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Division makes more than a million genealogy records available online to researchers

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History (WVDCH), with FamilySearch Archive (Genealogical Society of Utah), has announced the launching of its Vital Research Records online database. The new online database features more than a million West Virginia birth, death and marriage records—a valuable resource for genealogists and historians. According to agency officials, family history researchers can now search and view scanned images of the original birth, death and marriage records from six counties, as well as most statewide death certificates from 1917-54, on the Division’s website at

“We are very pleased to announce this project, which is of great value to anyone researching their family history in West Virginia” said Troy O. Body, WVDCH commissioner. “Early indications from genealogists who have begun using this new online resource are extremely positive. I encourage anyone with roots in West Virginia to take time to check out our website and make a connection with their past.”

Fredrick H. Armstrong, the Division’s director of archives and history, added, “The ability to view digitized photographic images of the actual records rather than just the typed transcriptions is unusual in the online genealogy community. Having access to the actual record images contributes to increased accuracy in family research and we’re proud to move West Virginia into the forefront of this movement.”

Developed in collaboration with FamilySearch Archive, which microfilmed, scanned and indexed the records, the initial phase of the project includes county records for Calhoun, Gilmer, Hardy, Harrison, Mineral and Pendleton counties. The database includes county birth records for the period 1853-1930, county death records for 1853 until the late 1960s, and county marriage records from the creation of the county until the late 1960s, all of which are searchable by name, county and date. Records from additional counties will be added over the next few years. Statewide death certificates will be added annually as the records become 50 years old.

For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call Armstrong or archivist Debra Basham at (304) 558-0230.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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Ginny Painter
Deputy Commissioner/Communications Manager
West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV  25305
Phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 120
Fax (304) 558-2779
Email [email protected]