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|Letcher County Genealogy - Site Index|
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|Letcher County History|
(Revisiting Our Past)
Letcher County was formed in 1842 from portions of Harlan and Perry counties and is located in the Eastern Coal Field region of the state. The elevation in the county ranges from 940 to 3720 feet above sea level. The county has a land area of 339 square miles, with an average of 72.6 people per square mile (2010). The county seat is Whitesburg. Whitesburg is located on the North Fork of the Kentucky River and was founded in 1842, with the forming of the county, on land donated for the purpose. Whitesburg was named in honor of Daugherty White, legislator from Clay county. The post office opened in 1843 as Whitesburgh Court House. The population of Whitesburg in 2010 was 2,139.
|Census Population History of Letcher County, KY|
For a listing of current Letcher County Reunions (occurring mostly throughout the summer months) check in The Mountain Eagle newspaper or browse through their Archive. (NOTE: Reunions are usually found in the Families & Friends section). A subscription is only required for the two latest issues - all other archived issues are free to view and/or download. Check here for information on past Letcher County Reunions (1997-2009).
Announcing the Kincer reunion to be held on June 19-21, 2015 at the Thornton Old Regular Baptist Church in Mayking, Letcher County, KY. The reunion is open to all Kincers, especially the descendants of Harvey Kincer, Frederick Kincer Jr. and David Gordon Kincer, the first Kincers to come to Letcher County. For further information please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the outdoor drama, Trail of the Lonesome Pine in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. (On Facebook)
The Mountain Eagle newspaper has been Letcher County's source of local news for over 100 years. It was founded by Nehemiah M. Webb (1865-1945) on August 29, 1907, and it still screams today under the care of Ben Gish. The University of Kentucky has scanned, and made available on their Kentucky Digital Library website, many of the older issues of The Mountain Eagle (pre-1972) so that they can be viewed and searched! Much Letcher County history can be gleaned from the pages of these old Eagles.
Visit the Kentucky Coal Education website where you can find a list of over 75 Letcher County Coal Camps and their years of operation. Also, read about the history of some of Letcher County's Coal Towns such as Burdine, Dunham, Haymond, Hemphill, Jenkins, McRoberts, Millstone and Seco.
Read an article about the Biggest Log Ever Cut in Letcher County and one about the man who cut it, Andrew Frazier (from the 5/2/1974 and 11/10/1955 issues of The Mountain Eagle newspaper, respectively).
Read the nostalgic article Romance and Chinquapins on Dixon Mountain in 1920's by Clifton Caudill (from the 7/3/1996 issue of The Mountain Eagle newspaper).
The Giant of the Hills: Martin Van Buren Bates .
The Electronic Edition of the 152 page book entitled History of Corporal Fess Whitaker. NOTE: This book contains a lot of Letcher County history and old photographs.
Browse through a list of Whitesburg High School graduates from before 1927 to 1940. (Transcribed from an article in The Mountain Eagle dated 5/16/40). Choose from a Class Listing, or an Alphabetical Listing of the graduates.
History of the Indian Bottom Church (From the 1974 Thornton Union Association Minutes).
Visit Nancy (Wright) Bays' and Patty (May) Brashear's Wright Roots Bates Branches Web Page where you will find fascinating stories about notable people who made history in and around Letcher County such as:
Also, read about the tragic story of Ira Mullins and the Pound Gap Massacre which took place on May 14, 1892 at Killing Rock in Pound Gap; and about the The Search For The Fleming Brothers ( Calvin and Henan ) who were thought to be two of the three men responsible for the massacre ("Doc" Taylor being the third); and the 1914 Letcher County Election Day Shooting (Talt Hall, Dunk Quillen, Marion Hall and Albert Hall were killed); and the August 1921 Election Shooting In Neon (Sam J. Wright and Alvin Bentley were fatally injured in a pistol duel on the street); and other interesting events and tales.
Visit the C. B. Caudill Store & History Center located in Blackey, Letcher County, KY.
|Letcher County Geographic Information|
(Learn more about the land in which your ancestors lived)
View Kentucky County Formation Maps covering the years 1776 to present.
Find out how Maps Can Help You Trace Your Family Tree (archived site - some links may no longer work at this site).
View a Letcher County Map (a 3020x2650 GIF)
If you would like an Atlas of all 120 Kentucky counties for $14.85 (includes postage and handling), write to: COUNTY MAPS, Puetz Place, Lyndon Station, WI 53944 or call (608) 666-3331 (phone orders are accepted). Atlases are also available for 11 other states.
View U.S. County Outline Maps (by state) from The Perry-Castaņeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.
View a list of 475 selected Letcher County Features (cemeteries, churches, populated places, streams, etc.) from the GNIS (Geographic Names Information System) or you can make your own query of the GNIS for other locations.
Visit the Kentucky Atlas & Gazetteer .
Would you like to know what the United States looked like during a particular time in it's history? View some of the Historical Maps of the United States from The Perry-Castaņeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.
|Letcher County General Information|
(Learn more about the present-day Letcher County)
Letcher County related YouTube Links (History, Music, Stories, etc.).
U.S. Census Bureau's Census 2010 "Quickfacts" for Letcher County, KY.
Letcher County Government (contains various Letcher County links).
Check it out! Whitesburg has its own Web Page.
|Letcher County Research Data|
(On-Line Databases and Information)
1820 Floyd County, KY, Census. Since some Floyd County lands were used to help create Perry County in 1820 and 22 years later some Perry County lands were used to help create Letcher County in 1842, you may be able to find some of your early Letcher County ancestors in this census (archived site - some links may no longer work at this site).
Since parts of Harlan County and Perry County were used to create Letcher County in 1842, you may be able to find some of your early Letcher County ancestors in the following censuses:
1820 Harlan County, KY, Census
1840 Harlan County, KY, Census
1840 Perry County, KY, Census (opens in a separate browser window)
1840 Perry County, KY, Census (Alternate Site)
1840 Perry County, KY, Census (archived site - some links may no longer work at this site)
1850 Letcher County, KY, Census - complete transcription, fully indexed with links to actual page images!
1860 Letcher County, KY, Census - complete transcription, fully indexed!
1870 Letcher County, KY, Census Index - index of all heads-of-households.
1870 Letcher County, KY, Mortality Census - A list of persons who died during the year preceding June 1, 1870.
1880 Census Index of Letcher County, KY, families (over 5,500 individuals - includes part of what is now Knott County).
Search the 1880 U.S. Census for Letcher County, KY, families (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
1890 Special Letcher County, KY, Census - Transcription with names in alphabetical order.
1900 Letcher County, KY, Census (transcription by Debbie Tamborski).
Search the 1900 U.S. Census for Letcher County, KY, families (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.). Contains links to census page images!
Search the 1910 U.S. Census for Letcher County, KY, families (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
Search the 1920 U.S. Census for Letcher County, KY, families (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
Search the 1930 U.S. Census for Letcher County, KY, families (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
Search the 1940 U.S. Census for Letcher County, KY, families (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.). Contains links to census page images!
Detailed survey of selected Cemetery Sites in Letcher County.
Letcher County Cemetery Records: A listing of more than 315 cemeteries located in Letcher County containing more than 7,800 individuals, all indexed and crossreferenced.
Mark-a-Grave Project: A Project of the Letcher County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Search the Find A Grave website which currently has more than 500 Letcher County Cemetery listings (although, many are not complete). The website also provides a way for you to post requests for photos of headstones.
Letcher County Obituaries.
Obituaries from the Minutes of The Union Association of Old Regular Baptist Churches (includes some Letcher County families).
View or download Minute Books of the Indian Bottom Association of Old Regular Baptist Churches for most years from 1900 to 2011 (contains many obituaries).
Vital Records Data
Letcher County Deaths for the years 1911 to 1961 (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
Letcher County Births for the years 1853 to 1855.
Letcher County Births for the years 1852-1857, 1859, 1874-1876, 1878, 1901, 1906-1910 (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
Perry County Marriage Index for the years 1821 to about 1846. Since part of Perry County was used to create Letcher County in 1842, you may be able to find some of your early Letcher County ancestors in this index.
Letcher County Marriages for the years 1842 to 1851.
Letcher County Marriages for the years 1884 to 1891.
Letcher County Marriages for the years 1892 to 1895.
Letcher County Marriages for the years 1896 to 1897.
Letcher County Marriages for the years 1852-1856, 1859, 1874-1878, 1881-1907 (refine your search by entering Last Name, etc.).
Letcher County Marriage Indexes for the following surnames: Amburgey (1846-1940), Banks (1846-1941), Caudill (1844-1925), Combs (1900-1942), Cornett (1843-1941), Johnson (1848-1941), Kinser (1846-1941), Maggard (1846-1940), Morgan (1866-1940), Mullins (1846-1941), Sexton (1844-1931).
Knott County Marriages for the years 1884 to 1924 (Marriage Books 1 through 18 - missing 7 through 9). Since Knott County was formed from a portion of Letcher County in 1884, you may be able to find some of your Letcher County ancestors in these marriage records.
Letcher County 1843 Tax List.
Letcher County 1844 Tax List.
Letcher County 1848 Tax List.
Index to Letcher County Will Book 1 (includes links to images of the actual pages from the Will Book)!
Index to Letcher County Will Book 2.
List of Letcher County Courthouse Records on LDS microfilm.
Visit Knott County's 13th Kentucky Cavalry, 14th Kentucky Cavalry, and Confederate Pension Records Web Pages. They contain many soldiers from various Southeastern Kentucky Counties, including Letcher County.
Visit Robert M. Baker's 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry Web Page. It also contains many soldiers from various Southeastern Kentucky Counties, including Letcher County.
Visit the Colonel Ben E. Caudill Camp #1629, Sons of Confederate Veterans website. Below is a sampling of some of the Civil War articles you can find there:
The Biography of Colonel Ben E. Caudill.
The First & Second Battles of Whitesburg.
The Battle of Mill Cliff.
The Battle of Colley Branch.
The Confederate Giant Captain Martin Van Buren Bates.
Colonel Logen Henry Neil Salyer.
Search Civil War Documents for your ancestor's Civil War service records.
Information about the Letcher County Historical and Genealogical Society.
View or post Letcher County related Bible Records, Biographies, Deeds, Obituaries, Pensions, Queries, Wills, etc. on RootsWeb's Letcher County, KY, Message Board. Be sure to select the proper "View Message Type:" for the desired category (the default is ALL).
The next time you are in the Whitesburg area visit the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library. They have an excellent genealogical room maintained by the Letcher County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Letcher County Coal Miners' Memorial website (archived site - some links may no longer work at this site).
Census Images on CD-ROM are available from Allcensus. Currently, they have the 1860 and 1900 Letcher County censuses available for $1.95 each, but other census years can be ordered as well. UPDATE: The above link points to an "archived" copy of the Allcensus website as of November 15, 2013, because the original website (http://www.allcensus.com) is no longer valid. The current 'status' of Allcensus is unknown at this time, but there is still some helpful census information on the website.
(Links to Letcher County Family Information)
The following are links to sites with Letcher County family information. If you know of other sites, please contact me so that I can add them here. NOTE: In the fall of 2014, Ancestry.com eliminated many of the family websites listed below when they did away with the old Family Tree Maker home pages. They were supposed to have "archived" them, but for some reason most of them were not. I have changed the links to archived versions of those pages found in the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. Access may be slow and links on some pages may no longer work.
ADAMS Family (Brian K. Caudill's Family Treemaker Web Page - the descendants of William Adams, Sr.). - (Archived Copy)
ADAMS and Sizemore Family History Website (includes the ancestors of John Washington Adams - a descendant of John Hobbs Adams, Sr., and Ann Caudill).
AMBURGEY Family Association (not limited to Letcher County).
BACK-BACH Family History (the Back-Bach Genealogical Society). - (Archived Copy)
BACK-BACH Family History (fully-documented, based on Dr. Wilgus' research and the Bach Family Bible).
BACK-BACH Family (Brian K. Caudill's Family Treemaker Web Page - the descendants of Erich Bach). - (Archived Copy)
BATES Family (the genealogy of John Wallis Bates - including Martin Van Buren Bates "The Kentucky Giant"). - (Archived Copy)
BENTLEY Family (An article about the descendants of Thomas Bentley of Frederick County, Maryland - some of his descendants ended up in Letcher County, KY). - (Archived Copy)
BLAIR Family of Eastern Kentucky (includes the book "My Family the Blairs" by Maude Blair Stanifer) - (Archived Copy).
BOATRIGHT Family (The Family and Ancestors of Dennis G. Boatright). - (Archived Copy)
CAUDILL Families of Eastern Kentucky will be honored at the 2005 Gingerbread Festival, Hindman, Knott County, KY.
CAUDILL Family (Brian K. Caudill's Family Treemaker Web Page - the descendants of James Caudill, Sr.). - (Archived Copy)
CAUDILL Family information compiled by Brian Caudill.
COLLINS Family (The Descendants of Griffin Collins, Sr.). - (Archived Copy)
COMBS Family Research (The Combs &c. Research Group Master Index).
COMBS Families of Letcher County (part of the Combs &c. Research Group).
CORNETT Corner (includes the book "Genealogy of William Cornett" by J.D. Cornett). - (Archived Copy)
CORNETT Family (Betty Gale Schimpf's Family Treemaker Web Page which includes the descendants of Nathaniel Woleary Cornett). - (Archived Copy)
CREECH Family (Descendants of Steven Creech).
EVERAGE / EVERIDGE Family.
FLEMING & Associated Names Home Page. - (Archived Copy)
FLEMING Family (The Robert Fleming and Elizabeth Stambaugh and Associated Families Reunion website). - (Archived Copy)
FRAZIER Family (Brian K. Caudill's Family Treemaker Web Page - the descendants of Solomon Frazier). - (Archived Copy)
HALCOMB Family (Ancestors of Billy Robert Halcomb). - (Archived Copy)
HALL Family Genealogy (by Marv Hall - contains some eastern KY info as well). - (Archived Copy)
HOLBROOK Family Genealogy (includes information on the LUCAS, SEXTON, and WOODY surnames). - (Archived Copy)
ISON Family (Harold E. Sparks's Family Treemaker Web Page which includes the descendants of Gideon Ison). - (Archived Copy)
ISON Family (Pattie Jo Calton's Family Treemaker Web Page which includes the descendants of Gideon Ison, Sir). - (Archived Copy)
ISON Family (Descendants of George Gideon Ison). - (Archived Copy)
KISER Family (Kiser/Kayser/Keyser Genealogy Web Page). - (Archived Copy)
KISER Family Genealogy Web Page (Descendants of Charles "Carl" Keyser). - (Archived Copy)
POTTER Family (The Creed and Ida Fuller Potter Family - contains links lots of photos).
REYNOLDS Family Genealogy (includes the Descendants of Noah Milburn Reynolds). - (Archived Copy)
SAYLOR Families of Harlan County, KY. - (Archived Copy)
SERGENT Family (Descendants of Abraham Sarjant of Harlan County, KY - includes many Letcher countians). - (Archived Copy)
SEXTON Genealogy Research Page. - (Archived Copy)
SIZEMORE and Adams Family History Website (includes the ancestors of Mildred Sizemore - a descendant of several different Sizemore families).
STAMPER Family Project.
STRAMBAUGH Family (The Robert Fleming and Elizabeth Stambaugh and Associated Families Reunion website). - (Archived Copy)
TOLLIVER Family Web Page.
TURNER Family Web Page (Descendants of Isaiah Turner). Includes Eldridge and Creech families.
WEBB Family (Brian K. Caudill's Family Treemaker Web Page - the descendants of John Webb, Sr.). - (Archived Copy)
WRIGHT family (the genealogy of Joel Martin Wright). - (Archived Copy)
YONTS Family Center (dedicated to researching ALL spellings and variations of the name Yonts). - (Archived Copy)
The following are Family Databases which contain many Letcher County surnames:
View the Surname Index for Dan Mohn's Highland Homepage which contains many Letcher County families.
Visit Don Chesnut's Chesnut Genealogical Home Page and his Our Ancestors family database which contains individuals mostly in the central Appalachian region (contains >13,000 names). - (Archived Copy)
Visit Deborah Thornsbury Keser's Thornsberry Genealogy Web Page (contains many Letcher County families: Thornsberry, Hall, Johnson, Bates, Isaacs). - (Archived Copy)
Visit Victor Lee's Genealogy Web Page which contains many Letcher County families.
Visit Allen Shepherd's Genealogy Web Page which contains the descendants of James F. Maggard and Elizabeth Bohanon.
Visit Ron (Willis) Black, Sr.'s "My Mountain Heritage Descendant Of The Cumberland" Web Page which contains many Letcher County families (ie. Adams, Boggs, Caudill, Fleming, Holbrook, Standifer, Sturgill, Wright and more). - (Archived Copy)
Visit Mark Richard Smith's Family Home Page which contains Descendant Reports for Stephen Caudill, Thomas Collins and Samuel Maggard. - (Archived Copy)
Visit Martha Short's Mountain Ties Web Page (features the people of the Central Appalachians).
Visit Minnie J. McFall FamilySearcher Web Page (contains information on the surnames Collier, Cook, Huneycutt, Profitt, etc.).
Visit Teresa Coffee's Family Tree which includes many Letcher County surnames (Caudill, Maggard, etc.).
Visit Larry Adams' Roberge Family Tree which includes many Letcher County surnames (database includes more than 1300 Adams's).
(Mail Lists for Some Common Letcher County Surnames)
The following are Mail Lists for some common Letcher County surnames hosted by RootsWeb. For more information about Mail Lists, click HERE. To subscribe to a Mail List, click on the surname of interest and type the word SUBSCRIBE in the message area. The Subject Line is ignored and may be left blank. To unsubscribe from a Mail List, type the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the message area. If you know of other Mail Lists pertaining to Letcher County surnames, please contact me so that I can add them here.
|NOTE: Although these surnames may be common in the Letcher County area, the Mail Lists are generally set up for surnames pertaining to any place and any time; therefore, the Mail Lists below may not necessarily "focus" on Letcher County families.|
Join the Letcher County Mail List which provides discussion relating to Letcher County, KY.
Check out Kyle Whitaker's Letcher County, KY, Genealogy Facebook Group (a Facebook account is required - just login after clicking on link).
Also, you may want to check out the SouthEastern Kentucky Mail List which provides discussion relating to several southeastern Kentucky counties including Letcher County.
|Letcher County Queries and Lookups|
(Helping Each Other Discover Our Roots)
View older Queries pertaining to Letcher County genealogy. These queries were posted on this site from May 1996 until October 2000. E-mail links may no longer be valid on some queries. Please post new queries on RootsWeb's Letcher County, KY, Message Board.
Post or view queries related to Kentucky Coal Miners (not limited to Letcher County).
Contact volunteers who are willing to Lookup information from their reference resources (Books, Publications, etc.). Also, volunteer to be a "looker-upper" for reference material that you may own.
Although not necessarily related to Letcher County, Rex Bertram provides free Genealogy Look-ups in various resources including an Every Name Index to the 1880 Federal Census for ALL states.
Check out the Letcher County Researchers List for a list of researchers willing to exchange their research data. Also, add your name to the Researchers List for Letcher County surnames that you are researching.
(Links to Neighboring Counties)
For information on neighboring counties visit the following KYGenWeb/VAGenWeb websites:
Letha Berry's Pike County, KYGenWeb page.
Suzanne Shephard's Floyd County, KYGenWeb page.
The Knott County, KYGenWeb page (needs adopting as of 4/17/2015).
Suzanne Shephard's Perry County, KYGenWeb page.
Vickie Sturgill's Harlan County, KYGenWeb page.
Golden Combs Ferguson's Breathitt County, KYGenWeb page.
Vickie Stevens' Wise County, VAGenWeb page.
Brett Compton's Dickenson County, VAGenWeb page.
Or, visit the following non-KYGenWeb neighboring county websites:
Gloria Marcum's Knott County Kentucky Kinfolk Web Page.
Brenda Daniels and Kristy Creech's Knott County, KY, Web Page.
The Perry County, KY, Stuff Page Web Page.
The Hazard & Perry County Kentucky: A Photographic History Web Page.
Holly Timm's Southeastern Kentucky Corner Web Page.
The Wise County Historical & Genealogical Society's Web Page.
|Other Helpful On-Line Information|
Kentucky Vital Records On-Line at the University of Kentucky (Death records 1911-1992, Marriage and Divorce records 1973-1993) .
Search the complete database of Kentucky Death Records from 1911 to 2000. Unlike the UK link above, there is no maximum limit to the number of results returned and the database is searchable by many more fields .
Search the complete database of Kentucky Marriage Records from 1973 to 2000. Unlike the UK link above, there is no maximum limit to the number of results returned and the database is searchable by many more fields .
Search the Interactive Social Security Death Index (SSDI) which contains over 64 million records and is updated monthly! (NOTE: This website is no longer free; it requires an Ancestry.com subscription. If you are not an Ancestry.com subscriber, use the link below to access the SSDI database for free.)
Visit Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet, your one stop genealogy site on the internet .
The Kentucky Biographies Project . If you know of any good sources for biographies for Letcher County, please contact me at the address below. The Kentucky Biographies Project was founded by Jeff Murphy. For Letcher County related biographies click HERE.
History of Kentucky County Formations .
List of Kentucky Historical Societies .
List of Kentucky Public Libraries .
List of Kentucky Newspapers . - (Archived List from September 30, 2003)
List of Kentucky Magazines, Periodicals, Journels, etc. - (Archived List from December 20, 2003)
List of County Clerks in Kentucky .
Melungeon research links:
Genealogical History of the Melungeon Families (includes Southwestern VA and Southeastern KY Families).
Cyndi's Melungeon List .
The American Local History Network: Melungeon Research .
Under One Sky (The Melungeon Information Exchange Newsletter) .
How to Obtain Kentucky Vital Records (ie. Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates).
Find out how you can obtain non-certified 'copies' of Kentucky Death Certificates (1911-1951) for about half the price of a certified copy. Visit the KYGenWeb's Kentucky Vital Statistics Records Web Page (scroll about half-way down the page).
U.S. Surname Distribution - This database contains the 50,000 most common surnames in the United States and will display a U.S. map showing the distribution of a user entered surname.
Find the LDS Family History Center nearest you.
What is an LDS Family History Center and how can it help me with my research?
Use the Kentucky Research Outline from the Family History Library to help you with your Kentucky research.
Learn more about the Kentucky GenWeb and US GenWeb Projects . If you are interested in adopting a county, please contact the appropriate State Coordinator. Sherri Hall Bradley is the Kentucky State Coordinator.
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