West Virginia Research Guide Digital Download

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You'll love this if…
  • You're getting started tracing your ancestors in West Virginia
  • You want new ideas and resources to get past a West Virginia brick wall
  • Your genealogy search is focused mainly on West Virginia
Trace your West Virginia ancestors with the advice and resources in our State Research Guide! This four-page download includes:
  • a how-to article detailing West Virginia’s history and records, with helpful advice on tracking your family there
  • the best websites, books and other resources for West Virginia research, handpicked by our editors and experts
  • listings of key libraries, archives and organizations that hold the records you need
  • timeline of key events in the state's history
  • full-color map to put your research in geographical context
Here's a sampling of the helpful tips you'll get in the West Virginia guide:
  • Early settlers in the 1730s included German, Scots-Irish and English immigrants, but not until the American Revolution ended in 1783 did large numbers of settlers enter western Virginia.
  • After statehood, many West Virginia counties continued recording births and deaths, some sporadically, until statewide registration began in 1917. Many counties recorded marriages from their formation, though the earliest records may not survive.
  • Virginia land and personal property tax rolls are important for researching early West Virginians. Available on microfilm at both states’ archives, the FHL and Houston’s Clayton Library, these annual lists began in 1782 to tax land, livestock, slaves, luxuries such as carriages or pianos, other personal property and free “polls” (adult men).
Plus, each guide contains active web links for one-click access to every recommended online resource. You can view this PDF on your computer and print pages for reference.
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