Bell County, Kentucky Genealogy

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United States
Kentucky
Bell County

Guide to Bell County, Kentucky ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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County Facts
County seat: Pineville
Organized: February 28, 1867
Parent County(s): Harlan, Knox[1]
Neighboring Counties
Claiborne (TN)  • Clay  • Harlan  • Knox  • Lee (VA)  • Leslie  • Whitley
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Courthouse
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County Information

Description

The County was named for Joshua Fry Bell. The County has Pineville as its seat and the County was created 5 February, 1867. The County is located in the southeast area of the state. [2]

County Courthouse

Bell County Courthouse
Courthouse Square, Floor 1
PO Box 156
Pineville, KY 40977
Phone: 606-337-6143[3]
Bell County Website

Bell County, Kentucky Record Dates

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1874 1867 1874 1867 1867 1869 1810
*Many years between 1852 and 1911 are missing

Record Loss

1914, 1918, 1944, 1976--Disasters caused the loss of some records.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes

  • 1867--Bell County was created 28 February 1867 from Harlan and Knox counties.
  • County seat: Pineville[5]

For animated maps illustrating Kentucky county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Kentucky County Boundary Maps" (1776-1939) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county:[6]

Cities
Unincorporated communites


History Timeline

Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Bell, Kentucky online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
TombstoneTranscriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Kentucky Cemeteries for more information

The following web sites have additional information on Bell county cemeteries.

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 3,731
1880 6,055 62.3%
1890 10,312 70.3%
1900 15,701 52.3%
1910 28,447 81.2%
1920 33,988 19.5%
1930 38,747 14.0%
1940 43,812 13.1%
1950 47,602 8.7%
1960 35,336 −25.8%
1970 31,121 −11.9%
1980 34,330 10.3%
1990 31,506 −8.2%
2000 30,060 −4.6%
2010 28,691 −4.6%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Bell County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Kentucky Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than online nationwide indexes.

See Kentucky Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Kentucky denominations, view the Kentucky Church Records wiki page.

Court Records

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

African Americans

More information about African American resources in Kentucky can be found on the Kentucky African Americans and the United States African Americans Wiki pages.

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

Guardianship

Land and Property Records

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Kentucky Land and Property for additional information about early Kentucky land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Bell County, Kentucky Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories see the wiki page section Kentucky Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers

Whitley CountyKnox CountyClay CountyLeslie CountyHarlan CountyLee CountyClaiborne CountyKY BELL.PNG
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Migration

Military Records

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Men in Bell County served in various regiments and companies. Those listed below were specifically formed in this county:

- 1st Battalion, Kentucky Mounted Rifles (Confederate). Company E.
- Fields' Company, Kentucky Partisan Rangers (Confederate), Company E

World War I

Korean War

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Bell County, Kentucky Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries

Other Records

Periodicals

Probate Records

Probate records are held by the Bell County, Kentucky Genealogy Clerk of Court and are housed at the Bell County, Kentucky Genealogy Courthouse. Microfilmed records can be found online at Kentucky, Probate Records, 1792-1977 for Caldwell, Henry, Hickman, Russell and Trimble counties. See the wiki page Kentucky Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, and adoptions.

Online Probate Records

School Records

Tax Records

Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and slaves aged 21 to 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district. For more background information and state-wide resources see the wiki page Kentucky Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Although Kentucky enacted a statute in 1852-1862 requiring registration of births and deaths,many counties did not comply. A second law was written in 1874-1879, and 1892-1910 but, again, was not always followed. By 1911, the law was more clearly defined and kept by 1920. Any existing births 1852-1960 and death records 1852-1953 can be accessed online. See How to Find Kentucky Birth Records and How to Find Kentucky Death Records for links to indexes and images.

Original marriage records are held at the office of the Bell County Clerk, with divorce records 1849-1958 located with the Bell County Circuit Court. For more information see How to Find Kentucky Marriage Records. For Kentucky divorce records see the wiki page Kentucky Vital Records.

Birth

Marriage

Death

Divorce

Research Facilities

Archives

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Libraries

Museums

Societies

Bell County Historical Society
207 North 20th Street
Middlesboro, KY 40965
Telephone: 606-242-0005
Website

Websites

Research Guides

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kentucky. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Bell County, Kentucky" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_County,_Kentucky."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Bell County, Kentucky page 268, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Bell County, Kentucky. Page 268-276 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 251-254.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kentucky. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Bell County, Kentucky," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_County,_Kentucky, accessed 3 August 2018.
  7. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/f/f1/Igikentuckyaf.pdf.

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