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The Church of England (now Protestant Episcopal) was the established church in Virginia (including West Virginia) from 1624 to 1786. Other major religious groups in West Virginia were the Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and United Brethren churches.
Church records from various denominations are available at the West Virginia University Library and the Archives and History Library. The Family History Library has a few original church records from West Virginia and some published histories.
Baptismal Records of St. Francis Xavier Parish, located in Parkersburg, West Virginia for the years of 1856 to 1865.
Many church records are also available at the Library of Virginia. To learn about this collection, see:
- Jewell T. Clark, and Elizabeth Terry Long. A Guide to Church Records in the Archives Branch of the Virginia State Library. Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1981. FHL Collection 975.5 K23c
Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. You can write to the following addresses to learn where their records are located.
Church Archives Inventory
The Depression-Era Historical Records Survey produced detailed inventories of existing church records for the Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and Episcopal churches. These records are helpful when trying to determine the location and existence of church records before 1940.
The Family History library has copies of these surveys available on microfilm which you can order from a local FamilySearch Center. Access these records in the Family History Library Catalog. Choose the denomination of interest.
W. Guy Tetrick also surveyed and described the records of many West Virginia churches. FHL 163930
West Virginia Baptist Historical Society
Route #2 Box 304
Ripley WV 25271
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
Early church records, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for West Virginia Wards and Branches can be found on film and are located at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The film numbers, for each ward, can be locate through the Family History Library Catalog . Or by refering to Jaussi, Laureen R., and Gloria D. Chaston. Register of Genealogical Society Call Numbers. 2 vols. Provo, Utah: Genealogy Tree, 1982. (FHL book 979.2258 A3j; fiche 6031507). These volumes contain the film numbers for many (but not all) membership and temple record films.
Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia
1608 Virginia Street East
P.O. Box 5400
Charleston, WV 25361
Most of the early parish registers are incomplete or missing, but those still existing are at the Virginia State Library. An excellent published history is:
- Peterkin, George W. A History and Record of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of West Virginia: and Before the Formation of the Diocese in 1878, in the Territory Now Known as the State of West Virginia. Charleston, West Virginia: Tribune Company, 1902. Digital version at Google Books;FHL Collection 975.4 K2p
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston serves West Virginia:
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
1300 Byron Street
P.O. Box 230
Wheeling, WV 26003
Telephone: 304-233-0880 or 1- 888-434-6237
Church of the Brethren
1451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120
- West Virginia Christian Church Directory (Church Angel.com)
- ↑ Map of the Roman Catholic Dioceses in the United States of America, Office of Catholic Schools Diocese of Columbus, accessed 3 Nov 2010.