Sources to document early Kentucky are rather extensive–most are available on microfilm which you can borrow from the Family History Library or from the archives and libraries in Kentucky or from the Mid-Continent Public Library Genealogy Section, Independence MO. Let me describe two large collections:
- The Draper Papers. Dr. Lyman Draper was the Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society. He was determined to document the early settlement of what was called the Trans-Mississippi West–including Kentucky. Draper was at work when the Revolutionary War soldiers were still alive. And when early settlers, although they were now elderly, could still be interviewed and questioned about where they came from, when they migrated into Kentucky, who came with them, where they settled, and what their lives were like. These interviews and their accompanying questionnaires are invaluable for linking your ancestors to their kinship networks and places of origin.
- Shane Collections. The Rev. John D. Shane was a Presbyterian minister and he saw his life’s work as compiling a complete history of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky–including family histories of those families within the faith who settled early Kentucky. Shane recorded the military engagements of the Scots-Irish Presbyterians, the local events they participated in, who they were related to, what contribution they made to the Presbyterian movement in America. When Rev. Shane died, his collection survived in three separate and distinct sections: 1) The Presbyterian Historical Collection, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort KY. 2) Shane Manuscript Collection, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia PA. 3) Shane Collection for Kentucky and Ohio, acquired by Dr. Lyman C. Draper and integrated into his work.
These men were contemporaries and knew each other fairly well. They corresponded back and forth on mutual, historical and genealogical interests. All the above collections, except the Presbyterian Historical Collection at the Kentucky Historical Society , can be borrowed on film to read wherever it is convenient for you.
See Arlene H. Eakle and Linda E. Brinkerhoff, Tennessee and Kentucky: Twin Gateways to the South. 2007. (Genealogical Institute, PO Box 129, Tremonton UT 84337-0129). Descriptions, microfilm reel numbers and contents, lists of family and congregation histories included in both men’s works are included.
In my opinion, the materials Draper and Shane collected are essential to identify Kentucky ancestors and trace them to their origins–in Virginia, in Maryland, in North Carolina, in South Carolina, and in Pennsylvania and points east. Your favorite Kentucky genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://www.arleneeakle.com
PS Would you believe it? Access to my TN blog is now blocked by Windows Security as a threat? What happened? I am in shock! And I will keep you posted.