Friday, January 13, 2017

I Need Help with My Harrison County Genealogy. Who Can I Call? Who Can I Hire?


After people visit my site at www.HarrisonCountyKy.US they often have questions.  It isn't because there is a lack of resources at the site.  Usually it is because even more or more specific information is needed.

Where do I go for a little in-person help?  Is there anyone who lives in the area and who is familiar with the local research resources (library, courthouse, and/or museum) who could undertake a research project for me?  Who can I hire?  These are a few of the questions I receive.

A former chairman of the board of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library once saw to it that the library's Kentucky Room was well-supplied with research materials.  He was an avid genealogist himself.  The Christine Burgan Kentucky Room is, indeed, well-stocked, but the library has historically made few efforts to help the distant genealogist.

And while there are many in the county who are actively researching their family tree, I can't say that I have known any who have have offered themselves up for part-time volunteer or full-time professional research.

Fortunately, there are alternatives.


I had not taken up Facebooking until just recently, but I see where there are quite a few options at Facebook that the Harrison County genealogist can pursue.  There are several Facebook groups which focus on either Berry ("Berry, Ky.--Past and Present" (Closed)) or Cynthiana ("Take Me Home, to Cynthiana" (Public)) in Harrison County, or on the county as a whole ("Harrison County, Ky. History and Genealogy" (Closed)).  While two of them are "closed" groups, both have been very open to accepting requests to join, in my experience.

Even more groups with a focus on Kentucky genealogy and local history can be found by checking out the list at the Kentucky History & Genealogy Network.

So if you haven't already, sign up for a Facebook account and join a group. The groups each have a membership in the hundreds with many knowledgeable about local history and genealogy, and so following a Facebook group might be the best route to take.  By some chance, someone might either know a genealogist who could take on your project or even know the answer to your query.  Maybe, and even better yet, you might find a cousin who is a genealogist like yourself.

Three other routes to getting a genealogical query answered lead to the


One road to take is to the Harrison County Historical Society.  No member of the society has made themselves available for hire to do genealogical research that I am aware of, and just about all that the historical society has to provide along these lines has been given to the local library and to the museum.

The society does publish a monthly newsletter, the Harrison Heritage News, which can be helpful in that it does accept and publish genealogical queries.  The newsletter doesn't generally publish genealogies or genealogical charts.  Write up a query based on the information you have on your research subjects and submit it to the editor.  He is William A. "Bill" Penn and he can be reached at


I have noticed of late that the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library has a contact page for people who have questions about genealogy, but it appears to intended for people who live locally and who need assistance.  You might want to follow the path to the information which they have posted and see if anyone at the library can be of any assistance.  Otherwise, only a personal visit will do.


If you can make it to Cynthiana on a weekend, then you might want to give the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum a visit.  They are open most Fridays and Saturdays, and many of the most knowledgeable about local history and genealogy staff the museum (A majority are members of the historical society).  It may be that one of the museum volunteers can point you in the right direction.  Maybe you will find something in the exhibits about your research subjects.  However, do be aware that while you may find something about the skeleton in your closet, all the bodies are buried in the cemetery!

This is about as good a map as I can provide in locating an "in person" answer to any genealogical or local history query.  Of course, one should always exhaust all the many possibilities that the internet offers, whether it be thru a general search at Google or searching a specialized site like,, or HarrisonCountyKy.US.

Sometimes genealogy research is like searching for a needle in a haystack, but you must first ask yourself if you are searching the right haystack.  If your research has led you to Harrison County, then maybe one of options above will help you to get your answers all sewn up!

There's a needle in there somewhere ... or is there?

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