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Since this project was started, we have had numerous contributions which have given us the ability to meet the goals of KYAAG. With this in mind, we feel it is only fitting that we honor the participants who helped and continue to help us meet our goals.  


Although all contributions are acknowledged and appreciated, the following have been given special recognition for their relentless efforts in helping this project succeed. They have volunteered countless hours to contribute transcriptions, excerpts from their personal publications, family lineages and research records, as well as public records and family photos.


Another point that we feel must be recognized is the efforts of those who have broken the race barrier to contribute their time, effort and knowledge to this project even though this site is exclusively dedicated to African American research in the State of Kentucky.


For this I say, Martin Luther King’s Dream is well on its way if only we give it a chance.


Charee Harvey

Assistant Coordinator

Sandi Gorin


I have been involved in genealogical research since 1970 while living in many states due to my late husband’s employer, moving to Kentucky by choice in 1989. I have a love of history coming from my background as a school teacher and curiosity of putting the clues together from many years with police work. Since moving to KY, I have been helping others with their family research and publishing source data from the county where I live. I am a Kentucky Colonel, the Editor of our County Historical Society Quarterly and speak many times a year before Civic and Community Organizations and at the schools in the area. My theme has always been “Sound not heard is silenced; history not recorded is lost.”

Michelle Gorin Burris


Shelley is the daughter of Sandi Gorin and grew up thinking Moms came with a keyboard attached to their finger tips. She accompanied her Mom for many years in her genealogy work and at the age of 14 expressed a desire to do something herself that would contribute to preserving family history. She has since published eleven books on old slave records and African American records from Barren and adjacent Counties. One of her books, Barren’s Black Roots Volume 3 was awarded first place by the Kentucky Historical Society in the family history category. She is now married and although working full time in the computer field and as an on-air personality for many years for local radio stations, she still has a love of genealogy and pursues it in what spare time she has. She is also gifted in music and art and church work.

Lora Hutsell Washington


I developed a need to know about my family history while organizing a family reunion for July  4th of 2003.  I had basic knowledge of my immediate family; my great-grandmother, Myrtle Bradley Hutsell, always spoke about her family.  I had the great opportunity to know some members of the family, which was a joy in itself.  The thirst to find more about my family heritage was driven by the fact that my grandchildren would never have the same opportunity to know their history if it was not somehow documented. 


Thus began my journey into genealogy.  I started by subscribing to and Then I contacted various surviving members of the families to collect information and photos.  Ordering death certificates for various family members became another source of information.  They generally listed the names of the father and mother as well as the name of the surviving spouse.  I complied two large three-ring binders full of information.  I inherited old family photo albums when my mother passed. They became a visual reference for me. I acquired copies of marriage bonds and marriage records for my grandparents( maternal and paternal) as well as my great-great grandparents.  The Census records on, and were invaluable resources.  During this journey, I have acquired relatives I didn’t know existed.


Some of the people I grew up with turned out to be relatives.  Since my journey began, I have traced all four sides of my and my husband’s family back eight generations.  I have also done genealogical research on my son-in-law’s family. As of September 20, 2004, I have compiled a book that includes of 2500 people and various photos of family members as well as other information. 


This has been an incredible journey and I feel this is only the beginning.


Contributing to this site has enabled me to come in contact with distant relatives, which has been a true blessing.

Peggy Childress Gilkey


I was born in Princeton, Caldwell Co., Ky. My interest in genealogy started in 1967, when at the age of 21, my mother took me to the old Calvert Cemetery in Caldwell Co., Ky. I would from that time on try to find out all I could about them.  I learned early on, that this line of my ancestors were slave holders. I have wondered many times why they being a religious and God fearing family thought it was ok to do this. I still don't understand that. while this part of my family was engaged in doing this, another of my family lines, the Wales, in Indiana were running a part of the underground railroad, helping escaped slaves to go farther north to freedom.


Hankins and Childress are two other of my families that I love to research.


Having a great-great grandmother that was Native American and that by family tradition it is said she had been left as a small child dying on the Trail of Tears in Caldwell County, Ky. Malinda survived and married my great-great grandfather Richard Childress. There is no way to trace that family line back past her, so I do understand the feeling of African- Americans trying to discover their heritage and having so many difficulties in tracing their families back past the 1870's.


My husband, Kenneth, retired in 1998 and, luckily for me, he also enjoys my passion for genealogy. Together, we have published the 1880-1910-1920 Lyon Co., Ky. Census.  We assisted in transcribing the 1930 Lyon Co., Ky. census book.  We have also published two family history books and several family history reports.  It doesn't have to be our family, just one we are interested in, or trying to help someone else with theirs.


We are the KyGenWeb County Coordinators for Livingston and Crittenden counties and Asst. C C's for Caldwell and Lyon counties. We are the administrators for the Crittenden and Livingston Counties Rootsweb Message Boards and Asst. Admins. for Caldwell and Lyon Counties Rootsweb Message Boards.


My family lines are all in northern Caldwell County and Ken's are mostly in the southern half of Caldwell County, so between us we have a very large Caldwell County database. Our combined families databases on our Caldwell, Lyon, Trigg, Crittenden, Hopkins, etc. counties contain over 30,000 names.


We both enjoy the research trips to the library and courthouse at Princeton.   The Historical Society in Caldwell has worked very hard to preserve all records, and the Caldwell records are mostly complete.


For the past year and a half I have devoted a lot of my time searching for records to prove my ancestor Spencer Calvert fought in the Revolutionary War and deserved a DAR marker.   Success at last, the National DAR office finally approved him and we will dedicate a bronze marker for him in March, 2005.


It is a pleasure to contribute any information I have to the African-American Griot's site. Charee Harvey and Jerry Taylor and are doing a wonderful job but we all need to help by contributing our records, to make this site work.


I hope if there is some way I might help anyone researching their ancestors in Caldwell County, Ky., that you will not hesitate to email me at      [email protected].


Peggy Childress Gilkey

Janet K. Hawkins


Janet K. Hawkins is an editor (contractor) for the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.  She has more than 15 years of for-profit and non-profit publications experience.


A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Hawkins became interested in the history of the African-American community of western Kentucky after she learned that her fourth great-grandfather, a Crittenden County native, had owned slaves and later divided those slaves “equally” among his children.  Hawkins is near completion on her master’s thesis, a history of the black community of Livingston and Crittenden Counties, and expects to graduate from George Mason University in January 2005.

Hawkins lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, Jaime Luciano.  Her hobbies include genealogy, bird watching, foreign and domestic travel, and foreign languages.

Kellie Scott


Kellie Scott actively contributes whenever possible to the preservation and reconstruction of Kentucky genealogy.  Besides her assistance with the KY African American Griots and volunteer genealogist for the Bourbon County KY Genealogical Society




Copyright © 2004 - 2010 C. Harvey