NGS Research in the States Series: West Virginia

Beginning in 1987, the National Genealogical Society began publishing a series of state guides in the organization’s magazine, the Quarterly. These guides were later issued as special publications. The latest version of the series contains revised guides, plus additional states not included in the previous releases. NGS Research in the States Series: West Virginia was written by Barbara Vines Little.

“West Virginia’s topography ranges from the nearly impenetrable Appalachian mountains to the Ohio River flatlands. Its rivers flow east to the Atlantic Ocean and west to the Mississippi; they range from tinkling mountain streams and white water rapids to major transpiration routes on the Kanawha and Ohio rivers. Hillbilly or mountaineer; English, German, Italian or Pole; farmer, logger, miner, or businessman; Confederate or Union; the people of West Virginia are as diverse as its land. Attempting to classify or track people from such a varied background can be extremely difficult. However, with a few exceptions, the records of the state are amazingly intact. In addition to local records, numerous county and local histories, well-preserved collections of local newspapers, and other resources await the interested researcher.”

Barbara Vines Little is a certified genealogists and native to West Virginia. She has edited the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, the Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, and the MidAtlantic Germanic Society’s newsletter, Der Kurier. She has also written numerous articles for multiple genealogical publications. Her experience and expertise in land platting, tax records, neighborhood reconstruction and overall genealogical research adds to her credibility as author for this guide.

The West Virginia guide is the forth I have recently reviewed. Each is an excellent resource for anyone researching within a specific state. Here are links to the other three reviews:


Table of Contents

Historical Background

  • Jurisdictional Changes
  • Economy
    • Logging
    • Mining
    • Springs

Archives, Libraries, and Societies

  • West Virginia Archives and History Library
  • West Virginia and Regional History  Collection
  • West Virginia Societies
  • Other Libraries
  • Libraries and Archives Outside West Virginia

Major Resources

  • Aids to Research
  • Atlases, Gazetteers, and Maps
    • Gazetteers
  • Bible Records
  • Biographical Guides
  • Cemetery Records
    • West Virginia Cemetery Survey
  • Censuses and Census Substitutes
    • Non-Population Census Schedules
  • County Formation
  • Court Records
    • Colonial and State Government Records
    • Virginia Legislative Petitions
  • Directories
  • Ethnic Records
    • African Americans
    • German
    • Irish, Scots, and Scots-Irish
  • Land Records
    • Colonial and Commonwealth Records
    • State-Level Land Records
    • Local Land Records
  • Military Records
    • Colonial Period
    • American Revolution
    • War of 1812
    • Civil War
    • Civil War (Postwar Activities)
    • Militia/National Guard
    • Twentieth Century Conflicts
  • Naturalization Records
  • Newspapers
  • Probate Records
  • Religious Records
  • Tax Records
  • Vital Records
    • Historical Records Survey
    • Birth and Death Records
    • Marriage Records
    • Divorce Records
  • Women of West Virginia
  • Conclusion


These guides are an excellent resource for state by state research. Available guides, including NGS Research in the States Series: West Virginia are available from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $15.79.

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