I love old photos, whether they are portraits of my ancestors or historical photos for the period when they lived. And it is important to a complete research that one attempts to understand the environment that surrounds our ancestors' lives if one wants to truly appreciate what they went through.
So where can they be found? Obviously the best resource is our own photo albums and those that our relatives possess. But what about other resources? Many archives, historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies have collections of old photos. And in the past few years there has been a massive movement towards making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, name of a building or historical event and find what is available.
For the state of Kentucky, what collections are available for you to browse and/or search online? Here is a list of sites to start with. Please feel free to add in the comments other online resources that you might be aware of in the state.
Please be aware that there may be very strict rules regarding downloading or other use of the images that you may find. Copyright and other legal protections may be in force. Make sure that you read the limitations of use for any image that you find in these collections and wish to download and/or copy. It is your responsibility to adhere to the rules for all of these collections.
Please note that links to these sites may change in the future. The author (me) will not be constantly checking and updating these links, so if you find a broken link, please use your favorite search engine to locate the new link.
(Updated December, 2018; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Bell County Photo Archives
- Boone County Historic Photos
- Bourbon County Photos
- Bullitt County Photos
- Capital City Museum - Frankfort
- Carriage Museum of America - Lexington
- Carter County Photo Album
- Clinton County Photo Gallery
- Daviess County Historical Photographs
- Digital Library of Appalachia
- Henderson County Photo Studio
- Historic Photos Of Louisville
- Images of Kentucky and Environs Collection
- Images of Louisville - Caufield & Shook Collection
- Kentucky Derby Museum - Louisville
- Kentucky Digital Library Images and Collections
- Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections
- Kentucky Historical Society - Frankfort
- Knox Historical Museum Online Galleries
- Lexington Herald-Leader Archives
- Liberty Hall Historic Site - Frankfort
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
- Livingston County Photos
- Louisville - Royal Photo Collection
- Louisville & Nashville Railroad Historical Society - Bowling Green
- Louisville Herald and Post Image Collection
- Marion County Memories
- Marshall County School Photos
- National Archives - Digital Photograph Collections
- NKU Digital Collections
- Northern Kentucky Photographic Archives
- Northern Kentucky Views
- Old Photos of Kentucky
- Peewee Valley Photo Collection
- Pike County Photos
- Simmons College of Kentucky Photo Collection
- Smithsonian Images
- The Filon Historical Society Image Database
- Todd County Photo Gallery
- Transylvania University - Lexington
- University of Kentucky Photographic Collections
- University of Louisville Digital Collections
- Webster County Photo Collection
- Western Kentucky University - Special Collections - Bowling Green
- WKU Archives - Photograph Collection
For historic photos from other states as well as articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good luck and Happy Hunting!