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Genealogy Research: Databases and Directories

This is a guide to conducting genealogical research at the West Virginia and Regional History Center


Unless otherwise noted, database access is available to all library patrons in the West Virginia and Regional History Center. Remote access is available to WVU faculty, staff, and students.

Ancestry (Library Edition)

This database provides access to a wide range of historical and genealogical research sources.The types of records that can be found include all United Census records and census records from other countries, vital records (births, deaths and marriages), military records, immigration records, land and probate records, obituaries, church records, directories, narratives by the enslaved, photographs and more. 


The Freedmen's Bureau

An invaluable resource for those conducting African American genealogical research. Items available include marriage records, medical records, and local census materials. This database is available through Ancestry.

Volunteers working with the Smithsonian Transcription Center have transcribed over 100,000 pages of Freedmen's Bureau Records. Interested in transcribing? Help out by working on one of these in-progress collections.



Historical documents collections, most never before available before on the Internet, relating to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, U S Presidents, historical newspapers and naturalization documents.


Heritage Quest

HeritageQuest Online combines digital, searchable images of U S federal census records with the digitized version of the popular Genealogy and Local History collection. This online database is a collection of unique material for both genealogical hobbyists and professionals.


Vital Records

Search through West Virginia Birth, Death, and Marriage certificates.


Arolsen Archives
The largest collection of information on Nazi victims


West Virginia History

Explore additional West Virginia Genealogy databases.

Resource Directories

Genealogical research almost inevitably extends to archives and research libraries beyond WVU. Included among the published guides to important sources of American records are:

United States. National Archives and Records Service. Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives. Revised. (Washington: National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1985.)

James C. Neagles. The Library of Congress: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1990.)

Christina K. Schaefer. The Center: A Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Capital Area. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1996.)

James C. Neagles. U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1994.)

The Handy Book for Genealogists: United States of America. 8th edition. (Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1991.)

Elizabeth Petty Bentley. County Courthouse Book. 2nd edition. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1995.)


Genealogical researchers can find useful advice in the numerous specialized guides for researching ancestors of a particular national or ethnic background, such as Irish-Americans, Hispanic, Italian-Americans, Polish, African Americans, English, Native Americans, etc.