If you are a new visitor to West Virginia Archives and History’s Web site, first check the list of options under “Explore Archives and History” which is on the main Archives and History page. If you don’t see what you are looking for, the following tips will help:
- Guides to Collections (clipping files, newspapers, specialized collections, maps, yearbooks, etc.), Research Guides, and information on Library Services and Fees are on the “State Archives” page (follow the link under “Explore Archives and History”).
- Information on specific history topics is under “History Center”.
- Searchable databases (other than births, deaths, and marriages) are under “West Virginia Memory Project”.
- “The West Virginia Library Network” is a searchable database to finds books and pamphlets.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where do I go to find information on the Civil War Adjutant General’s records? Check the Civil War page under “History Center” for West Virginia Adjutant Generals Papers.
2. Where can I get vital records? Archives and History has microfilm of birth, death, and marriage records kept at the county level as recent as 1968-1970 for most counties. We also have microfilm of statewide birth records and delayed births 1917-1930, statewide deaths 1917-1973, and indices to some more recent delayed births, deaths, and marriages. Some of these records can be searched online through the Vital Research Records databases while others are available at the Archives and History Library. (For statewide birth and death records, patrons in the library have access to the microfilm indices; only staff can access and copy the microfilmed certificates for a $2.50 statutory fee per copy.) More recent records and certified copies of any birth, death, or marriage record are available only at the agency of record, either the county clerk’s office or the State Vital Registration Office. For more information on West Virginia birth, death, and marriage records, consult the Quick Guides available on the “State Archives” page.
Archives and History does not have divorce or adoption records. For divorce records, researchers will need to contact the circuit clerk in the county where the divorce took place. Under state law, adoption records are closed.
3. Where is the list of unclaimed Civil War medals? The Civil War medals page is under “State Archives.” The list is alphabetical by last name and is split into two files: A-L and M-Z.
4. Can I find information on the contents of all Archives collections online? No. For some manuscript, state government record, and special collections, finding aids are available, and we are adding more as new collections are processed. As time permits, we hope to create finding aids for older collections. There are finding aids for very few photograph collections. Digitized images from a handful of photograph collections can be searched in the online Photograph Database in the West Virginia Memory Project. For information on collections for which no online finding aids exist at present, contact the archivist Bethany Arbaugh.
5. Am I free to copy, distribute, and use materials on the Archives and History Web site however I choose. No. Materials on the Archives and History website are for research, teaching, and private study purposes only. Some materials are protected by copyright. Information on use of materials is addressed in Title 82, Series 6, Archives and History Services and Fee Guidelines, under 82-6-5.4.
Additional questions on searching Archives and History Web pages should be addressed to Mary Johnson.