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Kentucky Public Records

Kentucky Public Records and Brief History

The Kentucky Open Records Law (KRS61.870-61.884) (KORL) provides definitions and exemptions for what constitutes public records, who may access them and what the agency's responsibilities are for holding and providing records that are requested.  'Public Record is defined as "all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, discs, diskettes, , recordings, software, or other documentation regardless of physical form or characteristics which are prepared, owned, used in the possession of or retained by a public agency."  These records do NOT include documentation that is not related to the functions, activities, programs or operations funded by the state or local authority, records that are closed by state or federal law or by court judgment...more about KORL.

Making a records request in Kentucky

When making a records request in the state of Kentucky, it is best to make your inquiry with the appropriate department, addressing the records officer of that agency.  They will likely ask that you submit your request in writing and that you use the open records request form that applies to their department.  example here

Brief History of Kentucky

The Native Americans of Kentucky can be categorized into five eras, the Paleo-Indian Period, Archaic Period, Woodland Period, Pre-Historic Period, and the Historic Period.   The first Native Americans appeared in Kentucky sometime around 10,500 B.C.   For millennia, the native peoples inhabited the land, hunted and worked it.  As in other states, their societies evolved from strictly hunter gatherer to a more settled agricultural based model.  During the Historic period Shawnee and Iroquois tribes occupied Kentucky. It was during this period that Native Americans began coming into contact with Europeans on exploration and scouting missions. These early scouts/ explorers brought with them new diseases decimating the Indian population.  Perhaps it was because of the epidemics that the land became seen as uninhabitable by the natives who never resettled, but continued to use the land for hunting.

There are contradicting assertions as to who first explored the land called Kentucky.  Some say it first occurred in 1754 with James McBride.  Others claim it was earlier than that- 1673 with Gabriel Arthur.  Earlier still are claims that Hernando Desoto was the first European to see Kentucky while on his explorations in 1541.  This last claim makes the most sense given the timeframe that the native settlements disappeared.  Further evidence of this is held in Desoto's journals which outline the native languages of the area.

More Kentucky history....

Kentucky Government Info

Executive Branch

Governor and Lt. Governor
Mailing Address:
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 564-2611 | Fax: (502) 564-2517

Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo
Mailing Address:
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 142, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 564-2611

Office of the Attorney General
Mailing Address:
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 118, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
(502) 696-5300

Kentucky Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary of State
Mailing Address:
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 152, Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-3490 | Fax: (502) 564-5687

Legislature
Find your Legislator - Search by District, County or by name

Phone Numbers:
Legislative Message Line
1-800-372-7181

Bill Status Line
1-866-840-2835

Calendar (Meetings)
1-800-633-9650

TTY Message Line
1-800-896-0305

Kentucky Judiciary
Administrative Office of the Courts
100 Millcreek Park, Frankfort, Ky. 40601
502-573-2350

Public Court Records Online

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Court of Appeals

Directory of State Agency Records Offices

Commonwealth of Kentucky Organizational Structure

Kentucky State Archives

Archival holdings include Kentucky’s city, county and state government records.  The following examples reflect many of the valuable public records available for research:
  • Birth and Death records for 1852 - 1910
  • Birth and Death City Registers for four Kentucky cities
  • Death certificates for 1911 - 1957
  • Marriage records
  • Census and Military Records
  • Judicial records (Civil, Criminal and Ct. of Appeals)
  • Wills and Deeds
  • State Agency records

Kentucky State Archives