Kentucky has many societies that have been organized according to peoples’ interests. Genealogical, historical, and lineage societies are especially helpful to genealogists because of the records and resources they collect, transcribe, and publish. Some societies have Internet sites.
Lineage societies (the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR], Colonial Dames, and Sons of the American Revolution, for example) require members to prove they are descended from a certain group of people such as colonists or soldiers. The applications for membership in these societies are usually preserved and occasionally published. National lineage societies such as the DAR have a large Kentucky membership. These are described in the "Societies" section of the United States Research Outline. The Kentucky DAR is located at:
Genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records and maintain a genealogical file for historical families of the area or for ancestors of society members. Most genealogical societies focus on local and regional records, while others concentrate on the records and migrations of ethnic groups or minorities.
Societies may guide you to useful sources, suggest avenues of research, put you in touch with other genealogists who are interested in the same families, or perform research for you. The resources of the society may help in determining immigrant origins. Some societies publish transcriptions of original records and most societies publish periodicals. See the "Periodicals" section for a list of some periodicals published by Kentucky societies.
Some genealogical and historical societies hold conferences in which lecturers discuss genealogical research methods, available sources, and other topics of interest to the genealogist. These lectures may include information on records or research helps on a local, regional, or national level. Transcripts, audiocassette tapes, or syllabuses of the class outlines of these conferences are often made available to the public through the sponsoring society.
Major societies in Kentucky include:
The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) was formed in 1836 by a group of prominent Kentuckians intent on preserving the history of the Commonwealth. It was chartered as the state society in 1838 and began to collect books and printed materials. KHS became an agency of Kentucky state government in the early 1950s and is now part of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet. The Kentucky Historical Society collects, preserves, conserves, interprets, and shares information, memories, and materials from Kentucky’s past to assist those interested in exploring and preserving that heritage.The Kentucky Historical Society has the largest genealogical collection in Kentucky. Their holdings include information from all Southern States.
The Kentucky Genealogical Society promotes research of Kentucky families. They also publish items of genealogical interest, including the quarterly periodical Bluegrass Roots, mentioned in the "Periodicals" section.
The Filson Club is a source of many historical and genealogical records of Kentucky. It began as a private society to study Kentucky and Ohio history and culture. Their holdings include portraits, photographs, books, manuscripts, public records, family histories, and artifacts.
A directory to historical organizations in Kentucky is:
Directory of Kentucky Historical Organizations. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Historical Society, 1992. (Family History Library book 976.9 H24.) The organizations are listed by subject and include the address, phone number, hours, collection, membership information, and publications of each organization. There is an index to organizations and counties.
Family associations and surname societies have been organized to gather ancestors or descendants of specific individuals or families. Some seek out information on persons with a specific surname. See the "Societies" section of the United States Research Outline for a directory and more information about these societies.
Clubs or occupational or fraternal organizations may have existed in the area where your ancestor lived. Those societies may have kept records of members or applications that may be of genealogical or biographical value. Though many of the old records have been lost, some have been donated to local, regional, or state archives and libraries. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) is an example of an organization an ancestor may have joined.
Many counties also have local historical and genealogical societies. You can find local society addresses by using directories cited in the "Societies" section of the United States Research Outline.
For Kentucky societies, see the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog:
KENTUCKY, [COUNTY]- SOCIETIES
KENTUCKY, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- SOCIETIES
KENTUCKY, [COUNTY]- SOCIETIES
KENTUCKY, [COUNTY]- HISTORY- SOCIETIES