West Virginia Research Tips and Strategies

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Research Tips and Strategies

West Virginia Research Strategies

Below are links to different research strategy pages to help you locate your ancestors in West Virginia

West Virginia Research Tips

These tips will help you as you research your ancestors in West Virginia.

  • Birth information: Statewide registration of births began in 1917 in West Virginia and was generally complied with by 1925.  The best substitute record for locating birth information is death records (the majority of death records will list the date of birth of the decedent, and since death certificates are considered a primary resource, they can provide you with the same documentation as a birth certificate). Or, try these other substitute records.
  • Finding Parents: Statewide registration of deaths began in 1917 in West Virginia and was generally complied with by 1925.  They often will list the parents of the deceased and their birth information. Search West Virginia death records
  • Look in all censuses: Always look for your ancestor in every possible census. There are clues regarding immigration, naturalization, and occupation that can lead to other records. Sometimes parents can be found living with their children later in life. Search U.S. Censuses.

West Virginia Record Finder

This Record Finder is designed to help you determine the best record to search for the type of information you are looking for. It is most helpful for post-1850 research.

1. What you are looking for: 2. Try these records first: 3. Other useful records
Birth information Birth records, Death records, Obituaries, Church records Cemeteries, Naturalization and Citizenship, Bible records, Military records (pension)
Marriage information Marriage records, Obituaries, Bible records Church records, Probate records, Military records
Death information Death Records, Cemeteries, Obituaries Probate Records, Church Records, Bible Records
Parents Birth recordsDeath records, Obituaries, Census, Church records Biography, Genealogy
Maiden name Marriage Records, Obituaries, Probate records Church Records, Military Records (pension)
Immigration date Emigration and Immigration, Naturalization and Citizenship, Census Obituaries, Biography, History
Naturalization Naturalization and Citizenship, Census, Court Records Voting Registers, Biography, Periodicals
Physical description Military Records, Naturalization and Citizenship (after 1906) Biography, History

Further West Virginia Research

For more research on West Virginia, including research at the county level, visit the West Virginia page on the Research Wiki.

Search all of the West Virginia record collections at FamilySearch.