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Genealogy Research: Specialized Handbooks, Directories and Databases

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

Specialized Handbooks

The numerous guides and handbooks books which deal with specialized aspects of genealogical research can provide essential guidance to the novice researcher as well as the experienced family historian. The following are examples of those that are available:

Elizabeth Shown Mills. Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1997.)

Noel C. Stevenson. Genealogical Evidence: A Guide to the Standard of Proof Relating to Pedigrees, Ancestry, Heirship and Family History. Revised edition. (Laguna Hills, Calif.: Aegean Park Press, 1989.)

Ancestry's Concise Genealogical Dictionary. Compiled by Maurine and Glen Harris. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1989.)

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.


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, slave narratives, photographs and more. 

Heritage Quest

This database provides access to all U.S. Census records, family and local histories, periodical articles, Revolutionary War pension records, Freedman's Bank records and the U.S. Serial Set.

Ancestry and Heritage Quest are available to all library patrons in the West Virginia and Regional History Center. Remote access is available to WVU faculty, staff, and students.