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West Virginia Fast Facts and Key Resources

By Emily Anne Croom Premium

Statehood: 1863
First federal census: 1870 (earlier censuses as part of Virginia)
Statewide birth and death records begin: 1917 (available for many counties from 1853)

Statewide marriagerecords begin: 1964

State-land state
Counties: 55

Contact for vital records:

West Virginia Department of Health
Division of Vital Statistics

Room 165
350 Capitol St.
Charleston, WV 25301
(304) 558-2931


Web Sites
• Cyndi’s List: West Virginia


• Pre-statehood Records at Library of Virginia


• West Virginia Cemetery Transcriptions
<>, <>


• West Virginia GenWeb Project


• West Virginia Links


• West Virginia Resources at RootsWeb


• West Virginia Vital Records Online


Appalachia in the Making: The Mountain South in the Nineteenth Century edited by Mary Beth Pudup, Dwight Billings and Altina Waller (University of NorthCarolina Press, $24.95)


The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists edited by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack and Erin Nevius (Family Tree Books)

Finding Your People in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by Rebecca H. Good and Rebecca A. Ebert (Heritage Books)
A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia and the District of Columbia (1835) by Joseph Martin (Willow Bend Books)
Research in West Virginia by Barbara Vines Little (National Genealogical Society)
Virginia Historical Index, 2 volumes, by Earl Gregg Swem (Genealogical Publishing Co.)
West Virginia: A History, 2nd edition, by Otis K. Rice and Stephen W. Brown (University Press of Kentucky)

West Virginia Encyclopedia edited by Ken Sullivan (West Virginia Humanities Council)


West Virginia Genealogy Sources and Resources by Carol McGinnis (Genealogical Publishing Co.) 

West Virginia History: A Bibliography and Guide to Research by Harold M. Forbes (online at <>)

Organizations and Archives
Berkeley County Historical Society, Archives and Research Center
136 E. Race St., Martinsburg, WV  25401, (304) 267-4713, <>

Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219, (804) 692-3888, <>   
Marshall University Morrow Library Special Collections
1 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755, (304) 696-2343, <>

West Virginia Genealogical Society and Library
5238 Elk River Road N., Box 249, Elkview, WV 25071, (304) 965-1179, ext. 168, <>  


West Virginia Historical Society
Box 5220, Charleston, WV 25361, (304) 558-0230, <>


West Virginia University West Virginia and Regional History Collection
Library, Box 6069, 1549 University Ave., Morgantown, WV 26506, (304) 293-3536, <>  


West Virginia State Archives
The Cultural Center, Capital Complex, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston, WV 25305, (304)

From the January 2009 Family Tree Magazine