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Genealogy Research: West Virginia State and County Histories

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

West Virginia History: A Bibliography and Guide to Research

The most comprehensive listing of published West Virginia local histories, state histories, and biographies, including books, pamphlets, and articles, is: Harold M. Forbes. West Virginia History: A Bibliography and Guide to Research. (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 1981.)

State Histories

General surveys of West Virginia state history include:

Charles H. Ambler & Festus P. Summer. West Virginia, The Mountain State. 2nd Edition. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall, 1958.)

Phil M. Conley & William T. Doherty. West Virginia History. (Charleston, W.V., Education Foundation 1974.)

Otis K. Rice & Stephen W. Brown. West Virginia: a history. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. 1993)

John Alexander Williams. West Virginia: a Bicentennial History. (New York: Norton. 1976)

John Alexander Williams. West Virginia: a history. (Morgantown, W.V.: West Virginia University Press. 2003)

Multi-volume state histories also include extensive coverage of local history, biography, and family history. These are significant sources for brief biographies and family histories of West Virginians of state and local prominence.

Notable works in this category include:

James M. Callahan. West Virginia Old and New. 3 vols. (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923)

Thomas C. Miller & Hu Maxwell. West Virginia and Its People. 3 vols.(New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1913),

Sylvester Myers.  Myers' History of West Virginia.2 vols. (Wheeling, W.V.: The Wheeling news lithograph company, 1915)

Oscar D. Lambert  West Virginia; its people and its progress. 3 vols. (Hopkinsville, KY: Historical Record Foundation, 1959)

Morris P. Shawkey West Virginia, in history, life, literature and industry. 5 vols. (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1928)

Local Histories

The published histories of West Virginia's communities, counties, and regions include historical, biographical, and genealogical data from the earliest settlements to the period immediately preceding the book's publication. Such local histories have been published in West Virginia since the 1870s. Notable examples of local history works include:

Peter Boyd. History of Northern Panhandle embracing Ohio, Marhall, Brooke and Hancock counties. 2 vols. (Topeka: Historical Publishing Co., 1927)

Millard Kessler Bushong. A History of Jefferson County, West Virginia. (Charles Town: Jefferson Publishing Company, 1941)

Bernard L. Butcher. Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia. 3 vols.(New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1912)

Earl L. Core. The Monongalia Story:a bicentennial history. 5 vols. (Parsons, W.V.: McClain Print co. 1974-1984)

Gibson L. Cranmer. History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and representative citizens. Chicago: Biographical Company, 1902)

Dorothy Davis. History of Harrison County, West Virginia. (Clarksburg, W.V.: American Association of University Women, 1970)

Elvin L. Judy. History of Grant and Hardy Counties, West Virginia. (Charleston, W.V.: Charleston Print Company, 1951)

W.S. Laidley. History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and representative citizens (Chicago: Richmond-Arnold pub.co., 1911)

Glen D. Lough. Now and Long Ago: a history of the Marion County area.(Morgantown, W.V.: Morgantown Printing and Binding Co., 1969)

Hu Maxwell. The History of Barbour County, West Virginia. (Morgantown, W.V.: Acme Publishing Company, 1889)

Hu Maxwell. The History of Randolph County, West Virginia. (Morgantown, W.V.: Acme Publishing Company, 1898

Hu Maxell. The History of Tucker County, West Virginia. (Kingwood, W.V.: Preston Pub. Co, 1884)

James H. Miller. History of Summers County from the earliest settlement to the present time. (Hinton, W.V.: J.H.Miller, 1908)

Oren F. Morton. A History of Preston County. 2 vols. (Kingwood, W. Va.: Journal Pub.Co., 1914)

Scott Powell. History of Marshall County from forest to fileds. (Moundsville, W.V., 1925)

West Virginia Encyclopedias

The Encyclopedia of West Virginia is an extensive online resource for the State published by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Additionally, the 51 volume West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia (Richwood, W. Va.: Jim Comstock, 1974-78) could be of use. The first 25 volumes are a traditional encyclopedia of names, places, and topics presented alphabetically. Numerous entries in these first 25 volumes refer to the second 25 volumes, which contain fuller treatment of selected subjects and reprints of important works of West Virginia history. Volume 51 is an oversized "coffee-table book" of West Virginia pictures and portraits.

West Virginia County, City and Town Histories

[see Book Locations Map for details on location in the reading room. call numbers starting at: ]

Barbour County      975.459
Berkeley County     975.497     
Boone County         975.439   
Braxton County        975.466                    
Brooke County        975.413                
Cabell County        975.442                
Calhoun County        975.429                    
Clay County        975.467            
Doddridge County    975.456            
Fayette County        975.471                
Gilmer County        975.427            
Grant County        975.375492            
Greenbrier County    975.488                
Hampshire County    975.495                
Hancock County        975.412            
Hardy County        975.493                    
Harrison County        975.457                             
Clarksburg        975.458            
Jackson County        975.431            
Jefferson County        975.499
Kanawha County        975.437        
     Charleston        975.438
Lewis County        975.461
Lincoln County        975.443
Logan County        975.444
Marion County        975.454
Marshall County        975.416
Mason County        975.433
McDowell County    975.449
Mercer County        975.474
Mineral County        975.494
Mingo County        975.448
Monongalia County    975.452            
Morgantown    975.453
Monroe County        975.478
Morgan County        975.496
Nicholas County        975.469
Ohio County        975.414              
         Wheeling    875.415
Pendleton County    975.491Pleasants County        975.421
Pocahontas County     975.487               
Preston County        975.482
Putnam County        975.435    
Raleigh County        975.473        
Randolph County        975.485    
Ritchie County        975.424    
Roane County        975.436        
Summers County        975.476
Taylor County        975.455
Tucker County        975.483        
Tyler County        975.419
Upshur County        975.462    
Wayne County        975.447    
Webster County        976.465    
Wetzel County        975.418
Wirt County        975.426        
Wood County        975.422       
Parkersburg        975.423
Wyoming County        976.445