Background Sources for West Virginia

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny, in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
WestVirginia sil.png
the West Virginia Family History Research series.
History of West Virginia
West Virginia Vital Records
Census Records for West Virginia
Background Sources for West Virginia
West Virginia Maps
West Virginia Land Records
West Virginia Probate Records
West Virginia Court Records
West Virginia Tax Records
West Virginia Cemetery Records
West Virginia Church Records
West Virginia Military Records
West Virginia Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
West Virginia Archives, Libraries, and Societies
African Americans of West Virginia
West Virginia Coal Mining
West Virginia County Resources
Map of West Virginia

The following publications are either guides for conducting research in West Virginia or publications including hundreds of biographical sketches about early West Virginia families. Many of those sketches contain ancestral lines and family migration patterns.

  • Brown, Stuart E., Jr. Virginia Genealogical Resources. Detroit: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1980.
  • Comstock, Jim. Hardesty's West Virginia Counties. 8 vols. Richwood, W.Va.: J. Comstock, 1973. Contains biographical sketches of early county residents and their families.
  • ______. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia. 25 vols. Richwood, W.Va.: the author, 1976.
  • ______. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia: Supplemental Series. 25 vols. Richwood, W.Va.: the author, 1976.
  • Good, Rebecca H., and Rebecca A. Ebert. Finding Your People in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Alexandria, Va.: Hearthside Press, 1988. A guide covering Berkeley, Hampshire, Jefferson, and Morgan counties in now West Virginia and Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Pay, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties in Virginia.
  • McGinnis, Carol. West Virginia Genealogy Sources and Resources. 1988, Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998. This recent guide provides a county-by-county breakdown of original source material and a thorough list of microfilms available in the state's repositories (see West Virginia Archives, Libraries, and Societies).
  • Rice, Otis K. and Stephen W. Brown. West Virginia: A History. 2d ed. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1993.
  • Stewart, Robert Armistead. Index to Printed Virginia Genealogies..., 1930. 1930, Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
  • Stinson, Helen S. A Handbook for Genealogical Research in West Virginia. South Charleston, W.Va.: Kanawha Valley Genealogical Society, 1981.
  • ______. Fatalities in West Virginia Coal Mines, 1883'1925. South Charleston, W.Va.: Stinson, 1985.
  • Swem, Earl Gregg. Virginia Historical Index. 1934'36. Reprint. (2 vols. in 4). Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1965.
  • Wardell, P. G. Timesaving Aid to Virginia'West Virginia Ancestors: A Genealogical Index of Surnames from Published Sources. 3 vols. Athens, Ga.: Iberian Publishing Co., 1985.
  • Williams, John Alexander. West Virginia: A History. Reprint. N.p.: W.W. Norton and Co., 1984.