West Virginia Births (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States
West Virginia
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West Virginia Births, 1853-1930
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
West Virginia, United States
West Virginia flag.png
Flag of West Virginia
US Locator West Virginia.png
Location of West Virginia
Record Description
Record Type Births
Collection years 1853-1930
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of an index to West Virginia county birth records for the years 1853 to 1930. Data is searchable for all counties. However, records within each county may not be available for the full year range.

Birth entries were recorded in printed register books containing many entries per page beginning in 1853. Earlier records were handwritten, but were usually typewritten by 1930.

Clerks of each County Court recorded births that were reported by parents, doctors and midwives beginning in 1853. The state of West Virginia began collecting births from the counties in 1917. From 1853-1879, about 15% of the births were recorded; from 1880-1920, coverage increased to about 65%. By 1925, nearly 100% of the births were recorded.

The state required counties to begin recording births to document the occurrence of a birth and to track public health issues. Delayed registration of births allowed persons whose birth was not recorded to obtain a birth certificate, usually in order to receive government benefits.

The birth date and place, residence, and other facts that were current at the time the birth occurred are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. Other data such as the parents' age or birth place have a greater chance of error because they are based on the memory of the informant.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

County Birth Records usually contain some or all of this information:

  • Town, district and county of birth
  • Name and gender of child
  • Were parents married?
  • Birth date, time and place
  • Names of parents, including maiden name of mother
  • Parents' age(s) at last birthday
  • Color or race of parents
  • Father's birthplace and occupation
  • Mother's birthplace and occupation
  • Live birth or stillborn
  • Number of children born to this mother
  • Number of children still living
  • Name and residence of attendant at birth
  • Informant's name, address and relationship

Collection Content

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Child's name
  • Other identifying information such as birth date and place or parent's names

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the birth date along with the place of birth to find the family in census records
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records
  • The father’s occupation can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records
  • The parents' birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile birth entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby
  • The information in birth records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s
  • There is also some variation in the information given from record to record

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Record Finder

Consult the West Virginia Research Tips and Strategies and its Record Finder to search other records


For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"West Virginia Births, 1853-1930." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. County courthouses, West Virginia.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.