Nelson County, Kentucky Genealogy

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Kentucky  Gotoarrow.png  Nelson County

Guide to Nelson County Kentucky genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Online Records

Nelson County, Kentucky
Map of Kentucky highlighting Nelson County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of the U.S. highlighting Kentucky
Location of Kentucky in the U.S.
Founded October 18, 1784
County Seat Bardstown
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Nelson County Kentucky Courthouse

Beginning Dates for Nelson County, Kentucky Genealogy Government Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Census Deeds Wills
1852 1785 1852 1810 1785 1785
*Many years between 1852 and 1911 are missing
Nelson County, Kentucky Courthouse.JPG

Nelson County Courthouse
113 E Stephen Foster Ave;
Bardstown, KY 40004
Phone:. 502.348.1820[1]

Nelson County Kentucky History

Parent County

1784--Nelson County was created 18 October 1784 from Jefferson County.
County seat: Bardstown [2]

Boundary Changes

See an interactive map of Nelson County boundary changes.

Record Loss

Nelson County Kentucky Places/Localities

Populated Places

Balltown Chaplin Gethsemane Nelsonville
Bardstown Coxs Creek Greenbrier New Haven
Bellwood Cravens Highgrove New Hope
Bloomfield Culvertown Howardstown Samuels
Blue Gap Deatsville Hunters Stiles
Boston East Bardstown Lenore Withrow
Botland Fairfield Nazareth Woodlawn
Bourbon Springs

Neighboring Counties

Nelson County Kentucky Genealogy Resources


African American Research

The following have information concerning African American research.  Both should be used:



Kentucky cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 11,315
1800 9,866 −12.8%
1810 14,078 42.7%
1820 16,273 15.6%
1830 14,932 −8.2%
1840 13,637 −8.7%
1850 14,789 8.4%
1860 15,799 6.8%
1870 14,804 −6.3%
1880 16,609 12.2%
1890 16,417 −1.2%
1900 16,587 1.0%
1910 16,830 1.5%
1920 16,137 −4.1%
1930 16,551 2.6%
1940 18,004 8.8%
1950 19,521 8.4%
1960 22,168 13.6%
1970 23,477 5.9%
1980 27,584 17.5%
1990 29,710 7.7%
2000 37,477 26.1%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.
1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Nelson 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.

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




It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]
  • Sterner, Pauline L. The Ancestry of the Families in Hancock County, Ohio of Alge, Beck, Schaller, Sterner and Weitz and Batcheldor, Clark, Cole and Lilly in Nelson County, Kentucky. Findlay, Ohio: P.L. Sterner, 1976. FHL Book 929.273 A1 no. 3409
  • [Abell] House, Katherine Lucille. George Monroe Abell and Lucinda Ludwell Able: A Story of Two Nelson County, Kentucky, Families; with Some Allied Families, Callahan, Carpenter, Coppage, Hurst, Linthicum, Pennebaker, Slaughter, Tucker and Related Families. Utica, Ky.: McDowell Publications, 2001. FHL Book 929.273 Ab35h
  • [Abell] House, Katherine Lucille. George Monroe Abell (1841-1900) and Lucinda Ludwell Able (1853-1934): A Story of Two Nelson County, Kentucky Families, with Ancestors Including George Abell (1802-1866) and Robert Able (1794-1840). Utica, Ky.: McDowell Publications, 2005. FHL Book 929.273 Ab35h 2005
  • [Able] See Abell.
  • [Beard] Cowles, Frank. William Beard of Nelson County, Kentucky and His Descendants. Baltimore, Md.: Gateway Press, 1986. FHL Book 929.273 B38cf
  • [Beeler] Pappas, Carolyn H. "Christopher Beeler, 1705-1775," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 43, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1999):243-255; Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2000):18-30; Vol. 44, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 2000):115-125. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg.
  • [Blue] Erickson, Emma Louise Graves. Richard and Cynthia Goggins Graves Descendants, Shelby Co., Kentucky, Pulaski Co., Arkansas, Northern California Side Line of Abraham and John Blue of Nelson Co., Ky., Washington Co., Miss., Chicot Co., Ark. Corvallis, Ore.: E.L. Erickson, 1982. FHL Book 929.273 A1 no. 5379
  • [Bowling] Bowling, Katherine Louise. Bowling: Thomas Bowling: His Forefathers of Maryland, His Descendants of Nelson County, Kentucky. Cuyohoga Falls, Ohio: K. L. Bowling, 1976. FHL Film 1598229 Item 3
  • [Brown] House, Katherine Lucille. The Descendants of William E. Brown and Katherine Mary Edwards in Nelson County, Kentucky: and Including Brown, Edwards and Sharp family; Ancestors in Washington, Mercer and Anderson Counties in Kentucky. Utica, Ky.: McDowell Publications, 2003. FHL Book 929.273 B815h
  • [Carter] Darling, Lu Ann W. The History and the Mystery of the William Carter Family of Nelson County, Kentucky and Crawford County, Illinois. Los Angeles, Calif.: L.W. Darling, 1997. FHL Book 929.273 C246d
  • [Craven] Craven, Patricia. The Craven Clan of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Various Kentucky Counties Nelson, Washington, Marion, Boone, Fayette, Jessamine, Henry. Chicago, Ill.: P. Craven, 1988. FHL Book 929.273 C855cr
  • [Davis] Moore, Robert P. Ancestors and Nelson Co., Ky., Associates of the Kincheloe, Wickliffe, and Davis Families of Prince William County, Virginia. Lexington, Ky.: R.P. Moore, 1996. FHL Film 1425391 Item 7
  • [Finn] House, Katherine Lucille. The Hurst and Finn Families of Nelson County, Kentucky: Descendants of Abraham B. Hurst and Sabina Bowles and John Finn and Mary Conroy. Utica, Ky.: McDowell Publications, 1999. FHL Book 929.273 H943hk
  • [Frakes] Frakes, Nina Howlett. Descendants of Philip and Phoebe (Case) Frakes of Nelson County, Kentucky and Sullivan and Vigo Counties, Indiana: With Known Data on Other Friggs--Freake--Fraiks--Frakes Families. San Mateo, Calif.: N.H. Frakes, 1979. FHL Film 1033850 Item 4
  • [Gilkey] Gilkey, Kenneth Edward. Gilkeys of Early Kentucky 1780-2000: This Book Focuses Primarily on William Gilkey of Caldwell Co., Ky. and His Descendants and His Brothers, David Gilkey of Union County, Ky. and John Gilkey of Nelson Co. Ky. and Their Descendants. Newburgh, Ind.: K.E. Gilkey, 2000. FHL Book 929.273 G397g
  • [Greenwell] West, Patricia Greenwell. The Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Rapier Greenwell: Born 18 June 1889, Nelson County, Kentucky. Blanchester, Ohio: P.G. West, [1984?]. FHL Book 929.273 G855w
  • [Hurst] House, Katherine Lucille. The Hurst and Finn Families of Nelson County, Kentucky: Descendants of Abraham B. Hurst and Sabina Bowles and John Finn and Mary Conroy. Utica, Ky.: McDowell Publications, 1999. FHL Book 929.273 H943hk
  • [Kincheloe] Moore, Robert P. Ancestors and Nelson Co., Ky., Associates of the Kincheloe, Wickliffe, and Davis Families of Prince William County, Virginia. Lexington, Ky.: R.P. Moore, 1996. FHL Film 1425391 Item 7
  • [LaRue] Mather, Otis May. Six Generations of LaRues and Allied Families: Containing Sketch of Isaac LaRue, Senior, Who Died in Frederick County, Virginia in 1795, and Some Account of His American Ancestors and Three Generations of His Descendants and Families Who Were Connected by Inter-marriage: Among Others Carman, Hodgen, Helm, Buzan, Rust ... : Copies of Six Old Wills and Other Documents, Various Incidents Connected with the Settlement of the Nolynn Valley in Kentucky; Also a Chapter on the La Rue Family and the Child Abraham Lincoln. Hodgenville, Kentucky: O.M. Mather, 1921. Available at FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 L329m 1968; FHL US/CAN Film 1208 [2 listings at FHL]; digital versions at Ancestry ($); Internet Archive - free; and World Vital Records ($).
  • [McClaskey] McClaskey, Michael J., Carol F. McClaskey, Kenneth L. McClaskey, and Barbara M. McClaskey. Descendants of James McClaskey of Nelson County, Kentucky. Idaho Falls, Idaho: B. M. McClaskey, 1981. FHL Large Q Book 929.273 M132mc
  • [Mills] Hackett, John Davis and Kathryn Dickerson Shannon. "Mills Families of Virginia," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1991):215-228; Vol. 35, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1991):284-296; Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1992):34-48; Vol. 36, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1992):109-119. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg v. 35 (1991)-v. 36 (1992).
  • [Popham] Burgess, Jane F. "John Popham (by 1757-1815/7) of Culpeper County, Virginia, and His Children," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2001):299-304; Vol. 46, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2002):57-64; Vol. 46, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 2002):119-125. Digital version at American Ancestors ($); FHL Book 975.5 B2vg v. 45 (2001).
  • [Rhodes] Stovall, Wilda Ortkiese and Fern Walker Blanford. Herod Rhodes 1826-1915 Wife Mary Sarah Frances Jenkins 1829-1920 of Nelson County, Kentucky with Some Descendants. n.p.: F.W. Blanford, 2008. FHL Book 929.273 R346bf
  • [Rogers] Rogers, Lon B. "Colonel James Rogers (1742--1828) Nelson County Pioneer," The Kentucky Genealogist, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1961):3-6.
  • [Thompson] Lovejoy, Florence Thompson. Athanatius Thompson, Maryland to Nelson Co., Ky., ca. 1780. MSS., Willard Library, Evansville, Ind. Reproduction: FHL Film 1481385 Item 16
  • [Wickliffe] Moore, Robert P. Ancestors and Nelson Co., Ky., Associates of the Kincheloe, Wickliffe, and Davis Families of Prince William County, Virginia. Lexington, Ky.: R.P. Moore, 1996. FHL Film 1425391 Item 7


Local Histories



Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Nelson County, Kentucky Genealogy served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Nelson County, Kentucky Genealogy:

- 6th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate). Company I.
- 9th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry (Confederate). Company I.





The organization Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Nelson County probate records. They offer a record retrieval service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee. Available indexes:

  1. Will Book 1: 1785-1790, Will Book 1A: 1790-1801
  2. Will Books B-C: 1802-1828


  • 1785-1796 - Schroeder, Margaret Johnson and Carl A. Schroeder. Residents of Nelson County, Virginia (now Kentucky) Recorded in Tithable and Tax Lists. [1785-1796] 4 vols. Bardstown, Ky.: Schroeder, 1988. FHL.
  • 1787 - 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. Available at FHL. [Sources for this publication are 1787 personal property tax lists and 1787 tithable lists. Nelson County is included in Vol. 2.]
  • 1792 - 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 1792 was used." (p. 2)]
  • 1800 - 1800 Tax List of Nelson County, Kentucky Genealogy is included in Clift's Second Census of Kentucky 1800,[3] digitized by Ancestry ($).

Vital Records

  • 1852-1861 - Nelson County Birth Index 1852-1861. Batch C517811 at FamilySearch - free.[4]
  • 1874 - Nelson County Birth Index 1874. Batch C517812 at FamilySearch - free.[4]
  • 1875 - Nelson County Birth Index 1875. Batch C517813 at FamilySearch - free.[4]
  • 1852-1861 - Nelson County Marriage Index 1852-1861. Batch M517811 at FamilySearch - free.[4]
  • 1875-1876 - Nelson County Marriage Index 1875-1876. Batch M517814 at FamilySearch - free.[4]
  • 1876-1878 - Nelson County Marriage Index 1876-1878. Batch M517815 at FamilySearch - free.[4]

Nelson County Kentucky Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Nelson County Kentucky Genealogy Websites

Nelson County Kentucky Genealogy References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Nelson County, Kentucky page 274, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. 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).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at