Local History Department Bus Tour added to National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Program

Boone County Public Library’s Local History Department Bus Tour has been added to National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program

Boone County Public Library is proud to announce the Local History Department’s inclusion in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Library’s bus tour will be included on the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom website at www.nps.gov/ugrr. Additionally, the library’s Local History Department has been accepted into the program as an Underground Railroad research facility, joining over 100 facilities, sites and programs across 25 states, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to Diane Miller, National Program Manager for National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, “We found that it (Local History’s Underground Railroad Bus Tour) makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the Underground Railroad in American history.”

In recent years, the Library’s Local History Department has dedicated itself to uncovering Boone County’s role in the Underground Railroad.  Long-forgotten stories of enslavement and freedom, involving the county and the surrounding region, have emerged and are being offered to the public in the form of programs, tours and research materials. Each year, the Local History Department offers Underground Railroad bus tours through Boone County, revealing the experiences of those once enslaved in the county, and their quests for freedom from bondage.

BCPL Local History Dept, L to R: Rosie Carpenter, Robin Edwards, Bridget Striker, Kaitlin Barber, Hillary Delaney

The library’s next Underground Railroad Boone County bus tour will be offered on Wednesday, September 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is a $40 fee to cover the cost of the bus and lunch. Registration is required and opens August 14.

Join us to celebrate Boone County Public Library’s inclusion in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom with a reception at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington on September 19, at 6:30 p.m.  Following the reception, there will be a presentation of “The Barkshire and Hawkins Families of Rising Sun, Indiana; A Borderlands Story” at 7 p.m.  In 1836, newly-freed Samuel Barkshire and his family left enslavement behind in Boone County, moving across the Ohio River to Rising Sun, Indiana.  Once there, they played a pivotal role in the Underground Railroad, with the help of Nancy Hawkins, their one-time slaveholder.


We can help you find your ancestors!

When most people think of BCPL’s Local History Department, they think that there are only resources for researchers of Boone County history. In reality, the Local History (and Genealogy) Department serves the family research needs of anyone who emails, calls, writes or stops by. It is true that the majority of our microfilm and family files focus on Boone County, and the book collection emphasizes the genealogical history of the region. However, BCPL’s online genealogy databases are appropriate regardless of where your family is from- the United States, Canada, Europe or even, South America.

Ancestry Library Edition, the library version of Ancestry.com, offers a wide range of
information to the family history researcher without the cost of a personal subscription. This database is a great resource for anyone starting their genealogy research. Not only do you get access to a wide variety of records including: census; birth/marriage/death; military; directories; and user-submitted family trees, Ancestry also offers free downloadable research forms and a Learning Center with Research Guides and How-To videos from leading genealogists. This database can only be accessed inside the Library, but it is available on all public computers at all six library locations.

Heritage Quest is a great database for the extra tidbits of information sought after by more experienced researchers. Used as a companion to Ancestry, Heritage Quest offers digitized Revolutionary War records, full text family histories, an index of genealogical and historical society newsletters and journals and Freeman’s Bank records (an essential African American heritage resource). This database may be accessed from home with your BCPL library card.

Genealogy Connect is a database of over 570 digitized books and genealogy resources from both Clearfield and Genealogical Publishing. Fully searchable, this database is essential for all genealogy researcher- novice and expert alike. Topics include: American Colonists & the Revolution; Aristocracy; How-To & Reference; Immigration; Native North Americans; and various regional U.S. records. This database may be accessed from home with your BCPL library card.

Fold3 is THE database to use if searching for U.S. military records spanning from the Revolutionary War through the 20th-century. Depending on the war and the veteran, records may include: service records; pensions; reports; registration cards; casualty lists; and photos. The site also offers interactive memorial pages for both the USS Arizona and the Vietnam War, as well as, a general memorial page to honor all veterans. This database may be accessed from home with your BCPL library card.

Regardless of where your family is from, the Local History Department team feels it is important for you find your family roots and connect to your past. You are not alone on this journey! We are available by phone (859)342-2665 x8134 or by email localhistory@bcpl.org. Most importantly, we offer One-On-One appointments with a team member to help you get started, tear down that brick wall, or even to give you feed back to make certain you are following the right trail to your ancestors. It is our pleasure and our commitment to help you with your family history and we look forward to meeting you!


Bridget Striker, graduate of the University of Kentucky, has been with BCPL since 2001 where she uses her background in archaeology, historic preservation and GIS mapping to ferret out elusive bits of Boone County history as the Local History Coordinator. Bridget serves as Vice-Chair of the Boone County Historic Preservation Review Board and as Kentucky Director of the Ohio River National Freedom Corridor Executive Board.