Genealogy Research

#1 tip:  Call before you travel!  If you are looking for something specific but are not sure that we have it, contact us and we can check.

Things to remember when doing genealogy in West Virginia:

  1. West Virginia was part of Virginia until June 20, 1863.
  2. Birth and death records were not kept until 1853.
  3. County names and boundaries changed frequently.
  4. Many county records have gaps due to natural disasters (e.g., fires and floods).

WVRHC staff are knowledgeable and ready to help locate materials, but they are unable to perform genealogy research. Please refer to our Reference and Research page for details on available services.

#2 tip: We encourage prospective genealogists to approach research at a specialized library collection like the WVRHC with as much knowledge of research techniques and types of sources as possible, and remember that special rules govern these materials. Please see WVRHC's policies and services for more information.

Beginning your family history research can be overwhelming. Helpful information on getting started is available from:

The following books may be helpful for beginners:

For information specific to West Virginia genealogy take a look at these books: