Preserve, Enrich, Inspire


Home/Local History

About Local History

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Local History has created 34 blog entries.

Expanded Genealogy Research Assistance Available!

We are available to help you with your family history or local property research. Expanded Local History and Genealogy Research Assistance Available! A lot of us are spending time at home researching our distant relatives or thinking about the history of our neighborhoods or houses. In order to help patrons who may not be able to visit the Library, the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Covington branch is offering more options for patrons to connect with staff to get help with their research needs. Starting Monday, July 6, 2020 patrons can schedule a one-hour appointment via a phone call or online through a virtual meeting. Appointments are available Monday - Friday between 10 AM and 4 PM. Invitations for virtual meetings will be sent via email. Patrons can still request an in-person one-hour appointment as well. To schedule an appointment, please call the Local History and Genealogy Department at (859) 962-4070. To get the most out of your appointment, be sure to have a specific research question in mind, and bring or prepare any materials you may have pertaining to the question, so that we can best utilize the appointment time. Common appointment topics include: introduction to genealogy, research on a specific ancestor, assistance with online genealogy databases, or the basics of property research.  

By |June 30th, 2020|Categories: Featured Post|0 Comments

Preserving Your Pandemic Memories: Journaling, Scrapbooking, and Time-Capsules

For many of us, our idea of normal has changed drastically in the last 30 days (and continues to change daily!), and we’ve settled into new routines. We’re changing our habits: staying home, eating out less, cooking more, taking more walks, navigating schooling at home - the list goes on. Eventually, things may return to exactly the way they used to be, and we’ll switch up our routines once more. Many years down the road, people will ask us what it was like to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, just like we’ve asked our ancestors what it was like to live through the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.  That said, now is the perfect time to consider preserving some of the memories we’ve made and new routines we’ve fallen into. It may not seem important now, but we are making history! Imagine if your grandparents or great-grandparents had kept a diary or scrapbook for the Spanish Influenza Pandemic and passed it down through the generations - you would have a firsthand account of someone who lived through a major historical event! That, my friends, is gold to historians.  There are so many ways to document your journey: a daily journal, a scrapbook of photos and clippings, or folding all of these items and more into a time capsule!  Journaling Journaling is a great way to keep track of little, day to day details, and big happenings alike, that you may not remember with clarity years down the road. Sometimes it’s the small details that make history so very interesting to go back and read into! A daily journal entry can be as long or short as you like it to be. Consider jottings down things [...]

By |April 25th, 2020|Categories: Featured Post|Comments Off on Preserving Your Pandemic Memories: Journaling, Scrapbooking, and Time-Capsules

New Collections in the Local History and Genealogy Department

With the start of a new year, the Local History and Genealogy department has updated our GenKY databases with several new collections, along with new accessions to our special collections and archival holdings. New collections to GenKY are the Droege Real Estate Records and the Simon Kentonian, the school newsletter of Simon Kenton High School. The Droege Real Estate Records are comprised of materials from William Droege Sander, owner of the Bill Sander Construction company. The two properties, both of which are located on Greenup Street, are still standing. Mortgages, bills, correspondence, and other printed materials are featured in the collection. The Simon Kentonian newsletter collection covers the student activities of Simon Kenton High School between the years of 1970 to 1972. The newsletters are a great look inside to the popular culture, attitudes, and day to day life of students during that time. The department has also acquired several new archival collections. The Senior Services of Northern Kentucky Records Collection (KCPL 58) is comprised of photographs, slides, scrapbooks, videotapes and more pertaining to the history of the organization which was started in 1962 by volunteers from the United Way and Trinity Church. The group offered programs, nutrition, transportation, and a variety of other services to seniors in the northern Kentucky area. The group ended operations in 2018. The Alice Taylor Hoffman (1908-1992) collection (KCPL 54) consists of materials created while Ms. Hoffman was living in Ft. Thomas, KY and includes a scrapbook of pictures, documents and her journal from 1935-36 written about a Caribbean cruise she attended with her mother. From Alice Taylor Hoffman scrapbook   The department will also be digitizing two collections on temporary loan, the Robert McGrane collection and [...]

By |January 30th, 2020|Categories: Featured Post, KCPL|Comments Off on New Collections in the Local History and Genealogy Department

New Year, New Resolution! Getting Started with your Genealogy

Search for family members in our Faces and Places photograph database! If you’ve gotten away from your genealogy for a while or if the holiday gatherings this season have sparked your interest in your family’s history, look no further. KCPL has a dedicated Local History & Genealogy Department and staff ready to assist you with your goal of discovering your family’s story. The Local History & Genealogy Department is located on the second floor of our Covington branch at 502 Scott Boulevard in Covington, Kentucky. Our department is full of all kinds of resources that can help you to discover your family history: from books to microfilm, to maps and vertical files, and let’s not forget online databases! First things first: where to start? We recommend starting to write down what you already know about your family. Start with a basic family tree (we like this one via Mid-Continent Public Library’s Midwest Genealogy Center) and fill out what you know starting with yourself. Start talking with your relatives – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins - to fill in as many details as you can. Ask for names (don't forget to include maiden names and nicknames), dates (birth, marriage, and death), and places where they lived or may have come from. Check out our blog on ice-breaker questions here. Once you’ve done that, look for any gaps you might have in your tree – that’s a good place to start! Start looking for basic information in birth indexes, death records, and censuses, which often give you clues as to parentage (thus helping you take your tree back a generation!). We like starting our searches online because many of these records are being digitized [...]

November is National Veteran and Military Families Month!

This month in the Local History & Genealogy Department, it’s all about veterans: we want to help you talk to the veterans in your life, preserve their memories, commemorate them, and research your ancestors’ involvement in conflicts past. We’ll start an important fact: WWII and Korean War veterans are passing away in great numbers each year, and many take with them all the memories and stories of their experiences. Here at the library, we are hoping to preserve as many of those memories as we can by offering oral history interviews to veterans. We’ll setup a date and time, you’ll turn in a pre-interview questionnaire so that we can tailor our questions to your experience, and we record the interview for posterity (you get a copy to keep, too!). Veterans are encouraged to bring mementos such as medals, photographs, newspaper clippings, etc. to their interview. If you or a relative are interested, please contact us at (859) 962-4070 with questions and to setup an appointment. Interested in conducting your very own interview with the veterans in your life? Check out The Oral History Workshop: Collect and Celebrate the Life Stories of Your Family and Friends or Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide for information on how to get started. These books will also give you tons of ideas on what kinds of questions to ask (including some interesting and non-traditional questions), and tips for a successful interview. We also have Oral History Kits that include a digital voice recorder so you can do an interview in the comfort of your home. Thinking of a way to commemorate your favorite veteran, or make a special gift for a loved one? Visit one our Makerspaces and make [...]

By |November 11th, 2019|Categories: Featured Post, History, KCPL, Local History and Genealogy|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on November is National Veteran and Military Families Month!

5 Tips for Researching Your African-American Ancestry

Photograph of the congregation at First Colored Baptist Church in Covington. Courtesy of the collection of Ted Harris and available online at Kenton County Public Library's Faces and Places Historic Northern Kentucky Photograph Database. February is Black History Month, and a good time to focus on researching your African-American ancestry. We've put together a list of 5 tips to help you get started researching your African-American family history. Talk to living family members and write down what you know. Ask for names, birth and death dates, burial locations, obituaries, photographs or anything else that may help you with your research. There are lots of free genealogy forms online, like family charts and group sheets. Visit CyndisList, Ancestry, and Mid-Continent Public Library for free, downloadable charts and group sheets. Visit any branch of the Kenton County Public Library and use our databases! Popular genealogy databases include: (free inside any branch of the Kenton County Public Library),, and the Chicago Defender (African-American newspaper with coverage from 1909-1975). Start with the 1940 United States Census and work your way back. Follow your direct ancestors through the U.S. censuses. If you have trouble finding ancestors in censuses, follow their siblings – you might find a connection to the next generation more easily by searching for their siblings. Getting past the 1870 & 1860 censuses can be difficult, but looking at the families who lived around your ancestors may provide you with clues. Former slaves often did not move far away after emancipation. If you think your ancestors were slaves, look at the white families living nearby your ancestors in the 1870 census. Then, look at those families in the 1860 census to learn if they were slave-holders. You [...]

By |February 6th, 2019|Categories: Featured Post, KCPL, Local History and Genealogy|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on 5 Tips for Researching Your African-American Ancestry

Genealogy Ice Breaker Questions for Holiday Family Gatherings

The holidays are a great time to discuss family history! Photograph courtesy of Faces and Places! Family gatherings over the holidays are a great time to talk about family history. We've crafted a list of fun genealogy based ice-breakers to get the discussion started at your next family gathering. What was the fastest mode of transportation when you were born? What was your mom, dad, grandparents favorite dessert? Do you have the recipe? Why do you think they liked it? What school subject was your favorite and why? How did you spend your summer vacations when you were growing up? Who in the family do you think you look like and why? Where and when did you first go to see a movie? Do you remember what was playing? Who went with you? What sports were important to your family? What sports were your siblings better or worse at? Why did you marry your spouse? What do you remember about your great grandparents? How did you come to choose the names of your children? Do you “remember when Joe got his head stuck in the railing and..."? Ask about a funny family story or memory! What was the biggest news story during your life? We'd love to hear how your relatives answered these questions! You can comment on our blog, or post to any of our social media accounts!

By |December 19th, 2018|Categories: blog, Featured Post, KCPL|Comments Off on Genealogy Ice Breaker Questions for Holiday Family Gatherings

Family Oral History — The Power of Stories, Rituals and Resilience

Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year we spend a lot of time thinking about family, planning get-togethers, cooking and buying gifts – all for the ones we love best. As Americans we tend to focus on the future and not the past. But this is a great time of year to slow down and remember -- and learn from -- those we love. There’s research that shows that children who know their family’s history – both the happy times and the challenging ones – are more resilient, confident and happy than children who don’t (see The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler). He calls it a “…strong intergenerational self. They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.” Mr. and Mrs. Gisellie Baker with (left to right) Cindy (2), Priscilla (3), Paul J. (2), Richard (2), Anthony (5). Photograph Courtesy of Faces and Places.            “The most healthful narrative … is the oscillating family narrative. ‘Dear, let me tell you we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was the pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened we always stuck together as a family.’” --Bruce Feiler   Should you decide to take part in a Family Oral History, here’s a few things to consider:   Keep others involved Starting a family oral history project takes a bit of preparation and time. There’s a lot of things you need to think about so take some time to put together a plan. But you can do [...]

By |December 5th, 2018|Categories: blog, Featured Post, History, KCPL, Local History and Genealogy|Tags: , |Comments Off on Family Oral History — The Power of Stories, Rituals and Resilience

Five Ways to Learn Your Family History

Holiday gatherings are a great source of family fun. They can also be a great source of family information to help you learn more about your history. Here are five things you should do at your next family gathering so those family memories last forever: Think about what you want to learn. Where did grandma meet grandpa? Where was great-great cousin Lou born? What war did great uncle Joe serve in? Make a list of questions ahead of time and be sure to ask: birthplace, names of parents and siblings, where they lived, churches attended, burial locations, marriages, occupations, military service, public service, schools attended, etc. Not only will you get valuable information, you’re sure to hear some entertaining stories! Create a list of family members. Sit down with some of the older members in your family and ask them to list names of their brothers, sisters, grandparents and so on as far back as they can remember. Make sure to write down all the names and details like place of birth if possible. Even better, use your smartphone or tablet to record members of your family talking about it. Share and share alike. You may find that someone else in your family is working on your genealogy as well. Share what you’ve learned. Genealogy is a great way to connect with others and sharing family data, research tips, and resources can go a long way in making contacts and/or finding those missing pieces. If you have extended and far away family, use social media to let them know what you’re doing and ask if they have anything to add. Create a Facebook group where you post family history and invite your family to join. [...]

By |November 21st, 2018|Categories: blog, Featured Post|Comments Off on Five Ways to Learn Your Family History

Expanded Online Access to the Kentucky Post Available

The Kenton County Public Library is proud to offer for a limited time expanded coverage of the Kentucky Post. The new  database offered through NewsBank is keyword searchable and includes digitized images of the paper between 1895-1962. The database is available for free from inside any branch of the Kenton County Public Library system. Also, the database can be accessed from home for free with your Kenton County Public Library card. To access the Kentucky Post database follow these instructions: Visit: Click on Research Tools Click on Kentucky Post If you are outside of the Library - enter your Library card number Under the Heading "America's News - Historical and Current" click on "Kentucky Post Historical and Current" From this screen you can search the database. This search also covers the text only access for the Kentucky Post from 1990-2013 Questions or comments? Contact the Local History and Genealogy Department at (859)962-4070 or via email at  

By |November 6th, 2018|Categories: Featured Post, History, Local History and Genealogy|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Expanded Online Access to the Kentucky Post Available