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Compilations of Genealogical Data
Printed volumes of various types of records, such as marriages, births, deaths, cemetery readings, estate settlements, census listings, and census indexes are available for most counties. Hundreds of West Virginia churches have published histories or directories. Church and synagogue histories frequently include membership rolls, vital statistics, and biographies of clergy. Congregational directories often contain identified photographs of families. High school yearbooks, college yearbooks, and alumni publications usually provide some biographical information along with a photograph.
City directories, available for about two dozen of the largest West Virginia towns, provide complete listings of citizens with their place of residence and type of employment. Wheeling, Martinsburg, and Charleston had directories as early as the 1870s. Directories from other cities began to appear in the 1890s and early 1900s. State gazetteers, published from 1875 to 1924, include comprehensive listings of businessmen involved in every sort of enterprise in towns large and small.
Immigration records provide data on the place and date of the entry of people into the United States. A useful source with which to begin a search is Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: A Guide to Published Arrival Records... (Detroit, Mich., Gale Research Co., 1981.) The 1981 edition comprised 3 volumes and supplements have been issued annually since 1982. Land transactions also provide evidence of an ancestor's location. A comprehensive published guide to pre-1900 land records from West Virginia's counties is Sims Index to Land Grants in West Virginia (Charleston, State Auditor, 1952.)