The Bullitt County History Museum

Finding Your Family History
Where to Start
by Betty R. Darnell

This is one in a series of researching tips taken from presentations by Betty R. Darnell, a noted local historian and genealogist. These notes are copyrighted by her.

Start with yourself!

Print your full name, your date and place of birth, and the names of your parents. There are a few "rules" - Names - always record the full name, not just initials or nicknames; record women under their maiden names.

Dates - use the letter abbreviation for the month, not all numbers, to avoid confusion; write the full year, for example, 2007, not just 07.

Places - record the name of the county, not just the town - the county is where most of the records are.

Start organizing at the beginning.

Record your information on plain paper or on special forms. Many of these forms are available on the Internet, free downloads. Search on "Genealogy free forms." Remember the "rules" for recording.

Keep your records in a binder, or in file folders. Add copies of documents and photographs as you obtain them.

Now what?

Talk with your relatives - even younger cousins may have heard stories that you didn't hear.

Check your local library - many have genealogy (family history) sections. Ridgway Library in Shepherdsville has an excellent genealogy section. Be sure to look at the family files - there may be something there on your family. There will also be a selection of how-to books. The Bullitt County History Museum Library, upstairs at the front entrance of the courthouse, also has an excellent collection of family files and other information.

Check the Internet. Search on your surname and family, e.g. Darnell family. Be careful! Much of the information has no documentation (proof); some information is not correct. Use what you find as clues.

There are many computer programs available; PersonalAncestralFile (PAF) is available for a free download, at Check genealogy and computer magazines for information.

Join! Many communities have local societies; information is shared at meetings on new resources and how-to suggestions. Your local library will have information on the local genealogical society. Visitors are always welcome at meetings.

Area Societies - visitors are always welcome!

Ancestral Trails, PO Box 573, Vine Grove KY 40175. Usual meetings: 7 p.m., 1st Friday, Hardin County Public Library, Elizabethtown. (There may be changes.) Link:

Bullitt County Genealogical Society, PO Box 960, Shepherdsville KY 40165. Meetings: 10 a.m., 3rd Saturday (except January), Ridgway Public Library, Shepherdsville. Ridgway Library site:; click on genealogy; or check out the Bullitt County History Museum, in the Bullitt County Courthouse, Shepherdsville.

Louisville Genealogical Society, PO Box 5164, Louisville KY 40255. Meetings: 1 p.m., 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), 1000 Hurstbourne Parkway, Louisville (just off I-64). Link:

Nelson County Genealogical Roundtable, PO Box 409, Bardstown KY 40004. Meetings: 10 a.m., 1st Tuesday, Nelson County Public Library, Bardstown. Link:

Spencer County Historical and Genealogical Society, PO 266, Taylorsville KY 40071. Meetings: 4th Monday (except December), Spencer County Public Library, Taylorsville.

Suggested Internet sites Click on your state, then your county. Lots of information submitted by volunteers: cemeteries, county records, photos Several databases of information submitted by researchers; lots of how-to information.

Social Security Death Index. Index of reported deaths of Social Security recipients. Indexes of federal censuses; many historical books; other databases. Free access from many libraries (including Bullitt County Libraries), or from home with your library card number. Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort. Search their library catalog; several online databases.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 16 Mar 2021 . Page URL: