Genealogy & Local History

Genealogy and Local History

If you are tracing your family tree, writing a research paper, or want to know more about Shelby County, we can help!

If you want more information, email Shana at reference@scplibrary.net or call (502) 633-3803. If you have a long drive to see our collection, we recommend calling ahead in case you need assistance.

We have the following resources available:

Use the digital microfilm reader and printer to access:

  • Courthouse Records
  • Shelby County Deeds 1792-1878
  • Shelby County Marriages 1792-1869
  • Shelby County Order Books 1804-1868
  • Shelby County Tax Lists
  • Shelby County Wills 1792-1913
  • Shelby County Census Records 1810-1930
  • Slave Schedules 1850-1860
  • Vital Statistics 1852-1861.
  • Local newspaper: The Shelby News 1841-1971
  • Local newspaper: The Shelby Record 1899-1923
  • Local newspaper: The Shelby Sentinel 1880-1972
  • Local newspaper: The Sentinel-News 1972-2006.

Vertical Files:

  • Commerce
  • Education
  • Family Files
  • Government/History
  • Military
  • Miscellaneous
  • Organizations
  • Photographs
  • Religion/Churches

Print Sources:

  • 1882 Shelby and Henry County Atlas
  • County Histories
  • County Records including cemetery, census,marriages and wills.
  • Family histories
  • Filson Club History Quarterly
  • Kentucky Census Records
  • Kentucky Histories
  • The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Records which include cemetery, deaths, marriages, military and wills.

Please note: The majority of our genealogy collection focuses on Kentucky, particularly Shelby, Henry, Spencer, Oldham, Nelson, and other nearby counties. We have limited resources on the far eastern and western Kentucky counties. Because Kentucky was part of Virginia prior to 1792, we also have some Virginia resources.

Want us to find an obituary for you?

We can search our archived newspapers to find obituaries for $10.00 per obituary. All you have to do is:

  1. Download and fill out the Kentucky Room Reference Request for Obituaries form.
  2. Enclose your payment. Make checks out to Shelby County Public Library.
  3. Drop it by the library, or mail it to the Shelby County Public Library, Attn: Reference Librarian, 309 Eighth St., Shelbyville, KY 40065.

Please allow four to six weeks for a response.

Request for Obituaries form

Want us to find a historical record?

For $20.00, we can search our historical files for up to three records of your choice. If you’re interested, please:

  1. Download and fill out the Kentucky Room Reference Request form.
  2. Enclose your payment. Make checks or money order out to Shelby County Public Library.
  3. Drop it by the library, or mail it to the Shelby County Public Library, Attn: Reference Librarian, 309 Eighth St., Shelbyville, KY 40065.

Please allow up to eight weeks for a response.

Kentucky Room Reference form

With your SCPL library card, you have access to the following genealogy databases for free!

To log in:

  1. Enter your 14-digit library card number, the entire number on the back of your card. (i.e., 23610704097509)
  2. Your PIN is the last four digits of your library card number. (i.e., 7509)

  • Heritage Quest which includes census records, a collection of 25,000 family and local histories in full text and searchable and comprehensive subject index to 6,500 genealogy and local historical society publications from the United States and Canada.
  • Ancestry Library Edition provides over 5 billion records in census data, vital records, immigration records, periodicals books, photos and more! Gain full access to this popular resource by using a library computer.

Visit our Digital Resources page for more genealogy research tools.

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