West Virginia Archives and Libraries

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United States Gotoarrow.png West Virginia Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries

The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful to West Virginia genealogical researchers:

Archives and History LibraryDivision of Culture and History
The Cultural Center
Capitol Complex
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
Telephone: 304-558-0220
Fax: 304-558-2779
Internet: http://www.wvculture.org/index.aspx

National Archives—Mid-Atlantic Region (Downtown Philadelphia)
900 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292
Telephone: 215-606-0100
Fax: 215-606-0116
Website: http://www.archives.gov/midatlantic/

National Archives—Mid-Atlantic Region (Northeast Philadelphia)
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1025
Telephone: 215-305-2000
Fax: 215-305-2038
Website: http://www.archives.gov/midatlantic/

West Virginia Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 249
Elkview, WV 25071
Telephone: 304-965-1179

West Virginia Collection
West Virginia University Library
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown, WV 26506-6069
Telephone: 304-293-3536
Fax: 304-293-3981

A useful guide to this collection is James W. Hess, Guide to Manuscripts and Archives in the West Virginia Collection. Morgantown, West Virginia. West Virginia University Library, 1974. (Family History Library book 975.4 A5h; 1959 edition by Charles Shetler, is on film 940918 item 4.)

Library of Virginia(State Library)
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219-8000
Telephone: 804-692-3888
Fax: 804-692-3556

The Virginia State Library is an important resource for pre-1863 West Virginia research.

The Allegheny Regional Family History Society
Post Office Box 1804
Elkins, West Virginia 26241
Email: [1]

To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of West Virginia counties, use the 13 inventories of the county archives published by the Historical Records Survey around 1940. The Family History Library has copies of all of these inventories. These are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under WEST VIRGINIA - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES.

The Historical Records Survey also compiled unpublished (manuscript) inventories for the records of most West Virginia counties. These are available on microfilm at the Family History Library. These are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under WEST VIRGINIA, [COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS.

An online listing of many West Virginia Archives and societies is at:


A resource for locating archives in Appalachia is:

  • Archives in Appalachia: A Directory. Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1985. (Family History Library book 975 A3a.) The record covers the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The record is arranged alphabetically by state, then by the name of the repository. Each entry lists the archive, its address, phone number, inclusive dates of the collection, the records of the collection, what subjects are covered by the collection, and the size of the collection. There are two indexes: Record type, and Subject, with reference numbers corresponding to the repository. Also included is a list, under “Coming Attractions,” of agencies that do not currently collect manuscript materials but plan to do so in the future.