With a few clicks, people can now access Lexington history from the 1780s to the 1870s. University of Kentucky students have digitized nearly 80-thousand deeds and other records and posted it on the Fayette County Clerk’s website. Vanessa Holden is the director of UK’s African American and Africana studies. She said the Digital Access Project may be especially valuable interesting to folks interested in black history.
“Many black people didn't own property, because they were property. And so anytime an enslaved person changed hands, there is a record of them.”
Holden says the data also sheds considerable light on what she called Fayette County’s very vibrant free Black community. Several other groups helped fund the project, which is ongoing. Holden said the records contain a wealth of information.
“A place like Fayette County, one of the original three counties of the commonwealth, has an incredibly well kept set of records back to when it was still Virginia.”
Holden said the records include information about people who lived in more than three dozen other counties, because Fayette County wasn’t reduced to its present size until 1799.