Finding Births-Marriages-Deaths in West Virginia

West VirginiaThe state of West Virginia was once part of the state of Virginia. It broke away from the Confederate State of Virginia and was admitted as a new federal state in June 1863. The West Virginia Division of Culture and History has placed online some of their vital records. The Archives of West Virginia have made accessible information concerning births, marriages and deaths recorded in the state. Most records cover from the 1800s to the 1970s, which would include when the area was part of Virginia. The sources for the data include the West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah.

This site has been made easy for the researcher in a searchable and viewable format. The information can also be downloaded to the family historian’s own computer. With West Virginia once part of Virginia the first recorded births and deaths registration in Virginia began in 1853. There is a 101 year mark before the release of birth records. For any births in 1907, they were not released for the database until 2008, so the database is continually be added to each year.

A few records for births and deaths are listed before 1853. In those cases, they were referred to as delayed records; for correction of errors or for those records that never were recorded.v

In searching for a vital record, the site also has a listing each for births, marriages and deaths of those counties in West Virginia and the years available. For example, the large county of Berkeley, with the cities of Martinsburg and Hedgesville, have marriage records for 1780 to 1856, 1858, 1862 to 1947, 1949, 1954 to 1970. Missing marriage records for Berkeley are 1857, 1859 to 1861, 1948, and 1950 to 1953. There are numerous reasons for any missing records; water damage, fire, or some even just lost.

In doing a search, place a surname rather than a full name with dates. Since you might not be sure of how names or even dates were transcribed. After selecting a record a scanned copy of the actual record will appear and that can be downloaded. Some unusual occurrences might be like the following example, the marriage of Elizabeth Groff to William H. Brantner in the County of Berkeley had three listings. One written ‘Wm. H. Brantner and Elizabeth Groff in Sept. 9, 1847’ , another with ‘Wm. Brentner and Elizabeth Groff for Sept. 9, 1847′ and then William Brentner and Elizabeth Groff for Sept. 9,1849’. This couple was the same and did marry in 1847, but the transcription of the name for William and the date actually created three listings, yet just the one same marriage. Some of these early marriages also have the documents of a bond paid prior to the marriage which went to the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the Brantner and Groff marriage bond, the amount was $150. An interesting addition was having Elizabeth Groff’s father’s name, Daniel Groff listed, an excellent primary source for the researcher.

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