Ritchie County, West Virginia Genealogy

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United States
West Virginia
Ritchie County

Guide to Ritchie 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: Harrisville
Organized: February 18, 1843
Parent County(s): Wood, Harrison, Lewis[1]
Neighboring Counties
Calhoun  • Doddridge  • Gilmer  • Pleasants  • Tyler  • Wirt  • Wood
See County Maps
Ritchie County, West Virginia Courthouse.JPG
Location Map

County Information


The County was named for Thomas Ritchie. The County has Harrisville as its seat and the County was created February 18, 1843. The County is located in the northwest area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

Ritchie County Courthouse
115 East Main Street, Room 201
Harrisville, WV 26362
Phone: 304-643-2164
Ritchie County Website

County Clerk has birth, marriage, death, probate, land, andmilitary records from 1853.
Circuit Court Clerk has divorce records.
Magisterial Court has court records.[3]

Ritchie 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
1853 1853 1853 1844 1853 1853 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

  • 1843--Ritchie County was created 18 February 1843 from Wood, Harrison and Lewis Counties.
  • County seat: Harrisville[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

History Timeline


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Ritchie 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 3,902
1860 6,847 75.5%
1870 9,055 32.2%
1880 13,474 48.8%
1890 16,621 23.4%
1900 18,901 13.7%
1910 17,875 −5.4%
1920 16,506 −7.7%
1930 15,594 −5.5%
1940 15,389 −1.3%
1950 12,535 −18.5%
1960 10,877 −13.2%
1970 10,145 −6.7%
1980 11,442 12.8%
1990 10,233 −10.6%
2000 10,343 1.1%
2010 10,449 1.0%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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

Church Records

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes


  • McFarland - Finley, Carmen J. "The McFarlings: From Virginia to the California Gold Rush," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 2000):3-12; Vol. 44, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 2000):131-145; Vol. 44, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 2000):186-195; Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2000):275-292. Digital version at American Ancestors ($). FHL Book 975.5 B2vg.


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 Ritchie 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

Tyler CountyDoddridge CountyGilmer CountyCalhoun CountyWirt CountyWood CountyPleasants CountyWV RITCHIE.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Ritchie 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 Ritchie County:

- 3rd Regiment, Virginia State Line (Cavalry and Infantry) (Confederate). Company C.
- 26th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (Confederate). Company A and Company C.[7]

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.




  • Ritchie County Historical Society
    200 S Church Street
    Harrisville, WV 26362


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, "Randolph County, West Virginia" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_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), Ritchie 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, "Ritchie County, West Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritchie_County,_West_Virginia, accessed 14 July 2018.
  7. Richard L. Armstrong, 26th Virginia Cavalry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1994). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 110.