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Kentucky History

History of Catholic Families of Kentucky

The history of the migration of Catholic Families to Kentucky and beyond 

Some of our ancestors were among the English and Irish Catholics who settled in Maryland -- and eventually moved westward, to Kentucky, and then to Indiana and Missouri, principally.   Catholic Families of Kentucky addresses the history and genealogy of these Roman Catholic families who migrated to what was then the American frontier. 

Our Catholic Families of Kentucky project consists of two principal sources

1.  Stella Mulholland Bogner's "Kidwell Family notebook"

Around 30 years ago we came into possession of a wonderful notebook of Kidwell family genealogy reflecting research performed in the mid-1940s.  The notebook had been in our family, and finally came to us as the family historians. Stella Mulholland Bogner ("Aunt Stella"), of Daviess County, Indiana, was an avid Kidwell family historian and genealogist for decades, and this represents a work in progress of hers that she never completed.  Finally we concluded that it was time to act.  We're happy to present this important Kidwell family information that she collected.

Read more about the Kidwell Family Notebook.

(Also included for Kidwell family researchers is a compilation of appearances of the Kidwell surname in the 1850 Kentucky US Census.)

2.  The Hon. Ben. J. Webb's "The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky" 

[1884], by the Hon. Ben. J. Webb.  If you have family who were involved in the migration of Roman Catholics from Maryland to Kentucky and points north, south, and west, The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky will at a very minimum provide background information about the migration and the way Roman Catholics made their way from Maryland to Kentucky and onward, and how Roman Catholics were treated in America in the early years. 

Most people who descend from what has been called the "Catholic Diaspora" find that Catholicity in Kentucky brings them far more than that, however. 

See more information about this republication of the classic Catholicity in Kentucky.

The material formerly on the Kentucky Catholics CD-ROM is now available as a series of downloadable files.




While it may seem odd to recommend a research location for Catholic families in Kentucky that is located in another state, in this case, based on our own experience, we're glad to do so.  If you are researching Catholic families in Kentucky in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it's worth a trip to the St. Mary's County, Maryland Historical Society.  Many of the Catholic families that settled in Kentucky during this period came from St. Mary's County, and the collection of research materials at their historical society is top notch. 

On our 2009 visit, we also found the librarian in their research center to be extremely helpful and highly knowledgeable.  (She also referred us to a nearby crab restaurant that was excellent!).  They are located in Leonardtown, MD, and their website is http://www.stmaryshistory.org.

Please note that the hours of their research center are limited; a call ahead to ensure they are open is always a good idea.

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