Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Pease Abstracts


Whether you can make it to the Harrison County Court Clerk's office in Cynthiana or not, one resource which is invaluable to the out-of-town or in-county genealogist is a multi-volume series entitled Abstracted Court Records of Grant, Harrison, Pendleton Counties Kentucky, more commonly known as the "Pease Abstracts."

This series of records abstracts (wills, minute books, court cases, marriage bonds and licenses, and tax records) was compiled by a Colorado genealogist by the name of Janet K. Pease beginning in the 1980s.  For many years the volumes were only offered and sold under the auspices of the Grant County Historical Society, but now they are easily available to anyone with an internet connection.  These volumes, accessed through the Family History Library's website, bring the courthouse to you.


The indexes for these abstracted record books are every-name indexes to the contents of the original court records.  The names of brides and grooms, names of the deceased who left wills and/or property, taxpayers and others are the typical subjects of court records indexes.  The content and indexes of the Pease abstracts include people whose names are not typically the subjects of court records indexes such as bondsmen, witnesses, ministers, administrators, and the like.

So you may not only find your research subject listed as a bride or groom, you may also find where they were witnesses to another wedding or perhaps acted as a bondsman, maybe even as a minister.  Maybe he/she didn't write a will, but you may find that they were involved in the probate of a will.  It may help you to possibly add previously unknown family members or maybe simply prove the presence or residence of a person at a given time.  Many such outcomes are possible.

Why should the Harrison County genealogist be interested in this set?  Well, The series of abstracted county court records not only includes sections devoted to Grant County court records, but to those of Harrison and Pendleton Counties as well (You can visit my Kentucky Room page at HarrisonCountyKy.US to view tables describing the contents of each volume).


The Harrison County Court Clerk's office has maintained a set in their offices at 111 South Main in Cynthiana and these abstracted records can be used during any visit to supplement the court clerk's own records indexes.

The multi-volume set is available in several regional county libraries, including the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library, the Pendleton County Public Library in Falmouth, Ky., and the Grant County Public Library in Williamstown, Ky.  Larger regional libraries usually have a few volumes, but not necessarily the complete set.

Since these texts were first written and posted to HarrisonCountyKY.US, it has been discovered that the Family History Library has a catalog entry for volumes 1 thru 15 with links to digitized files of each.  All are now available for download as PDF-formatted documents.

Check other online library catalogs as well as national databases for research facilities that may have them among their stacks or perhaps offer them in some form via interlibrary loan (Unlikely to happen with genealogy books, but one never knows).

These volumes were microfilmed years before they were digitized are available through local Family History Centers of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.  Please click on the following links to find out more about using this resource through a local Family History Center:

The following information needs to be updated, but according to the last Grant County Historical Society newsletter I reviewed, about five years ago,, these books were among their then-current offerings, and noted that all but one (Volume 15 (XV)) of these books were out of print, but that they could still be special ordered at $50.00 per volume (Add $3.50 for shipping and $3.00 tax for Kentucky residents).  At the time volume 15 (XV) was still available in hardback for $35.00 (Add $3.00 for shipping and $2.10 tax for Kentucky residents).  Contact the Grant County Historical Society, P.O. Box 33, Mason, Kentucky 41054-9998 to order or for the most recent information.

It looks like these guys found something ...
what will you find in the Pease abstracts?

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