West Virginia Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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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


Most West Virginia counties have organized genealogical or historical societies, some of which publish excellent quarterly periodicals (see McGinnis under Background Sources). For the pre-statehood period, see the section on Virginia for bibliographical citations of the most valuable and widely used genealogical periodicals and their appropriate indexes.


West Virginia newspaper collections are at the Archives and History Library, and the West Virginia and Regional History Collection. See Barbara Mertin, Newspapers in the West Virginia University Library (Morgantown, W.Va.: West Virginia University Library, 1973). Most newspapers have been microfilmed and a large collection is available at The Family History Library (FHL) as well.


The West Virginia and Regional History Collection at West Virginia University in Morgantown includes historical documents dating from the first settlements in the state to the present. A Guide to Manuscripts and Archives can be downloaded at www.libraries.wvu.edu/wvcollection/manuscripts/index.htm. These three sources can be found in this collection:

Smith-Riffe Collection of New River Genealogy and Local History. This collection pertains to Boone, Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties and is located at the Archives and History Library in Charleston and on microfilm through the FHL.

Elisha B. Iams Collection. This card index of 6,500 entries consists of more than seventy volumes of extracted records from sixteen counties in southwest Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. It can be searched at Citizen's Library, 55 S. College St., Washington, PA 15301.

Willis Guy Tetrick Collection. The Tetrick Collection consists primarily of family group records compiled by family members living in central West Virginia. Some records contain extensive genealogical information, and although others are less complete, they offer excellent clues to follow. While cataloged under Harrison County in the FHL, this collection has information about residents of surrounding counties. The original collection is at the West Virginia and Regional History Collection and also available on microfilm. Since many ancestors mentioned in Tetrick's collection came from counties outside the immediate Harrison County area, it is a good idea to check this source.