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West Virginia Records

County and City Court Records

When the state of West Virginia was established in 1863, its original local records were retained in the counties. However, the Library of Virginia offers access to microfilm copies of some West Virginia county records, such as deeds, wills, court papers, marriage bonds, free negro and slave records, and fiduciary records. As to be expected, availability varies by locality.

This microfilm is available for reference use by patrons in the reading room of The Library of Virginia. This microfilm is NOT available through Interlibrary Loan. Researchers who visit the Library can make copies from this microfilm. The Library does not make copies of these records. Researchers must contact the West Virginia state archives for assistance.

Land Office Patents & Grants

The records of the Land Office include recorded copies of patents and grants issued for vacant lands in Virginia from 1623, preliminary documents (warrants, surveys, and plats) preceding the issuance of grants dated after 1779, correspondence directed to the register of the Land Office, and records of the Fairfax or Northern Neck Proprietary which existed within the Virginia’s boundaries for almost a century.

For more information, read our research notes: Virginia Land Office and Northern Neck Land Proprietary Records.

Land Taxes, 1782-1900

In 1782, an Act was passed providing for statewide enumeration of land and certain personal property. Read Using Land Tax Records in the Archives at the Library of Virginia for details on what information can be found in these records.

  • West Virginia Land Tax Lists, 1782-1900, are available on microfilm. The microfilm of these records is available for patron use in the microfilm reading room at the Library of Virginia, however, this microfilm is NOT availble through Interlibrary Loan

Personal Property Taxes

Using Personal Property Tax Records at the Library of Virginia explains what type of information can be found in these records. There is no general index to these records, which are available on microfilm. Researchers can access these records in the microfilm reading room at the Library of Virginia or through Interlibrary Loan.

Legislative Petitions

The Library of Virginia holds legislative petitions for former Virginia counties now in West Virginia. These records are on microfilm and are available in the Library's reading rooms and through Interlibrary Loan.

Vital Statistics, 1853-1862

The Library of Virginia holds original copies of vital statistics records (births, deaths, and marriages) for former Virginia counties now part of West Virginia. When the state of West Virginia was established in 1863, local records were retained in the counties. Vital statistics records cover the period from 1853 to 1862, or from the county’s formation. Complete chronological groups of records do not exist for every county. For a list of the years available, please consult Archives Research Services.

These records suffered extensive water damage and the microfilm is difficult to read, but legible. There is no index. Interlibrary Loan copies of this microfilm are available from the Library of Virginia.

  • The West Virginia State Archives initiated the Vital Research Records Project to place their original birth, death, and marriage certificates online. Some of these records can be searched and viewed at the following link: www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_select.asp

Getting Copies

The Library of Virginia can provide copies of the following West Virginia record types:

  • Personal Property taxes
  • Legislative petitions
  • Land Office Patents & Grants (also available digitally)
  • Land taxes

The Library of Virginia, however, cannot provide copies of the following records:

  • Vital records (births, deaths, & marriages)
  • County and City court records

All requests for copies of these records should be addressed to the:

Division of Culture and History
Archives and History Sections
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0300

More information on their services and fees is available here.