Genealogy Research

Our office does not conduct research. If there is a specific document you are looking for we will be glad to assist you. See copy request section.

The Fayette County Clerk's Office has a variety of documents that may be useful to a genealogist.

  • Marriage Records (1794-present)
  • Wills (1794-present )
  • Mortgages (1794-present)
  • Plats (1880-present)
  • Old surveys (late 1700's to 1800)
  • Orders (1794-present)
  • Manumission & Emancipation Documents (1794-1865)
  • Deeds of Restriction (1794-present)
  • Easements (1794-present)
  • Corporate Records (1794-present)
  • Burnt Records (1794-1803)
  • Digital copy of Commissioner's Certificates & Land Entry Book (1779-1784)

Fayette County was created on June 30, 1780. The Virginia legislature divided Kentucky County, Virginia into the 3 original counties of Jefferson, Lincoln and Fayette. Fayette County is named for Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer who was significant in the American Revolution. Lexington was settled in April 1779 and became the county seat May 5, 1782. Lexington was named by Captain Robert Patterson after the battle that started the American Revolution.

On December 31, 1776 the Virginia Assembly created Kentucky County, Virginia. In Harrodsburg, Kentucky on September 2, 1777, the first Court of Quarter Sessions convened. It was composed of five judges, John Todd, John Floyd, Benjamin Logan, John Bowman and Richard Callaway. Levi Todd was named clerk.

In 1780, when Fayette County, Virginia was created, Levi Todd was again named clerk.

When Kentucky became a state in 1792, Levi Todd was appointed as the first Fayette County Clerk. Todd recorded deeds, mortgages, wills, marriage records and other legal documents for Fayette County.

Levi Todd stored the records for Fayette County in his office on his Ellerslie Estate. The office was a one story building located on Richmond Road. On January 31, 1803 Todd's office was destroyed by fire. Most of the records stored were destroyed in the fire. A few documents were preserved. Under an act of the Kentucky Legislature, those documents were copied into eight volumes and are filed as "Burnt Records" in the Fayette County Clerk's Office. Many citizens brought deeds and other documents to the Clerk's Office to be re-recorded.

Federal transfer tax stamps were sold at a rate of $1.10 per $1000 for cash exchanged on the transaction. The tax stamps were only for cash exchanged. If there was a mortgage on the property one would have to add the dollar amont of the mortgage to the dollar amount from the conversion of the tax stamps to get the total amount. These stamps were sold at post offices and would be on the deed when presented for recording. The Federal transfer tax stamps were collected by the federal government until March 26, 1968. The state government started collecting the tax the next day.

Marriage records are available in many forms. There are marriage bonds, minister's returns, parental consents and marriage licenses. There is also a "Declaration of Marriage" book with marriage declarations of former slaves.

There are many legendary Americans that have Fayette County connections. Henry Clay moved to Lexington in 1797. It was here he became a successful lawyer. He was a US Senator under several presidents. His will is filed in the Fayette County Clerk's Office. Mary Todd Lincoln was born in Lexington. Mary Todd Lincoln was the wife of the sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. Her grandfather was Levi Todd, the first Fayette County Clerk. Daniel Boone, the great American frontiersman, was a deputy surveyor for Fayette County. There are surveys by Daniel Boone on record in the Fayette County Clerk's Office. John C. Breckinridge lived in Lexington and was a state legislator, US Representative, US Senator, major general and US vice-president.

The Fayette County Clerk's Office has obtained a digital copy of the original Commissioner's Certificate book from 1779-1780. The commissioners were appointed on June 26, 1779 under an act of the Virginia legislature. William Fleming, Edmond Lyne and John Barbour were authorized to initially serve for eight months, but that time was extended until April 26, 1780. The first Land Court took place at St. Asaph's or Logan's Fort on October 13, 1779. The act was for adjusting and settling the title of claimers to unpatented lands under the present and former government, previous to the establishment of the commonwealth's land office. Over the course of their term the commissioners approved 1328 claims which totaled 1,334,050 acres of land. The Land Entry book is from 1783-1784. It also contains early land entries or title claims.