How to Research your
Kentucky Foster Family


Although inhabited by Native Americans in prehistoric times, when explorers and settlers began entering Kentucky in the mid-1700s, there were no major Native American settlements in the region.  Instead, the country was used as hunting grounds by Shawnees from the north and Cherokees from the south. Much of what is now Kentucky was purchased from Native Americans in the treaties of Fort Stanwix (1768) and Sycamore Shoals (1775). Thereafter, Kentucky grew rapidly as the first settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains were founded, with settlers (primarily from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) entering the region either over land via Braddock Road and the Cumberland Gap, or by water down the Ohio River from points upstream, or up the Ohio River from the Mississippi.

The first part to be settled was the northern part, along the Ohio River, with Lexington and Washington being the first major settlements. A detailed account of this can be read in the memoirs of Spencer Records. Next, the southern part of the state was settled, via the Wilderness Trail, which went along the Great Appalachian Valley and across the Cumberland Gap, blazed by Daniel Boone, traditionally considered one of the founders of the state.  Shawnees north of the Ohio River, however, were unhappy about the settlement of Kentucky, and allied themselves with the British in the American Revolutionary War (17751783).  Kentucky was a battleground during the war; the Battle of Blue Licks, one of the last major battles of the Revolution, was fought in Kentucky.

After the American Revolution, the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County.  Eventually, the residents of Kentucky County petitioned for a separation from Virginia. Ten constitutional conventions were held in the Constitution Square Courthouse in Danville between 1784 and 1792. In 1790, Kentucky's delegates accepted Virginia's terms of separation, and a state constitution was drafted at the final convention in April 1792. On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state to be admitted to the union and Isaac Shelby, a military veteran from Virginia, was elected the first Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.[39]

Kentucky was a border state during the American Civil War.[40] Although frequently described as never having seceded, a group of Kentucky soldiers stationed at Russellville did pass an Ordinance of Secession under the moniker "Convention of the People of Kentucky" on November 20, 1861,[41] establishing a Confederate government of Kentucky with its capital in Bowling Green.[42] Though Kentucky was represented by the central star on the Confederate battle flag.[43] the legitimacy of the Russellville Convention may well be questioned. Only a year earlier, philosopher Karl Marx wrote in a letter to Friedrich Engels that the result of a vote deciding how Kentucky would be represented at a convention of the border states was "100,000 for the Union ticket, only a few thousand for secession."[44] Kentucky officially remained "neutral" throughout the war due to Union sympathies of many of the Commonwealth's citizens. Even today, however, Confederate Memorial Day is observed by some in Kentucky on Confederate President Jefferson Davis' birthday, June 3.

The Black Patch Tobacco Wars occurred from 1904 to 1909. The war was started because the farmers were selling their tobacco at low prices. The "Night Riders" were a group of people who terrorized the farmers who sold their tobacco at low prices. They would go by night and use fear and intimidation to terrorize the farmers. They would burn down fields, warehouses, and barns.

On January 30, 1900, Governor William Goebel, flanked by two bodyguards, was mortally wounded by an assailant while walking to the State Capitol in downtown Frankfort. Goebel was in the process of contesting the election of 1899, initially assumed to be won by William S. Taylor. For several months, J. C. W. Beckham, Goebel's running mate, and Taylor fought over who was the real governor until the Supreme Court of the United States decided in May that Beckham was the rightful governor. Taylor fled to Indiana and was later indicted as a co-conspirator in Goebel's assassination. Goebel remains the only governor of a U.S. state to have been assassinated while in office.Kentucky Polulation Density Map


(Ben's photo coming soon)

Research coordinator
Ben Foster,
DNA Group 7

Participant #166

St. Louis, Missouri

Ben is a descendant of Robert Foster

Photos from the Tennessee Portrait Project
of Robert Coleman Foster
and Ephraim Hubbard Foster

- - - - -

(Jerry's photo coming soon)

Research coordinator
Jerry Foster, e-mail
Foster DNA Group 7
Participant # 164
Liberty, Casey, Kentucky


Join our Foster DNA Group to see if you are a genetic cousin sharing a common ancestor.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %
1790 73,677  
1800 220,955 199.9%
1810 406,511 84%
1820 564,317 38.8%
1830 687,917 21.9%
1840 779,828 13.4%
1850 982,405 26%
1860 1,155,684 17.6%
1870 1,321,011 14.3%
1880 1,648,690 24.8%
1890 1,858,635 12.7%
1900 2,147,174 15.5%
1910 2,289,905 6.6%
1920 2,416,630 5.5%
1930 2,614,589 8.2%
1940 2,845,627 8.8%
1950 2,944,806 3.5%
1960 3,038,156 3.2%
1970 3,218,706 5.9%
1980 3,660,777 13.7%
1990 3,685,296 0.7%
2000 4,041,769 9.7%
Est. 2006 4,206,074 4.1%


Click on these research tabs, use this map as a general guide, document what you find,
 then share it with your family members.

Early Tax Records  Census  Marriage  Wills / Land  Resources

Kentucky County Map
Kentucky Topo Map
Click on Maps to ENLARGE

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