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Finding United States Births Gotoarrow.png West Virginia Births


Finding West Virginia Birth Records

West Virginia was created in 1863 from Virginia. Statewide registration of births 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 birth occur?

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

Learn more about U.S. Birth Records

Births Before 1853

Before 1853, no births were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s birth date and place. Substitutes for birth record information:

  If you know the death date, try If you don't know the death date, try
Death Records
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Church Records
Census
Military Records
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Births Between 1853 and 1912

In 1863, West Virginia was created a state from Virginia. Earlier in 1853, Virginia passed a law requiring counties to record births although not all counties complied or continued to record them on a consistent basis. Statewide registration of births began in 1917. From 1853-1879, about 15% of the births were recorded; from 1880-1920, coverage increased to about 65%. If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below, try searching for birth information in other records.

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

Index and Digital Images

Try First:
1853-1912 West Virginia, Births, 1853-1930 at FamilySearch Free; index and digital images of birth records; 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
Try Second:
1853-1912 West Virginia, Births, 1853-1930 at West Virginia Division of Culture and History website free; index and digital images of birth records; most counties go to 1930: list of county coverage (right side of the screen); collection also contains delayed birth records
Can't find your person in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No birth record for your person? Other records with birth information
Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births Between 1913 and 1969

STEP ONE: Check these counties

If your ancestor was born in the following counties, use the databases listed below:

  • Calhoun County - records online to 1937
  • Gilmer County - records online to 1937
  • Hardy County - records online to 1937
  • Harrison County - records online to 1928
  • Mineral County - records online to 1937
  • Pendleton County -records online to 1930
Try First:
West Virginia, Births, 1853-1930 at FamilySearch Free; index and digital images of birth records; 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
Try Second:
West Virginia, Births, 1853-1930 at West Virginia Division of Culture and History website free; index and digital images of birth records; most counties go to 1930: list of county coverage (right side of the screen); collection also contains delayed birth records

STEP TWO: Other Resources

If your county is not covered in the above counties, use the following indexes to locate your ancestor's birth date. To obtain the actual birth record, go to Step Two, Part A.

Index Only

1853-1969 West Virginia, Births Index, 1853–1969 at Ancestry.com
Ancestry Subscription version - $
Ancestry Library edition - free at FamilySearch Centers and Library

Can't find your person in the index?

STEP THREE: Obtain the Certificate

If locate your person in the index, you can order a copy of the birth certificate for a fee from the West Virginia Department of Health office.


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 know the exact date of death:
For a fee, the Vital Registration office will do a 3 year search.


Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births After 1969

If you know the exact date of birth, you can order a copy of the certificate if you are:

  • 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 are one of those listed above, you can order a copy of the birth certificate for a fee from the Vital Registration office.

If you do not know the exact date of death:
For a fee, the Vital Registration office will do a 3 year search.

Return to top: Choose another birth year



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