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McDowell County, West Virginia Genealogy

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

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County Facts
County seat: Welch
Organized: February 20, 1858
Parent County(s): Tazewell (VA)[1]
Neighboring Counties
Buchanan (VA)  • Mercer  • Mingo  • Tazewell (VA)  • Wyoming
See County Maps
Courthouse
McDowell County, West Virginia Courthouse.JPG
Location Map
Wv-mcdowell.png
Adoption

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for James McDowell. The County is located in the southeast area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

McDowell County Courthouse
90 Wyoming Street, #109
Welch, WV 24801
Phone: 304-436-8344
McDowell County Website

County Clerk has birth records from 1872, marriage records from 1861, death records 1894, probate and land records from 1897.
Circuit Court Clerk has divorce records.[3]

McDowell County, West Virginia Record Dates[edit | edit source]

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
1872 1861 1894 1859 1868 1897 1870
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1917. General compliance by 1925.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1858--McDowell County was created 20 February 1858 from Tazewell County (Virginia).
  • County seat first Perryville; changed to Welch in 1892.
  • County seat: Welch[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[edit | edit source]

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]

Cities
Towns
Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of McDowell 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[edit | edit source]

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

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 1,535
1870 1,952 27.2%
1880 3,074 57.5%
1890 7,300 137.5%
1900 18,747 156.8%
1910 47,856 155.3%
1920 68,571 43.3%
1930 90,479 31.9%
1940 94,354 4.3%
1950 98,887 4.8%
1960 71,359 −27.8%
1970 50,666 −29.0%
1980 49,899 −1.5%
1990 35,233 −29.4%
2000 27,329 −22.4%
2010 22,113 −19.1%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • Harman - Harman, John Newton. Harman Genealogy (Southern Branch): With Biographical Sketches, 1700-1924. Richmond, Va.: W.C. Hill Print. Co., 1925. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for McDowell 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.

West Virginia Archives

Evans, Norma Pontiff. First Families of McDowell County, West Virginia. s.l. Author, 1981.
929.1 M138.
Friedl, Joseph. A History of Education in McDowell County, West Virginia, 1858-1976. Parsons, West Virginia, McClain Printing Company, 1975.
370.9754 F911h.
Goodykoontz, Wells. Address Delivered by Wells Goodykoontz, Tuesday, June 14, 1927, at the Unveiling of Tablet of Black Wolf, McDowell County, West Virginia . s.l., n.p., 1927. 929.2 H287 Pam.
Grisby, Louise Carter. Come Back With Me to Gary, West Virginia. s.l., n.p., n.d. 975.449 G857.
Lad, Virginia. Sodom and Gomorrah of Today; or the History of Keystone, West Virginia. s.l., n.p., 1912.
975.449 L153.
McDowell County Centennial, 1858-1958. s.l., n.p., 1958. 975.449 M138c.
McDowell County, West Virginia, The Nations Coal Bin. s.l., n.p., n.d. 917.5449 M138.
Solins, Mrs. Samuel and Jones, Mrs. Paul. McDowell County History; A Pictorial History of McDowell County, West Virginia. Fort Worth, Texas, University Supply and Equipment Company, 1959. 975.449 M138.
Sowers, Auburn Daniel. Facts About McDowell County, West Virginia. s.l., n.p., 1912. 975.449 S731 Pam.
Welch West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Welch, McDowell County, West Virginia. s.l., n.p., n.d.
917.5449 W439 Pam.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Wyoming CountyMercer CountyTazewell CountyMingo CountyBuchanan CountyWV McDOWELL.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Records

McDowell County, West Virignia Will Books 1893-1968

West Virginia Will Books

School Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

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.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Craft Memorial Library, Bluefield, WV

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • McDowell County Historical Society
    HC 61 Box 37-B
    Paynesville, WV 24873
    President: Dr. Tom Hatcher
    Secretary/Treasurer: Geneva Steele

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  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, "McDowell County, West Virginia" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDowell_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), McDowell 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, "McDowell County, West Virginia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDowell_County,_West_Virginia, accessed 08 July 2018.