McCracken County Library preserves African-American funeral home records


McCracken County Library preserves African-American funeral home records

PADUCAH (KY) - The McCracken County Public Library has digitized 28 ledgers containing records from A.W. Watkins Funeral Home in Paducah and made them available online for public access. The resulting Watkins Funeral Home collection is the newest addition to the library's free, online genealogical and historical research tools and is the second digital repository of local funeral home records the library has debuted in recent months.

The collection contains records of payments to Watkins Funeral Home, which primarily served African-Americans in the Paducah area. Information in these records varies, but can include the name of the deceased, the person or fraternal organization paying for the services, and items purchased for the funeral. Some records contain the age, place of birth, cause of death, and burial place of the deceased. The records cover years from 1894 to 1933.

"The addition of the Watkins Funeral Home records to the library's digital collections provides researchers around the world with a much-needed resource for African-American genealogy from Paducah and the surrounding area," said McCracken County Library Local and Family Historian Nathan Lynn.

In addition to records of payment for services rendered, the Watkins Funeral Home collection also contains historical, financial records for Washington Street Baptist Church, including a mortgage, which appears to have been held by Watkins Funeral Home. Also included is information on African-American fraternal societies and a list of their lodges.

To access the Watkins Funeral Home records, visit the library's digital collections website at digitalcollections.mclib.net. For more information contact Nathan Lynn at (270) 442-2510, extension 134.