Raleigh County, West Virginia Genealogy

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United States
West Virginia
Raleigh County

Guide to Raleigh County, West Virginia ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Beckley
Organized: January 23, 1850
Parent County(s): Fayette[1]
Neighboring Counties
Boone  • Fayette  • Kanawha  • Mercer  • Summers  • Wyoming
See County Maps
Raliegh County, west Virginia Courthouse.JPG
Location Map

County Information


The County was named for Sir Walter Raleigh. The County has Beckley as its seat and the County was created 1850. The County is located in the southeast area of the state. [2]

County Courthouse

Raleigh County Courthouse
215 Main Street
Beckley, WV 25801
Phone: 304-255-9123
Raleigh County Website

County Clerk has birth, marriage, death records from 1850.
Clerk of the Circuit Court has divorce and court records.[3]

Raleigh County, West Virginia Record Dates

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1850 1850 1850 1850 1850 1850 1870
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1917. General compliance by 1925.

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes

  • 1850--Raleigh County was created 23 January 1850 from Fayette County.
  • County seat: Beckley[5]

For animated maps illustrating West Virginia county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation West Virginia County Boundary Maps" (1617-1995) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Raleigh County, West Virginia online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See West Virginia Cemeteries for more information

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 1,765
1860 3,367 90.8%
1870 3,673 9.1%
1880 7,367 100.6%
1890 9,597 30.3%
1900 12,436 29.6%
1910 25,633 106.1%
1920 42,482 65.7%
1930 68,072 60.2%
1940 86,687 27.3%
1950 96,273 11.1%
1960 77,826 −19.2%
1970 70,080 −10.0%
1980 86,821 23.9%
1990 76,819 −11.5%
2000 79,220 3.1%
2010 78,859 −0.5%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

For tips on accessing Raleigh census records online, see: West Virginia Census.

Church Records

  • Raleigh County, West Virginia Churches, USGenWeb

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



Land and Property Records

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See West Virginia Land and Property for additional information about early West Virginia land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Raleigh County, West Virginia Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories see the wiki page section West Virginia Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers

Fayette CountySummers CountyMercer CountyWyoming CountyBoone CountyKanawha CountyWV RALEIGH.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Raleigh served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Raleigh County:

- 8th Regiment, West Virginia Infantry.[7]


- 30th Battalion, Virginia Sharpshooters (Clarke's) (Confederate). Company A.[8]
- 34th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry (Witcher's Battalion, Virginia Mounted Rifles) (Confederate). Company K.[9]

Records and histories are available, including:

Naturalization and Citizenship



Other Records


Probate Records

Online Probate Records

School Records

Tax Records

West Virginia real and personal property tax records are managed by the County Assessor in each county. Land and land improvements are considered real property while mobile property is classified as personal property.

Many County Assessors offer an online searchable database, where assessment record searches can be performed by name, account number, year, or mp/parcel number. Where online records are not available, requests for records can be made to the Assessment Office in person, by phone, or in writing.

The search for tax information can start here

Vital Records





Research Facilities


Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.





Research Guides


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), West Virginia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Raleigh County, West Virginia" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raleigh_County,_West_Virginia."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), West Virginia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Raleigh County, West Virginia. Page 743-746 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 742-743.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), West Virginia.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Raleigh County, West Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raleigh_County,_West_Virginia, accessed 18 July 2018.
  7. Ronald R. Turner, 7th West Virginia Cavalry (Manassas, Va.: R.R. Turner, 1989). Digital version at Raleigh County West Virginia GenWeb; FHL Book 975.4 M2t.
  8. Michael West, 30th Battalion Virginia Sharpshooters (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1995). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 108.
  9. Scott C. Cole, 34th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1993). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 94.