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Kentucky Public Records

The Kentucky Open Records Law, found in the Kentucky Code sections 61.870 through 61.884, secures the right of the people to access and copy public records. What are public records in KY? The Open Records Law identifies them as books, papers, cards, photographs, tapes, maps, software, recordings, or any other documentation used and retained by a public agency.

Exceptions to open records include test questions used for licensing examinations, formulas used in real estate appraisals, ongoing investigation records, and records containing information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Consider this your starting point for statewide record searches.  We’ve put the most useful and common resources here.  Reach for county and city records by utilizing the toolbars in the side margin.

  • Court System - The Kentucky court system has four levels. At the first is the District Court, which handles juvenile matters, ordinances, misdemeanors, traffic offenses, probate, arraignments, felony hearings, small claims, civil cases under $5K, mental commitments & domestic violence cases. At the second level is the general jurisdiction Circuit Court, which handles civil cases over $5K, felonies, land title disputes, and contested probate cases. A Family Court division handles matters of divorce, child custody, adoption & domestic violence. At the third level is the Court of Appeals, which reviews decisions by the lower courts. At the fourth level is the Supreme Court, which reviews appeals from the lower courts, and all decisions resulting in death penalty & long-term imprisonment.  Kentucky Court Records
  • Criminal Records - Misdemeanors, traffic offenses, and felony preliminary hearings are handled by the District Courts. Felonies are handled by the Circuit Courts. The toughest cases are handled by US Marshal Raylen Givens.  For access to databases and information on criminal searches within the bluegrass state, kindly refer to our Kentucky Criminal Records page.
  • Vital Records – Certificate copies are available through the: Office of Vital Statistics, 275 East Main Street 1E-A, Frankfort, KY 40621, (502) 564-4212, Fax: (502) 227-0032.  Consult our Vital Records page for historical statewide & county birth indexes; the Social Security Death Index for Kentucky, statewide cemeteries; statewide historical death indexes; and available city & county databases for deaths, burials, cemeteries, and obituaries; statewide historical marriages, and available county marriage databases; and divorce records between 1973 and 1993.

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