Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy
Guide to Mercer County, Kentucky ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
- 1 County Information
- 2 Resources
- 2.1 Bible Records
- 2.2 Biographies
- 2.3 Business, Commerce, and Occupations
- 2.4 Cemeteries
- 2.5 Census Records
- 2.6 Church Records
- 2.7 Court Records
- 2.8 Directories
- 2.9 Emigration and Immigration
- 2.10 Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups
- 2.11 Funeral Homes
- 2.12 Genealogies
- 2.13 Guardianship
- 2.14 Land and Property Records
- 2.15 Local Histories
- 2.16 Maps and Gazetteers
- 2.17 Migration
- 2.18 Military Records
- 2.19 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 2.20 Newspapers
- 2.21 Obituaries
- 2.22 Other Records
- 2.23 Periodicals
- 2.24 Probate Records
- 2.25 School Records
- 2.26 Tax Records
- 2.27 Vital Records
- 3 Research Facilities
- 4 Societies
- 5 Websites
- 6 Research Guides
- 7 References
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.
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.
1928 A disaster destroyed some records.
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.
For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:
- KY Biographies, Jeff Murphy's Kentucky Biographies Project
Business, Commerce, and Occupations
The following web sites have additional information on Mercer county cemeteries.
- Interment.net, Kentucky cemetery records by county.
- Cemetery Junction, Links to cemetery transcriptions
- Naming the Forgotten, The Eastern State Hospital Project
- ePodunk list of Mercer County cemeteries gives the names of the cemeteries in the county with a link to more information such as address, phone number, and web site.
For tips on accessing Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy census records online, see: Kentucky Census.
- 1790 - Lost, but a substitute is available, see Taxation.
- Kentucky Census Transcriptions 1850-1930, USGenWeb
- Census Images, USGenWeb
- KY Census Online, Links to online census 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.
- Kentucky Christian Church Directory, ChurchAngel
- Catholic Parishes in the Diocese of Lexington
- Catholic Parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville
- The Centennial Celebration and Other Interesting Facts Concerning Old Mud-Meeting House near Harrodsburg, Ky., August 25, 1900. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online - free.
- Abstracts of Early Kentucky Supreme Court Cases, KYGenWeb
- Kentucky Court of Justice Research & Reference
- Mercer County, Kentucky: Marriages (1786-1800) & Wills (1786-1801) at Ancestry ($)
- Abstracts of Sharp deeds from Mercer County, Kentucky at Ancestry ($)
Emigration and Immigration
Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups
- African American Research (US) has more information about the kinds of records available
- The KY African American Griots Project
- Kentucky Minorities has information specific to Kentucky African Americans.
- Sandi Gorin's Tips, Hangings in Kentucky 1792-1900
- [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
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 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.
- Rue, A.B. Historical Sketch of Mercer County, Ky. (Illustrated). Harrodsburg, Ky.: Rue, 1904. Digital version at Kentuckiana Digital Library.
- The Archives of Appalachia
Maps and Gazetteers
- Maps of Kentucky (1776-1939)
- KYGenWeb compiled list of maps
- Click on the county to go to the KYGenWeb site
- Military Resources, Revolutionary War through Civil War
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.]
- 1861-1865 - Kentucky Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - Kentucky Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry — index (free)
- 1861-1865 - U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 at Ancestry— index (free)
- 1912-1950 - Kentucky Confederate Pension Applications 1912-1950 at FamilySearch — index and images
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 Memorial for Soldiers from KY, KYGenWeb
Naturalization and Citizenship
- USNPL, Kentucky, Kentucky newspaper index with links
- World-Newspapers, Kentucky, Kentucky newspaper index with links
- Kentucky Newspapers on Microfilm
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- Kentucky Footsteps Archives, KYGenWeb
- Kentucky Obituary Sources, KYGenWeb
- Links to research and locate obituaries
- Browning Genealogy Database, Compiled by Charles Browning.
- Kentucky Obituaries, USGenWeb
- Afrigeneas, African American death notices, obituaries and funeral programs compiled by users from current newspapers and historical sources
- Obituary Depot, Kentucky Newspaper Citations
- Obituary Daily Times, Citations to over 15,000,000 obituaries including interactive search function
- Nashville Christian Advocate Death Abstracts
- Kentucky Postcards, USGenWeb
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 ($)
- Images of Wills, Estates, Guardianships, Inventories, Appraisements: Book 1, 1786-95; Book 2, 1795-1803; Book 3, 1803-08; Book 4, 1808-13; Book 5, 1813-16; Book 6, 1816-21; Book 7 1821-24. Kentucky Pioneers ($)
- Stephenson, Martha. Education in Harrodsburg and Neighborhood Since 1775. Harrodsburg, Ky.: Harrodsburg Herald, n.d. Digital version at Kentuckiana Digital Library.
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, digitized by Ancestry ($).
- Search Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills Records, Ancestry ($)
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.
- 1839-1960 – Kentucky Births and Christenings, 1839-1960 at FamilySearch
- 1852-1859 - Mercer County Birth Index 1852-1859. Batch C517751 at FamilySearch - free.
- 1874 - Mercer County Birth Index 1874. Batch C517752 at FamilySearch - free
- 1911-1912 - Searchable KY Birth Index
- 1609-2016 - Kentucky, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1785-1979 – Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979 at FamilySearch
- 1786-1800 - Mercer County, Kentucky: Marriages (1786-1800) and Wills (1786-1801) at Ancestry ($)
- 1797-1954 - Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1800-1830 - Mercer County, Kentucky Marriage Records, 1800-1830 Vol. II-III at Ancestry ($)
- 1852-1859 - Mercer County Marriage Index 1852-1859. Batch M517751 at FamilySearch - free
- 1973-2000 - Searchable KY Marriage Records
- 1973-2000 - Kentucky Marriage Records 1973-2000
- 1843-1970 – Kentucky Deaths and Burials, 1843-1970 at FamilySearch
- 1911-1965 - Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1965 at FamilySearch — index
- 1911-2000 - Searchable KY Death Index
- The Social Security Death Index - Searchable
- The Kentucky Vital Records Project, Transcriptions and Images of Kentucky Death Certificates
- Mercer County, Kentucky Obituary and Death Notices Collection Free from GenealogyBuff.com. From various funeral homes in the Harrodsburg, Burgin, Bondville, Cornishville, and Salvisa areas.
- 1973-1993 - Kentucky Divorce Records 1973-1993, University of Kentucky Vital Records Databases
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.
- The Harrodsburg Historical Society
220 South Chiles Street
PO Box 316
Harrodsburg, KY 40330
- Links and addresses to Kentucky genealogical and historical societies
- Mercer County, KY History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- KYGenWeb project. Has maps, name indexes, history or other information for each county. Select the county.
- State of Kentucky Website
- USGenWeb Kentucky Archives
- The USGenWeb project May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
- Mercer County, Kentucky Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Mercer County KY Genealogy (Kentucky Genealogy)
- FamilySearch Catalog . Free - The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection. Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kentucky. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Mercer County, Kentucky" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_County,_Kentucky."
- 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.
- 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.
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Kentucky. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Mercer County, Kentucky," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_County%2C_Kentucky, accessed 3 September 2018.
- 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).
- 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.