings; the Hillerich and Bradsby Collection, documenting the famous manufacturer of the "Louisville Slugger" baseball bat; papers of Frank Stanley, publisher of the LOUISVILLE DEFENDER; and collections of many faculty and staff members of the University of Louisville. (PAPER, PHOTOGRAPHS, and FILM)

Finding aids available on U of L gopher,, U of L Archives menu choice.


Oral History

Home of the University of Louisville's Oral History Center, preserving over 1,000 taped recollections of university personnel and students, community leaders, members of  ethnic communities, workers, and business executives, collected since the late 1970s. Transcripts are available for part of the  collection. (AUDIOTAPES and PAPER)

Vital Records

 U of L gopher pointer to state government vital records made  
               available at UK -, UofL Archives menu 
               choice includes deaths: 1911-1992, marriages, 1973-1993, 
               divorces 1973-1993 (records may not be inclusive within those years).

Media and Microforms, Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library
Louisville, KY 40292, 502-852-6302

Louisville city directories 1871-1927 (FILM)

 Maps and atlases
Sanborn fire insurance maps, Kentucky, 1886-1951 (FILM)



  • Louisville Free Public Library Index to the LOUISVILLE

  • COURIER-JOURNAL, 1917-1977 (FILM)

  • LOUISVILLE DEFENDER, 1951-present?

Reference Department, Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library,
Louisville, KY 40292, 502-852-6747

Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library,
Louisville, KY 40292, 502-852-6752, fax 502-852-8734, e-mail:

City of Louisville Charter

1780 charter for the City of Louisville signed by Thomas Jefferson while governor of Virginia.

Literary Manuscripts

Literary manuscripts from the following Louisville authors:

  • Madison Cawein

  • Abby Mequire Roach

  • Ellen Churchill Semple

  • Alice Hegan Rice

  • Mary Churchill Humphrey

Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Ekstrom Library,
Louisville, KY 40292
City of Louisville Records
Architectural drawings (original) of several buildings owned by the City of Louisville, 1871 - present; Sanborn maps, with updates- from 1905 - 1978

Annual Budgets (Operating and Capital): incomplete run c. 1955-present

Annual Financial Reports: incomplete run c. 1900 - present

Fire Department run logs: late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century

Legislative records of the City of Louisville - originals and attachments, bonds and contracts.  Convenience copies of the microfilmed minutes, ordinances, and resolutions of the legislatures of the City of Louisville, 1781 - 1985.  Recent  resolutions, ordinances and  attachments (originals), through 1990.

Mayor's office files.  The collections include contemporaneous accounts of many events of local interest, especially during the Broaddus (1953- 1957), Hoblitzell (1957-1961), Smead (1965-1969), Burke (1969-1973), Sloane (first term; 1973-1977), Stansbury (1977-1981), Sloane (second term; 1981-1985), Abramson (first term; 1986-1990, second term; 1990-1994).

Police and Fire Departments  personnel records; mid-late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Tax records, real estate and personal property: 1950 - 1974

Urban Renewal Agency records, processed, 1962 - 1980. Approximately 270 cubic feet; approximately 1,000 maps. Records detail 10 urban renewal projects and two neighborhood development projects entailing approximately 2,200  acres of land in Louisville and Jefferson County.


Historical buildings and structures in the center  city (secondary sources, not limited to City-owned structures), biographical sketches of all mayors who have ever served the City of Louisville, lists and some biographical sketches of members of the Board of Aldermen.  Copies of the charters of the City of Louisville, and copies of several published  histories of the City (manuscripts, pamphlets, and books) are also available.

Publications library: 

approximately 300 cubic feet of material  published by the City of Louisville, covering a wide variety of  topics and services offered by the City.  A card catalogue by creating agency and publication title is the finding aid.  The  material largely dates from the 1940's through the present. 

Kentucky State Court Records
In 1975, the passage of the Judicial Amendment to the KY Constitution greatly 
change the structure of the state court system. The new system of 
organization took effect on 01 January 1978. This inventory, however, only 
describes records created by the judicial system before 1978.

The below-listed courts generated case papers, dockets, order books, judgment 
books and indexes which may be of interest to the researchers.  The original 
records have been sent to the State Archives in Frankfort, KY.  However, the 
plaintiff and defendant indexes are available on microfilm at the Jefferson 
County Clerk-Micrographics Department.  To examine an original case file, the 
record must be brought to Louisville from Frankfort by the Circuit Court 
  • Old Circuit Court-Common Law, 1783-1865
  • Old Chancery Court, 1781-1835
  • Louisville Chancery Court, 1835-1892
  • Jefferson Court of Common Pleas, 1865-1892
  • Louisville Vice-Chancellor's Court and Law and Equity Court, 1872-1977
  • Jefferson Circuit Court-Criminal Branch, 1832-1977
  • Jefferson Circuit Court-Civil Branch, 1892-1977

For  a history of the early court system in Kentucky, see Richardson, William C. An Administrative History of Kentucky Courts to 1850.  Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives:  Frankfort, 1983.  For a detailed outline of the Court system and its records prepared just a few years before the change in the judicial system, see Thomas, Samuel W. "An Inventory of Jefferson County Records." The Filson Club Historical Quarterly, Vol.44, No. 4, October 1970.  The Filson Club:  Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky Historical Society

The Kentucky Historical Society microfilm collections include:

  • U.S. Censuses: Kentucky 1810 - 1880, and 1900 - 1930 on microfilm with Soundex index for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 (partial) available; indexes for 1810 - 1870 censuses available in printed form
  • Tax lists, by county, dating from the formation of the county until 1875, and 1890, on microfilm
  • Kentucky vital records on microfilm: births, marriages, deaths (1852 - 1861).  Also, 1874  - 1878 on film.  Indexes for births (1911 - 1988) and deaths (1911 - 1993) are on microfiche, or online.  Uncertified death records, 1911 - 1950, on microfilm
  • County court records on microfilm, including wills and marriages, from the formation of the counties to 1910, when available
  • Newspapers on microfilm, nearly complete for nineteenth century Frankfort and early Lexington; scattered issues for other localities in Kentucky
  • Microfilm of many KHS manuscript collections, as well as the Draper Manuscript Collection
  • Selected city directories for Kentucky, from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • Land records; some of these records are available online through the Revolutionary War Database of the Kentucky Secretary of State's Land Office .

The Kentucky Historical Society collection of published works include:

  • Kentucky state and county histories
  • Church records
  • Bible records
  • Published genealogies
  • Kentucky biographies and biographical histories
  • Historical and genealogical resources covering all fifty states
  • Indexed rosters of Kentucky soldiers through World War I
  • Land records, including photocopies of  original records housed in the Kentucky Secretary of State Office, in the Library extensive Reference Collection; these records are also available on microfilm; some of these records are available online through the Revolutionary War Database of the Kentucky Secretary of State's Land Office
  • Historical and genealogical periodicals
  • Dozens of genealogical resources on CD-ROM, including the entire 1880 United States census.

The Kentucky Historical Society Library vertical files include:

  • Surname files with collected and contributed research, arranged alphabetically by family name
  • Abstracts of some wills, marriages, deeds, pensions, and cemetery records, alphabetically by county
  • Files including Biography, Churches, Architecture and Historic Buildings, Kentucky Subject, General Subject, Kentucky County, etc.

The Kentucky Historical Society Library also houses a unique card file of vital records information compiled by the Works Progress Administration, covering 1852 to 1861, and existing statistics for the 1890s and early 1900s. 

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