Pulaski County, Kentucky Circuit Court Records

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United States Genealogy go to Kentucky go to Pulaski County, Kentucky go to Pulaski County, Kentucky Circuit Court Records

The Pulaski county, Kentucky Circuit Court has generated a variety of records. Record types that exist include: Judgement Books (1860-1927), loose judgement papers in off docket bundles (1800+ some dates and surname letter off docket bundles wanting), case files (1800-1920), Executions (1803-1928), Order Books (1(1804-1901), Commonwealth Judgements (1820-1926), Commissioners Reports of Sales (1838-1919), Commonwealth Cases (1939-1912), Indictments (1860-1920), Judgements by Default (1863-1885), Miscellaneous Bonds (1870-1893), Criminal Order Books (1876-1906), Orders De Idiota Inquirendo (1876-1917), Commissioner Bond Books (1877-1889), Attachment Bond Book (1877-1884), Civil/Ordinary and Equity Case Files (1880-1927), Injunction Bond Book (1905-1936), Inquests of Deaths (1924-1925), and Cvil Case Files (1926-1954).

Some of the records are still at the courthouse---others are at the Kentucky State Archives. In many cases these records have been microfilmed and are available through your local family history center.

It is also of note that the Circuit Court held Chancery sittings. So if you find a Pulaski county land record where a commissioner is selling the land due to a Interlocutory Decree of a suit in Chancery, check the Circuit Court records.

Kentucky Court of Appeals Opinion on Pulaski Circuit Court Cases

"KY Court of Appeals Opinions - Pulaski County" The Sound of Shaking Paper

The link above "is a huge master post in its own right, containing links to all Kentucky Court of Appeals opinions on civil and criminal cases that were appealed from Pulaski County between 1802 and 1922."[1]

Circuit Court Case Files

1800-1920. See Kentucky State Archives.

Circuit Court Commonwealth Case Files

1839-1912. See Kentucky State Archives.

Circuit Court Commissioners Reports of Sales

1838-1919. See Kentucky State Archives.

Circuit Court Orders

The Court Orders found in the Circuit Court Clerks Office in the courthouse at Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1969 contain orders about debt, slander, stealing, assault, and battery. Occasionally there are references to a probate record. There are a few land certificate orders. Orders often say "In case" or  "In Chancery", but no case numbers are given. Vol 4, p 5 mentions the publishing of one particular case's information in the August [Argus?] Western America newspaper. If you see an order that says "upon Indictment", also check the COUNTY court order books to see if there isn't an order regarding your case there that pre-dates the circuit court order you found. If an order says "in case" be sure and order the entire case file (not just the final judgement) from the Kentucky State Archives in Frankfort.

Orders of the Circuit Court 1804-1809

This volume contains an index at the front however it has limited scope. For example, given two randomly picked pages, p. 40 and p. 180, along with an entry containing a plaintiff and defendant from each page for a total of 4 different people and surnames; none of the 4 individuals were found in the index! (FHL US/CAN Film 800,722. This is presently (2011) cataloged as Orders of the Circuit Court, Vol 1 1804-1805; but an examination of the microfilm reveals that the spine cover of this volume reads "1804-1809" and the last few pages of this volume are carrying 1809 dates. It should also be noted that the spine cover at the time of this 1969 filming did not refer to this volume as "Vol 1" nor "Book 1")

Orders of the Circuit Court 1810-1815

This volume has 565 pages in it, with no index at the beginning or end of the volume. (FHL US/CAN Film 800,722. This is presently (2011) cataloged as "Vol 3" but there is no "Vol 3" on the spine cover in this 1969 filming.) 

This volume also contains Tellico land certificate orders. Although scattered, the Telico land certificate orders are easy to spot because the have numbers by them (ie: no. 1, no. 2, etc) in the left margin. The Telico land certificate orders often have a half page to a full page description of the land. And the descriptions often referenced the south side of the Cumberland River and “near the county line”. [2]

Orders of the Circuit Court Vol 4, 1816-1820

This volume has 504 pages in it, with no index at the beginning nor end of the volume. (FHL US/CAN Film 800,723 item 1. The spine of the book cover reads "Order Circuit Court No. 4 1816-1820"). The entries make no mention of case numbers.

Orders of the Circuit Court Vol 5, 1820-1823

This volume has 437 pages in it, with no index at the beginning nor end of the volume. (FHL US/CAN Film 800, 723 item 2)



Executions 1803-1928, Circuit Court. See Kentucky State Archives.

Judgement Books and papers

No Judgement Books appear to be extant prior to the 1860s. However, some of the loose judgement papers from 1800+ are in off-docket bundles at the Kentucky State Archive in Frankfort. These bundles have bundle wrappers with a 1874 wrapper print date on them. The bundles were assembled by the first letter of the plantiffs surname and this letter appears on the outside "1874" wrapper, along with the dates covered in the bundle which vary, but some start as early as 1800. The collection is small compared to what would have originally exsisted, with only around 12 bundles exant. However, inside the ones that exist, one will often find summons and subpoenas for defendents and witnesses, along with other sundry items. As sometimes a witnesses will be a female, these can be a source of a female ancestors given name, although there is often not a direct way to even know the plantiffs name under which such a record might be found.  (Note: the Kentucky State Archives, as of June 2011, catalogs the Judgement Books and papers just as "Judgement Books 1800-..." )

Circuit Court Transcripts

1931-1942. See Kentucky State Archives.


Court Records (microfilmed originals or published transcripts) are listed in the FamilySearch Library Catalog for Pulaski County, Kentucky Circuit Court Records. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see  Some of the microfilms may be available at the state archives or at state and county historical societies. Most are referenced among the wiki pages discussing Pulaski county, Kentucky, but some new and/or additional ones may be found there.


  1. The Sound of Shaking Paper, blog, http://papershake.blogspot.com/p/pulaski-rockcastle-and-laurel-county.html
  2. Pulaski county, Ky, Circuit Court Orders, v. 4, 1810-1815, pp 137-8 (no. 1-2), 285, 318 (no. 7-8). Page citations examples, not inclusive of all Tellico Grants found in volume.