Indians of Kentucky

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The most prominent early Indian tribes in Kentucky were the Cherokee, Chickasaws, and Shawnee. Most of these tribes were eliminated from Kentucky by about the early 1800s either through warfare or resettlement to other territories by the federal government. No separate records were kept for people with American Indian blood.

See Indians of the United States and Their Records for suggestions on how to research American Indian ancestry. If you are searching for American Indians in Kentucky, search the same types of records used to research non-Indians. You may want to see:

  • McConnell, Michael Norman. A Country Between: The Upper Ohio Valley and Its Peoples, 1724–1774. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1992. This book contains a comprehensive history of Indians in the upper Ohio Valley, including the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. In addition, this source contains biographies of prominent Kentucky Indians and a bibliography of sources.

Tribes and Bands of Kentucky

The  tribes listed below come from:

  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institutuion, Bureau of Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907.
  • Swanton, John R.The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of Ethnology, Bulletin #145

Cherokee, Chickasaws, Delaware, Mingo, Mosopelea, Shawnee, Wyandot, Yuchi

Web Sites

See also:

Kentucky-History for a calendar of events

Kentucky-Military for a list of forts

Family History Library

For additional sources on specific tribes, use the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the tribe. For example:


Other sources are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under: