FAQs

Does the Secretary of State's office maintain the official maps of county boundaries?
No. Although the Secretary of State's office files and certifies maps regarding Kentucky cities and the Kentucky-Illinois, Kentucky-Indiana and Kentucky-Ohio state boundaries, legislation establishing Kentucky's counties did not include a mandate for mapping each county as it was formed.

How are counties established in Kentucky?
Under Sections 63, 64 and 65 of the Kentucky Constitution, counties are created and abolished by Act of the Kentucky General Assembly.

How are Kentucky counties consolidated?
The process for consolidating counties is set forth in Chapter 67 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. 

How are county boundaries changed in Kentucky?
Since Kentucky's statehood in 1792, boundaries of Kentucky counties have been changed by Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly and pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statute 67.030. Researchers should also review Attorney General Opinion 95-35 with respect to county boundary changes.

Can the county seat of a county be moved?
Yes. The process for removing a county seat is defined in KRS 67.020.

Are all Kentucky counties included on the Secretary of State's website?
Yes. The Secretary of State's database includes the complete text of all Acts of the Virginia and Kentucky General Assemblies establishing all 120 Kentucky counties, as well as the text of legislative acts regarding Fincastle, Kentucky, Henrietta and Beckham Counties. The legislative act approved by the Provisional Government of Kentucky establishing Zollicoffer County during the Civil War is also included.

Are all county boundary changes included on the Secretary of State's website?
No. Additional changes to county boundaries are added as they are identified.

Where was Fincastle County, Virginia?
In 1772, the Virginia General Assembly created Fincastle County from western Botetourt County and territory extending from the New and Kanawha Rivers to the Mississippi River. The county included western Virginia and the present-day states of West Virginia and Kentucky.

Why isn't Fincastle County, Virginia, included on modern maps?
On December 7, 1776, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation dividing Fincastle County into three new counties: Kentucky, Washington and Montgomery. The legislation became effective on December 31, 1776, at which time Fincastle County ceased to exist.

Where was the county seat of Fincastle County, Virginia?
The county seat of Fincastle County was at Lead Minds, now Austinville, Virginia, about 140 miles east of the present-day boundary of Kentucky. (Source: Chinn, Col. George M., The History of Harrodsburg and the Great Settlement Area of Kentucky (1985).)

Where may the original land entries and survey books for Fincastle County be researched?
The original land entries and survey books for Fincastle County, Virginia, are found in the Montgomery County, Virginia, courthouse in Christiansburg. (Source: Hammon, Neal, Early Kentucky Land Records (1992).) For land patents in the Kentucky portion of Fincastle County, contact the Secretary of State's Land Office.

Where was the county seat of Kentucky County, Virginia?
The Act of the Virginia General Assembly establishing Kentucky County designated Harrodsburg as the county seat.

How long did Kentucky County exist?
Kentucky County was established on December 31, 1776, and it ceased to exist on November 1, 1780, when it was divided into three separate counties: Lincoln, Fayette and Jefferson.

Where were the county seats for Kentucky's three original counties?
The original county seat for Lincoln County was Harrodsburg; the original county seat for Fayette County was and remains Lexington; and the original county seat for Jefferson County was and remains Louisville.

Where are the records of the original three counties located?
County clerks maintain information on deeds, wills and marriages. Records involving court cases and judgments on the local level are maintained by county circuit court clerks. Information is also available from the Kentucky HIstory Center and the Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort.

Where was Henrietta County?
Henrietta County was located within the limits of Trigg and Marshall Counties in Western Kentucky.

Why is Henrietta County not included on lists of Kentucky Counties?
Although Henrietta County was proposed by an Act of the General Assembly on January 26, 1867, the actual establishment of the county was submitted to the qualified voters in the area for final approval, and the majority voted against the establishment of Henrietta County.

Where was the county seat of Henrietta County?
The legislative act regarding Henrietta County did not define a county seat. The location was to be decided by the voters during the election regarding the final establishment of the county.

Where was Beckham County?
Beckham County bordered Carter, Elliott, Rowan and Lewis counties in northeastern Kentucky.

Where was the county seat of Beckham County?
On February 19, 1904, the Kentucky General Assembly approved legislation establishing Beckham County, which established the county seat as Olive Hill.

Why isn't Beckham County included on lists of Kentucky Counties?
The Court of Appeals dissolved Beckham County on April 29, 1904.