The Bullitt County History Museum

Museum Newsletter - 29 May 2006

Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
May 29, 2006 (Volume 2, Number 8)

Dear Friends,

Museum Activity.

>>Kentucky Death Certificate Microfilm is in!!

It's been in the works for some time, but thanks to Barbara Bailey's efforts, we now have the microfilmed death certificates for Kentucky. This is a major purchase by the museum. The final exact cost is still being calculated as we check and count the hundreds of rolls of film (they fill a 24" by 28" by 48" cabinet), but it is expected to be right at four thousand dollars. The collection, covering the years 1911 through 1955, will be a significant help researching family and community history. I am personally surprised at how much information can be gleaned from the certificates.

The museum purchased a new microfilm reader/printer nearly a year ago, so we are looking very good in this respect.

The museum research room has some miscellaneous microfilm of will books, deed books, court orders, etc. from as far back as the late 1700's, but this is our first really significant full collection of film. Because of personal security laws, death certificates are not easily available to the general public until thirty years after the death, hence the 1955 limit to the collection, but it is planned to add each year as they become available. Obtaining copies of death certificates can normally be time consuming, inconvenient, and expensive, so having the collection right at our fingertips at the museum is expected to be a real help to researchers.

>>Obituary Card File Collection

Doris Owen and others have collected local newspaper obituaries since the 1980's. This collection, in the form of hundreds of alphabetized card files, is now available at the Bullitt County History Museum research room. Barbara Bailey is working to keep up the collection.

>>Museum booth at Mt. Washington May 12 & 13.

It was a windy Friday but a beautiful Saturday morning as the museum hosted another history information booth at the Mt. Washington festival. We sold a couple of books, but the real purpose of the booth is to inform visitors about our county's history, and to help people know about our museum. Friday winds threatened to blow our tent away so we gave up that day, and Saturday afternoon threatened rain storms so we had to close early, but we had a large and interested crowd Saturday morning and got to watch a great parade.

We still get a lot of people who do not know about our museum, but more and more people come up to us a say things like, "Yeah! Thank you for having the museum. I've seen it and its great!"

Thanks to Charlie Long, Jim Cash, and Doris Owen for helping set up and staff the booth.

>>We have installed a wonderful wall photo/map of Bullitt County.

The new 12 foot by 12 foot wall-mounted aerial photo map of Bullitt County and its surround is up, and it's quite impressive. Stand back and get a view from Louisville International Airport to the North, West Point to the West, Mt. Washington and Bardstown to the East, Lebanon Junction to the South, and everything in between. Step up close and see every individual house and feature. It's going to be a real asset in so many ways of understanding.

New Donations:

>>Leslie's Official History of the Spanish-American War

Randy Matlow brought us this old book for our archives. It is quite old and its pages brittle and in poor shape, so I am hesitant to look through it very much. Randy was told that it contains information related to Bullitt County, so I would like to preserve at least that information. This war, fought near the time of the Civil War, is sometimes forgotten, but was a major factor in our country's development. If you know what this book might hold about Bullitt County, please let me know.

>> Cash Family History

Friend Jimmy Cash has donated a copy of his 80-page genealogical work on the Cash family. The book is indexed with both last and first names. It will be a nice addition to our genealogical family histories.

Donation of items sought for the museum

>>I am seeking a copy of a small booklet titled "Steamboat Days on the Salt River", by Richard A. Biggs, printed in 1978 by McDowell Publications.


>> Ancestral Trails Book Fair in E-Town June 10.

This book fair is a quality genealogical and historical fair. The museum and the Bullitt Genealogical Society will be there with a booth. If you can help set up, take down, or staff the booth, please let me know.

>>KHQS Annual Quilt Show June 15-17.

Quilt show is 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Baer Fabrics, 515 E. Market in Louisville. Admission and parking is free. Call 502-458-0993 or contact for information. These nice ladies and I have spoken about having a quilt show at the museum some time.

>> Sue Mundy film.

There are several local connections to the Civil War myth/soldier Sue Mundy. The story goes that in 1864 the editor of the Louisville Journal newspaper created a story about a woman named Sue Mundy who led a band of Confederate guerilla fighters. The news story was manufactured, but it grew into legend and caused the Union Army to make her capture a priority. Eventually a young man was arrested, accused of being the real Sue Mundy, and hanged.

Though there are several versions of the story, there is now a video, "The Confederate She Devil", on the subject. Check out for more information.

For Your Information...

>>World History Sources offers guides to using historical research sources such as newspapers, maps, official documents, and personal accounts. It's from George Mason University Center for History and New Media.

>>The aerial photo map on display at our museum is from the Kentucky Department of Geographic Information. Much such information can be seen and obtained through their web site at

>>Another great source of map and aerial information can be found at


I was perusing the new death certificate microfilms the other day while organizing the collection. It can be a bit depressing, as you might imagine, but it was also educational. Just looking over the labels on the rolls of film can be enlightening. For one thing, I realized how many Kentuckians pass away each year. Most years contain some ten rolls of film recording an average of about 32,000 (that's thirty-two THOUSAND) deaths, just in Kentucky.

Then I noticed some years had very large differences in the numbers.

1918, for example, had a huge jump from the average 32,000 up to 43,029...more than ten thousand additional deaths in one year! That was the year of a disastrous pandemic of influenza throughout the country, caused partly by the mass movement of people around the country and world during World War I. In Bullitt County, that year, cemeteries such as the now newly-restored Old Shepherdsville Graveyard, were having to perform mass burials because of all the dead.

I was surprised to notice that in the World War II years that deaths seemed to actually go down. I learned that at that time, those who died in the military were not recorded in the usual way, as a Kentucky death. What the low number really meant was that that many and more of our state sons and daughters were dying overseas instead of at home.

It once again struck me, on this Memorial Day, of the terrible sacrifice so many in the military have made over the years...and how fortunate I am because of that sacrifice.

Remember our soldiers this day and every day, and be good to them.

God be with them all.

Thank you for being a Friend of Bullitt County History.

David Strange
Bullitt County History Museum
Executive Director
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address:

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: 12 Sep 2020 . Page URL: