Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy

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United States
Kentucky
Mercer County

Guide to Mercer 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: Harrodsburg
Organized: October 17, 1785
Parent County(s): Lincoln [1]
Neighboring Counties
Anderson  • Boyle  • Garrard  • Jessamine  • Washington  • Woodford
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Courthouse
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County Information

Description

The County was named for Hugh Mercer. The County has Harrodsburg as its seat and the County was created 1785. The County is located in the central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

Mercer County Courthouse
235 S Main Street
PO Box 426
Harrodsburg, KY 40330-1696
Phone: 859-734-6310[3]
Mercer County Website

Mercer 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
1852 1786 1852 1786 1786 1786 1810
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1911. General compliance by 1917.

Record Loss

1928 A disaster destroyed some records.

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

Boundary Changes

  • 1785--Mercer County was created 17 October 1785 from Lincoln County.
  • County seat: Harrodsburg[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 communities
  • Edgewood (hist.)
  • Fairview (hist.)
  • Grapevine
  • Jackson
  • Kirkwood
  • Laurel Hill
  • Liberty (hist.)
  • Lucto (hist.)
  • Lucton
  • Lynnwood (hist.)
  • Maple Lawn (hist.)
  • Maplewood
  • Mayo
  • McAfee
  • McGary Station (hist.)
  • Nevada
  • Oakland (hist.)
  • Oregon
  • Perryville Tollgate (hist.)
  • Pleasant Hill (Shakertown)
  • Riverview Estates
  • Shawnee Run (hist.)
  • Stewart
  • Stringtown
  • Talmage
  • Terrapin
  • Vanarsdell
  • Wilson Station (hist.)
Census-designated places
Ghost towns


History Timeline

Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Mercer, 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 Mercer county cemeteries.

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 7,091
1800 9,646 36.0%
1810 12,630 30.9%
1820 15,587 23.4%
1830 17,694 13.5%
1840 18,720 5.8%
1850 14,067 −24.9%
1860 13,701 −2.6%
1870 13,144 −4.1%
1880 14,142 7.6%
1890 15,034 6.3%
1900 14,426 −4.0%
1910 14,063 −2.5%
1920 14,795 5.2%
1930 14,471 −2.2%
1940 14,629 1.1%
1950 14,643 0.1%
1960 14,596 −0.3%
1970 15,960 9.3%
1980 19,011 19.1%
1990 19,148 0.7%
2000 20,817 8.7%
2010 21,331 2.5%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

For tips on accessing Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy census records online, see: Kentucky Census.

  • 1790 - Lost, but a substitute is available, see Taxation.

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

  • [Finley] Finley, Carmen J. "John and Mary Finley of Montgomery (Wythe) County, Virginia," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1990):243-255. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg v. 34 (1990).
  • [Finley] Finley, Carmen J. "John Finley of Montgomery/Wythe County, Virginia: Additional Children Identified," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1995):3-22; Vol. 39, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1995):94-103; Vol. 39, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1995):202-212; Vol. 39, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1995):282-294. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg v. 39 (1995).
  • [Letcher] Buford, Marcus Bainbridge. A Genealogy of the Buford Family in America, With Records of a Number of Allied Families. San Francisco, Calif., 1903. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
  • [McDowell] Buford, Marcus Bainbridge. A Genealogy of the Buford Family in America, With Records of a Number of Allied Families. San Francisco, Calif., 1903. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
  • [Maccoun] Smith, Zachary F. and Mary Rogers Clay. The Clay Family. Louisville, Ky.: John P. Morton and Company, 1899. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
  • [Owens] Owens, David Hatfield. Owens Family of Virginia (Richmond, King George, Stafford, Prince William, Fauquier Counties) and Kentucky (Mason, Lewis, Fleming, Bracken, Mercer, Boyle Counties). Ann Arbor, Mich.: D.H. Owens, 1991. FHL Book 929.273 Ow2od 1991
  • [Robertson] Buford, Marcus Bainbridge. A Genealogy of the Buford Family in America, With Records of a Number of Allied Families. San Francisco, Calif., 1903. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
  • [Rowland] Petersen, Carol Rowland. Descendants of John Rowland, Son of William Rowland: (Botetourt Co., Va.). Belton, Mo.: C.R. Petersen, 1999. Digital version at Family History Archive.
  • [Taylor] de Graffenried, Thomas Pritchett. History of the de Graffenried Family from 1191 A.D. to 1925. Binghampton, N.Y.: Vail-Ballou Press, 1925. Digital version at Internet Archive - free; FHL Book 929.273 G758g.
  • [Taylor] Dennstedt, Albert Marjorie. "Richard and Ann Taylor's Descendants in Maryland and Virginia," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1996):29-38; Vol. 40, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1996):134-145; Vol. 40, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1996):199-211; Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1996):282-293. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg.
  • [Timmons] Corum, Frank. Captain George Timmons, Fact and Fiction. Hanson, Ky., 1990. FHL Book 929.273 T484c.
  • [Warner] Reynolds, Lyman Foster. Peter Warner Born Maryland - Fredrick County: Revolutionary War Soldier (with George Washington in Capture of Trenton) to Lincoln County Kentucky 1780's, Children Settled in Kentucky; Lincoln, Garrard, Boyle, Mercer & Washington Counties; Indiana Putnam County. Louisville, Ky.: L.F. Reynolds, 2007. FHL Book 929.273 W246r

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 Mercer 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

Anderson CountyWoodford CountyJessamine CountyGarrard CountyBoyle CountyWashington CountyKY MERCER.PNG
About this image
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for more resources


Migration

Military Records

French and Indian War

  • Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. Available at FHL. [Identifies a Mercer County veteran; see William Shepherd, page 242.]

Civil War

Online Records

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

- 19th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry (Union), Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and K.

World War I

Korean War

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

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

Obituaries

Other Records

Periodicals

Probate Records

Probate records are held by the Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy Clerk of Court and are housed at the Mercer 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

  • 1774-1999 Kentucky Wills and Probate Records 1774-1999 at Ancestry ($) — index and images
  • 1786-1795 Will Book 1: 1786-1795 - Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Mercer County probate records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee.
  • 1786-1923 Will Books 1 to 19 (1786-1923) have been digitized by FamilySearch - free.
  • 1795-1803 Will Book 2: 1795-1803 - Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Mercer County probate records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee.
  • 1803-1808 Will Book 3: 1803-1808 - Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Mercer County probate records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee.
  • 1808-1813 Will Book 4: 1808-1813 - Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Mercer County probate records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee.
  • 1813-1816 Will Book 5: 1813-1816 - Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Mercer County probate records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee.
  • 1818-1826 Mercer County, Kentucky Wills 1818-1826 at Ancestry ($)
  • Images of Wills, Estates, Guardianships, Inventories, Appraisements: Book 1, 1786-95; Book 2, 1795-1803; Book 3, 1803-08; Book 4, 1808-13; Book 5, 1813-16; Book 6, 1816-21; Book 7 1821-24. Kentucky Pioneers ($)

School Records

  • Stephenson, Martha. Education in Harrodsburg and Neighborhood Since 1775. Harrodsburg, Ky.: Harrodsburg Herald, n.d. Digital version at Kentuckiana Digital Library.

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.

Kandie Adkinson's "Researching Early Kentucky Tax Lists: 1792-1840" is a must read. The beginning tax list researcher will find the second half of her article especially helpful and for the serious researcher, she covers the legislation involved in the tax process. She continues her work to 1880 in the 2011 editions of the periodical Kentucky Ancestors.

  • 1787-1790 - Schreiner-Yantis, Netti and Florene Speakman Love. The 1787 Census of Virginia: An Accounting of the Name of Every White Male Tithable Over 21 Years, the Number of White Males Between 16 & 21 Years, the Number of Slaves over 16 & Those Under 16 Years, Together with a Listing of Their Horses, Cattle & Carriages, and Also the Names of All Persons to Whom Ordinary Licenses and Physician's Licenses Were Issued. 3 vols. Springfield, Va.: Genealogical Books in Print, 1987. Online at FamilySearch - free; FHL. [Sources for this publication are: remnants of the 1787 personal property tax list, 1787 tithable lists, 1787-c1790 insolvent and removed lists, 1786 tobacco inspection petition, 1786-1788 tax list substitutes, and the 1789 personal property tax list. Mercer County is included in Vol. 2.]
  • 1789 - Heinemann, Charles B. "First Census" of Kentucky 1790. Washington, D.C.: n.p., 1940. 1981 reprint: FHL US/CAN 976.9 X2ph 1981; digital version at Kentucky Kinfolks. ["1 volume of 1789 was used." (p. 2)]
  • 1800 - 1800 Tax List of Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy is included in Clift's Second Census of Kentucky 1800,[7] digitized by Ancestry ($).
  • Search Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills Records, Ancestry ($)

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 Mercer County Clerk, with divorce records 1849-1958 located with the Mercer 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

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, "Mercer County, Kentucky" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_County,_Kentucky."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Mercer County, Kentucky page 273, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Mercer 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, "Mercer County, Kentucky," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_County%2C_Kentucky, accessed 3 September 2018.
  7. G. Glenn Clift, Second Census of Kentucky 1800: A Privately Compiled and Published Enumeration of Tax Payers Appearing in the 79 Manuscript Volumes Extant of Tax Lists of the 42 Counties of Kentucky in Existence in 1800 (1954; reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2005).
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/7/75/Igikentuckymz.pdf.

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