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Births Pre 1863
West Virginia became a state in 1863. Before 1863, it was a part of Virginia. Virginia began recording births on the county level starting in 1852. Not every birth was registered in each county leaving gaps in the records. Before 1852, no births were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s birth date and place.
Before 1853 Search substitute records for birth information Substitutes for birth record information (from the wiki):
- Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.
- Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
- Census: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
- Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices. Also check newspaper social columns for additional information.
- Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information. In addition, soldiers' homes records can include this same information.
1853 to 1863 Not all births were recorded for every county. For those that exist, there is a free online index and digital images of birth records that were recorded on FamilySearch.org:West Virginia, Births, 1853-1930
Another version of this index is on the West Virginia Division of Culture and History website.
TIPS: If you can’t find your individual, try the following:
- Because most of the state copies of the records from 1917 to 1921 were destroyed in a fire, it is best to request vital records through 1921 from the county clerk.
- If you did not get results, type in less information about the person. Try only search for the first and last name of the person.
- If you have too many hits, try adding information including approximate birth date and the county.
- Try a different index. Different indexes use different search parameters and your ancestor may be located in one but not the other.
If you need to go back to choose another time period: click here.