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Spotlight: West Virginia Archives and History

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Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

There are two searchable collections on the West Virginia Archives and History website. Links to these collections can be found on the lower half of the page under the Explore Archives and History heading. They are:


Births, Deaths, and Marriages
Click on the Births, Deaths, and Marriages (databases) link on the main page to open the vital records project database page. As noted in the article on the project, the West Virginia Vital Research Records Project is a collaborative project of West Virginia State Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). The majority of the records that are eligible to be uploaded to the database have been; however more records are being added when possible. Births and deaths were first reported to the counties in Virginia/West Virginia in 1853. Marriages have been recorded in the counties since their inception.


Click on the link to the database (Birth, Death, or Marriage) you would like to explore to open the search page. Each of the databases can be searched by name, first and last. Searches can be limited to a specific county and/or year or range of years. Results include name, date of the event, county and a link to a page image in the records. Click on the name link to open a detailed record. For birth records, the data fields include name, date and place of birth, sex, parents' names and ages, and even maternal and paternal grandparents' names. For deaths, the data fields include name, sex, death date, death place, age at death, burial place and date, cemetery, funeral home, birth date and place, marital status, spouse’s name, occupation, address, residence, mother’s name and birth place, father’s name and birth place, and informant’s name. For marriage records the data fields include date and place or the marriage, bride’s and groom’s names, birth date, birth place, age at marriage, marital status prior to marriage, and parents' and grandparents' names. Click on the image link to view a digitized image of the record.


West Virginia Memory Project
Click on the West Virginia Memory Project (databases) link on the main page to open the memory project’s main page. There are a number of searchable databases in the West Virginia Memory Project collections. Among the collections are:


John Brown
In December 1999, the West Virginia State Archives placed online a database of materials pertaining to John Brown from the Boyd B. Stutler Collection. The papers of Mr. Stutler (1889–1970), a recognized authority on John Brown, were acquired by the State of West Virginia. The State Archives have digitized more than 20,000 pages of material from the Stutler Collection and linked them to fully searchable descriptive text. The database contains more than 100 original John Brown letters and manuscripts, family letters, and three books of business letters, as well as several hundred letters of Brown's associates and biographers. In addition, pictorial materials from the collection are available.


Click on the Militia link to access Civil War records from the State Adjutant General's Office of West Virginians who served in Union militia units. The records include muster cards, muster rolls, forms and requisitions, and correspondence. Click on the Finding Aid link to view the list of boxes in the collection and their contents. Click the folder numbers that are active links to view an image of that document. There are links to selected letters, which have been digitized, and to rosters for five counties (Calhoun County, Marshall County, Ohio County, Pleasants County, and Upshur County), which have been transcribed. You can search the database by first name, last name, and military unit. You can search for keywords and limit your search to a specific county.


The Photograph Collection includes more than 100,000 images on a variety of subjects in the West Virginia’s history. Currently, photographs from ten collections are available in the online database. They started the project with the Coal Life collection and the most recently uploaded collection is the Chester Webb collection, which contains more than 800 photographs of “Civilian Conservation Corps activities in and around Camp White in Pendleton County and views taken in the Huntington and Cabell County area.” You can search the database by keywords, location and people. Searches can be limited by collection and topic.


Click on the History Center link on the homepage to access other resources including online photographic exhibitions, audio / video presentations and resources on a number of different subjects, including a photo exhibit related to the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Posted by Ellie Spinney at 06/30/2011 09:39:22 AM | 

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