Kentucky Vital Records MICHAEL J DENIS, PO BOX 125, PARKSVILLE, KY 40464 I. WHAT ARE VITAL RECORDS? Births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents II. BIRTH AND DEATH RECORDS A. Prior to 1852: No births or deaths, may find some information in genealogies, histories, church and Bible records, or personal papers. Sources created to fill this gap in the civil records -"Kentucky Obituaries 1787-1854“ B. 1852–1910: Kentucky law required counties to record births, marriages, and deaths as early as 1852, repealed in 1862. Registration attempted 1874 to 1879 and 1892 to 1910. KDLA has records 1852 to 1910. Family History Library, Kentucky Historical Society, Filson Club, and other Kentucky locales have copies. KHS has incomplete index to 1852-1878, printed in The Register, Vols 38-41 and 43-63. II. BIRTH AND DEATH RECORDS (2) C. 1911–Present: B and D registration required, generally complied with by 1917. D. Kentucky death certificates on microfilm at KDLA, 1911 on, B & D indexes 1911 - 1988 at Kentucky Room, Lexington Central Public Libraryy. Births indexed by name of child and name of mother. E. Birth and Death Records Kept by Cities before 1911 at the Office of Vital Statistics for Louisville, Lexington, Covington, Newport and Bellvue. F. KDLA and KHS have copies of some city records. Lexington Public Library also has copies of Lexington records. The Filson Club has copies of Louisville and Newport records. III. MARRIAGE RECORDS A. County marriage records are earliest and most complete vital records for Kentucky. Lincoln, Fayette, and Jefferson Counties have marriage records from 1780s. Marriages prior to 1798 were under Virginia law. B. Marriage records from earliest dates to present are kept by county. C. Most complete collection of early marriages is KDLA. Major archives such as UK Library have microfilm copies. D. Many published marriage records which are available include: Kentucky Records. 1926, 1932. III. MARRIAGE RECORDS (2) 1797-1865 Kentucky Marriages, 1797–1865 Kentucky Marriage Records. An index is included with this record. Kentucky Marriages, Early to 1800: A Research Tool. E. Beginning in 1958, records have been indexed and are found at Vital Statistics. F. Gretna Greens. Many eloping couples went to Maysville, Mason County and Pike County avoiding waiting period between time of issuing license and performing marriage. Others may have crossed Ohio River and gone to places like Aberdeen or Cincinnati, OH, Evansville, IN. VI. DEATH RECORDS Availability of death records in Kentucky similar to birth records. A. 1843–1970, Kentucky Deaths and Burials, 1843-1970 is an index to many of these records. Not all records are complete for early years. B. 1852–1859, 1874–1878, The KHS has incomplete index 1852–1859, 1874-1878. Index in Register, KHS, Vols 39-41, 43-63. C. Index to deaths during 1850, 1860, and 1870 census years, see Mortality Records, for Year ending June, 1850, 1860, 1870, arranged by year, list name of deceased and page number in original records. D. 1911-1955, Kentucky, Death Records, 1911-1955 Index to death records. E. 1911-1995, Kentucky Death Index, 1911–1995. Contains name, death date and place, age, place of residence, vol. and certificate number. F. 1911–1947, Kentucky Death Certificates, 1911–1947. Certificates are arranged by year, by month, and then alphabetically by county. V. DIVORCE RECORDS A. Divorces 1792 - 1849 granted by state legislature. A published list of divorces from 1792 to 1849 can be found in Blue Grass Roots beginning Spring 1980 issue, not indexed by surname, only by title of article. B. In 1849, county circuit courts could grant divorces. Some county offices may have records as early as 1802. May be found under court records or vital records of individual county. C. Since 1958, filed in Frankfort, at Office of Vital Statistics. VI. ADOPTION RECORDS A. Adoption records are court records. B. Non-identifying information may be provided to adoptee 18 or older and adoptive parents. C. Identifying information is accessible to adoptee 18 or older, a birth sibling 18 or older, or a birth parent. D. Original birth certificate available only by court order. VII. ADDITIONAL HELPS AND TIPS A. Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn relationship of informant to subject. The closer relationship of informant to subject and whether or not informant was present at event can determine accuracy of information on record. B. If unable to locate VR, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial. Family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths. C. Records for African Americans may be in separate files with separate indexes. D. Privacy laws may restrict access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records over last 100 years may be unavailable except to direct relative. VIII. HOW TO USE RECORDS A. Begin your search by finding your ancestors in index. May contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and errors if information was scanned. B. When searching index it is helpful to know: Place and approximate date of event C. Use locator information found in index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate ancestors. Compare information in record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is correct person. VIII. HOW TO USE RECORDS (2) D. When you have located your ancestor’s record, evaluate each piece of information. Marriage date and place as basis for compiling a new family. Birth date or age and place of birth of each partner to birth records and parents' names. Birth date or age along with place of birth to find family in census records. Residence and names of parents to locate church and land records. Occupations listed can lead to other records -employment or military records. VIII. HOW TO USE RECORDS (3) Parents' birth places to find former residences, establish a migration pattern for family. Name of officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in county. Marriage number to identify previous marriages. Name of undertaker or mortuary can lead to funeral and cemetery records. Compile entries for every person who has same surname as bride or groom. Search records to identify relatives who may have lived in same county or nearby. Can identify other generations or second marriage. Repeat for each new generation. Common names, look at all entries for name before deciding which is correct. VIII. HOW TO USE RECORDS (4) E. Keep in mind: The information in records is usually reliable, but depends upon informant. Earlier records may not contain as much information as records created after 1900. Some variation in information given from one record to another. F. If unable to find ancestors: Check for variant spellings of surnames. Check for a different index. Search indexes and records of nearby counties.