How to Find West Virginia Death RecordsEdit This Page

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How to Find United States Deaths Gotoarrow.png West Virginia Deaths

In 1863, West Virginia was created from the state of Virginia. Statewide registration of deaths began in 1917 in West Virginia and was generally complied with by 1925. The counties have copies of these records.

Next Step: When did the death occur?

Choose a time period to search for your ancestor's death record:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1853

Before 1853, no deaths were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.

  Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Church Records
Census
Return to top: Choose another death year


Deaths from 1853 thru 1962

In 1863, West Virginia was created from the state of Virginia. In 1853, Virginia law required counties to record births, although very few counties complied or were complete for deaths recorded.


If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below, try searching for death information in other records.

For deaths that exist during the time period, try the following databases.

West Virginia Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1853-1930 - At West Virginia Division of Culture and History Free; most counties go to 1930: list of county coverage (right side of the screen); collection also contains delayed birth records
Try 2nd:
1853-1930 - At FamilySearch.org Free; not all counties are complete to 1930: list of county coverage (right side of the screen); click on "view partner website" to see a copy of the image
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information
Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1913 thru 1930

STEP ONE: Find Birth Information

Limited births maybe found in the following databases. Try each link. If you do not find your ancestor's birth or if you want order a copy of the certificate, then contact the West Virginia Department of Health office.

West Virginia Births Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1853-1930 - At West Virginia Division of Culture and History Free; most counties go to 1930: list of county coverage (right side of the screen); collection also contains delayed birth records
Try 2nd:
1853-1930 - At FamilySearch.org Free; not all counties are complete to 1930: list of county coverage (right side of the screen); collection also contains delayed birth records; click on "view partner website" to see a copy of the image
Next try:
Includes Index Only

Choose one of the following:

1853-1969 - use at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center

1853-1969 - use your Ancestry subscription $, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available through your local public library for free
Can't search the index listed above? Go to Step Two listed below and order a search for your ancestor from the West Virginia Department of Health State Office.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Birth Certificates
From County of Birth From WV Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the West Virginia Department of Health office will do a 3 year search.

Restrictions for persons born within the last 100 years:
To obtain a copy of the birth certificate for those born within the last 100 years, you must be:

  • The person on the certificate
  • The parents and grandparents of person on the certificate
  • The wife or husband of the person on the certificate
  • The children and grandchildren of the person on the certificate
  • The brothers or sisters of the person on the certificate
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
NOTE: A copy of the birth record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 100 years have passed from the date of the birth.

If you do not want to order the birth record, there are other records with birth information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1931 thru 1969

Limited births maybe found in the following databases. Try each link. If you do not find your ancestor's birth or if you want order a copy of the certificate, then contact the West Virginia Vital Registration office.

STEP ONE: Find Birth Information

Includes Index Only

Choose one of the following:

1853-1969 - use at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center

1853-1969 - use your Ancestry subscription $, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available through your local public library for free
Can't search the index listed above? Go to Step Two listed below and order a search for your ancestor from the West Virginia Department of Health State Office.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information


STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Birth Certificates
From County of Birth From WV Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the West Virginia Department of Health office will do a 3 year search.


Restrictions for persons born within the last 100 years:
To obtain a copy of the birth certificate for those born within the last 100 years, you must be:

  • The person on the certificate
  • The parents and grandparents of person on the certificate
  • The wife or husband of the person on the certificate
  • The children and grandchildren of the person on the certificate
  • The brothers or sisters of the person on the certificate
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
NOTE: A copy of the birth record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 100 years have passed from the date of the birth.

If you do not want to order the birth record, there are other records with birth information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


Deaths after 1969

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From County of Death From WV Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

If you do not know the exact date or place of death:
For a fee, the West Virginia Department of Health office will do a 3 year search.

Restrictions for persons born within the last 500 years:
To obtain a copy of the death certificate for those who died within the last 50 years, you must be:

  • The parents and grandparents of person on the certificate
  • The wife or husband of the person on the certificate
  • The children and grandchildren of the person on the certificate
  • The brothers or sisters of the person on the certificate
  • Funeral director
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
NOTE: A copy of the death record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 50 years have passed from the date of the death.

If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another death year


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