Using Newspapers for Family History
Newspapers publish notices of marriages, divorces, deaths, and funerals, and they publish obituaries. Notices include names of the persons involved and the date of the event, and they may contain maiden names and the names of parents and other living relatives.
Newspapers also publish articles of local interest, including religious and social events in the community, with the names of those involved. Some newspapers serve several communities and devote columns to the everyday happenings in the area. Newspapers also include legal notices, estate sales, and advertising for local businesses.
See content of U.S. newspapers for an overview of what you may learn about a person or place.
Resources for Kentucky Newspapers
Libraries and Archives
The University of Kentucky has the most extensive collection of Kentucky newspapers and was selected by the National Endowment for Humanites (NEH) United States Newspaper Program to conduct it's cataloging and digitalization project for the enitre state of Kentucky. For newspapers at the University of Kentucky that haven't been digitalized yet, see the University's Microfilm Ordering Database. For newspapers the University of Kentucky has cataloged (but not yet digitalized) through it's NEH United States Newsaper Program project see Chronicling America.
Western Kentucky University and the Kentucky Historical Society also have large newspaper collections.
The Kentucky Room at the Central Library in Lexington, Kentucky, has newspapers on microfilm for Lexington and scattered issues of newspapers for a few other cities.
The Kenton County Public Library has extant northern Kentucky newspapers, beginning in 1835. An online index includes a variety of news articles including obituaries, news items, etc. pertaining to the 14 northern counties. There are more than 800,000 names in this index which also contains source citations. www.kentonlibrary.org/genealogy/
The U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present is a national directory from the Library of Congress of over 140,000 newspaper titles. The directory provides a list of libraries from around the country that have the newspapers in their collections.
Digital Issues Online
The Kentuckiana Digital Library Newspaper Collection has digitized Kentucky newspapers that are not reflected in Chronicling America.
Chronicling America has some historical issues for the state of Kentucky online.
Family History Library
The Family History Library also has some Kentucky newspapers on microfilm, especially for the cities of Henderson, Louisville, Lexington, and Paducah. For example, see:
- Henderson Daily Gleaner. 1892–1911. Reprint, Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, 1959. (On 14 Family History Library films, beginning with 215412.) Many issues are in fragmentary condition, and some years are missing.
Many marriage, death, and obituary notices have been extracted and published. For example, see:
- Green, Karen Mauer. The Kentucky Gazette: Genealogical and Historical Abstracts. 2 vols. Baltimore, Maryland.: Gateway Press, 1983–. (Family History Library book 976.9 B38g.) Volume one covers 1787 to 1800. Volume 2 covers 1801 to 1820. It is indexed.
Many periodicals publish information from newspapers. These are referenced in the "Places" section of the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), which is described in the "Periodicals" section. See also the "Obituaries" section for help in finding obituaries.
For more resources regarding local newspapers for Kentucky, use the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
KENTUCKY- NEWSPAPERS KENTUCKY, [COUNTY]- NEWSPAPERS KENTUCKY, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- NEWSPAPERS