West Virginia Church Records

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The Church of England (now Protestant Episcopal) was the established church in Virginia (including West Virginia) from 1624 to 1786. Other major religious groups in West Virginia were the Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and United Brethren churches.

The Historical Records Survey produced detailed inventories of existing church records for the Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and Episcopal churches. The Family History Library has copies of these inventories. W. Guy Tetrick also surveyed and described the records of many West Virginia churches. (Family History Library film 163930.)

Church records from various denominations are available at the West Virginia University and the Archives and History Library. The Family History Library has a few original church records from West Virginia and some published histories.

Many church records are also available at the Virginia State Library. To learn about this collection, see:

Jewell T. Clark, and Elizabeth Terry Long, A Guide to Church Records in the Archives Branch of the Virginia State Library. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library, 1981. (Family History Library book 975.5 K23c.)

Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. You can write to the following addresses to learn where their records are located.


West Virginia Baptist Historical Society
Route #2 Box 304
Ripley WV 25271
Telephone 304-372-3675


Methodist Historical Society
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Annie M. Pfeiffer Library
59 College Avenue
Buckhannon, WV 26201
Telephone: 304-473-8013
Fax: 304-473-8888  
Email: librarian@wvwc.edu


Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia
1608 Virginia Street East
P.O. Box 5400
Charleston, WV 25361
Ph: 304-344-3597
Fax: 304-343-3295

Most of the early parish registers are incomplete or missing, but those still existing are at the Virginia State Library. An excellent published history is George W. Peterkin, A History and Record of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of West Virginia. Charleston, West Virginia: Tribune Company, 1902. (Family History Library book 975.4 K2p.)

Roman Catholic

Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
1300 Byron Street
P.O. Box 230
Wheeling, WV 26003
Telephone: 304-233-0880 or 1- 888-434-6237
Fax: 304-233-0890

United Brethren

Historical Library
Church of the Brethren
1451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120
Telephone: 847-742-5100
Fax: 847-742-6103

Web Sites