Find your history at your local library

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The genealogy room at the Marion County Public Library houses a plethora of records pertaining to local families

 By Jama Watts


Guest columnist

If you live in Marion County, then you probably know the history of the Catholic founders’ migration from St. Mary’s County, Maryland to this area. However, many folks forget the other group of settlers that came here from Virginia, primarily Presbyterian in their beliefs. The cemetery located on North Proctor Knott between Walnut and ML King is a remnant of that settlement.

The genealogy room located in the Marion County Public Library, in existence now for many decades, houses a plethora of records pertaining to local families, as well as those in other parts of Kentucky. One segment of the collection focuses just on Maryland records, and we are expanding the coverage of those who immigrated from Virginia. In addition to records regarding Marion and Washington Counties, we try our best to attain records from surrounding counties.

In the last few years, our genealogy room has grown, so much so that we’ve had to change our shelving in order to hold additional bound materials, as well as incoming rolls of microfilm. Visitors to our facility can utilize microfilm containing death certificates from 1911-1961, census records, marriage bonds, deeds, tax records, wills and more. We also have Marion, Washington and Nelson County newspapers dating back to the mid-1800s on microfilm. 

What can’t be found through microfilm or bound materials can possibly be found through our extensive family files. Information provided by other researchers, as well as previous research requests to the library, has been deposited in our files over the years. Recently, those copies have been placed into acid-free folders in an effort to maintain the records for years to come.

Many historical maps of Lebanon, Marion County and Kentucky can also be found in the new stacking files located just above the family files. These maps have been located within the library for years, but are now much more accessible for researchers wanting to see how the region has changed. Included in these maps are the incredibly detailed Sanborn maps from 1908, 1911, and 1915.

Of course, there’s always the library’s Ancestry Library Edition account, granting access to world-wide information, including census, marriage, birth, death, and draft records, just to name a few. Other online databases can be accessed via these PCs, including FindAGrave.com and FamilySearch.org.

The latest genealogy project for MCPL is Marion Memories, a photo database currently housing almost 500 images. These images have been found in our collection, as well as donated by generous researchers. The database is an ongoing project, always growing and expanding. As the Reference and Genealogy Librarian, I welcome you to check it out and donate your images. The database can be found by visiting the library’s website, www.marioncopublic.org, clicking on “Genealogy” and following the link to “Marion Memories.” 

If you have information on your family history and would like to share it with others, please feel free to donate those resources to our facility. We welcome donations of books, copies of family trees, photographs and any other information pertinent to the history of Marion County and its inhabitants. You may drop off donations at the library or mail it to Marion County Public Library, attn: Genealogy, 201 East Main Street, Lebanon, Ky 40033 or email it to me at jama.watts@marioncopublic.org. 

As always, the other librarians at MCPL and I are here to help you with your genealogy needs! 

Editor’s note: Jama Watts is the genealogist at the Marion County Public Library.