Kentucky's Doomsday Book
The original “Domesday Book,” completed in 1086 for William the Conqueror, identified England’s landowners and land locations for tax purposes. Although the name has a variant spelling, Kentucky’s “Doomsday Book” is a journal created by Land Commissioners appointed to hear settlers’ claims in the Kentucky District (Kentucky County) Virginia. (See “Virginia Land Law A” at http://www.sos.ky.gov/land/reference/legislation/vakypatents/landlawa.htm.)
The commissioners heard testimony presented by applicants, their witnesses and/or agents, as they determined eligibility for certificates of settlement and various preemption warrants. For the convenience of the settlers, the Land Commission traveled to various sites in Kentucky County to hear and adjudge the claims. Sites included: St. Asaph (aka Logan’s Fort), Harrodsburg, Louisville (aka Falls of the Ohio), Boonesborough (aka Boonesboro), and Bryant’s Station (near Lexington). The first land entry in the Doomsday Book was recorded at St. Asaph on October 14, 1779; the last land entry was recorded at Harrodsburg on February 26, 1780.
The Doomsday Book consists of 469 pages including certifications. The 41-page index is numbered separately and is in mixed alphabetical order. There is no searchable database at this time. Commissioners’ certificates and links to patents authorized by certificates of settlement and preemption warrants are also available on this channel of the Kentucky Land Office website.
To view Kentucky’s Doomsday Book, click here.