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Home ›› Resources ›› Public Records ›› West Virginia

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West Virginia Public Records

West Virginia Public RecordsWest Virginia is one of the smaller states in the U.S., which did not become an official state until it broke away from Virginia during the Civil War.  Today, this state boasts an estimated population of just over 1.8 million people. Finding pieces of West Virginia history often involves looking up public records in Virginia that offer vital facts about the people who were born, married and died in this state.

Launching a public records search in West Virginia must begin with a collection of information about where these records are held.  The West Virginia Department of Health is the primary location for many West Virginia vital records, which also includes much of the genealogical data as well.  The West Virginia Archives and History office provides an additional glimpse into the history of the state, through archived records that can be accessed right on the Internet in some cases. This state is working to make public records searches in West Virginia as quick and efficient as possible. Before beginning a public records search in Virginia, keep these tips in mind:

  • Most of the vital records for West Virginia are currently stored at the state’s Department of Health.
  • These records can be accessed in person, by phone or mail, or online.
  • Access to some public records in West Virginia is restricted under state law.
  • Processing time for documents varies, based on the method used to request records.
  • Additional files can be found through the West Virginia Archives and History office.
  • Eligibility for West Virginia Public Records

    Like other states across the country, West Virginia limits access to some public records under state law. Birth records in West Virginia may be obtained by the person on the document or immediate family members of that individual. Additional persons may request the records if they can show legal reason for doing so.  West Virginia death records are also restricted to immediate family members of the deceased, the funeral director or anyone who can show legal interest in the document. Marriage records in West Virginia are restricted to the bride and groom listed on the license, as well as their children.

    Birth records become open to the public 100 years after the date of birth. Death and marriage records are available to the general public 50 years after the date of the event. At that time, anyone can retrieve the records for genealogical or personal reasons.

    West Virginia Public Records Search: Best Locations

    The majority of public records in West Virginia may be found at the Department of Health and Human Resources Health Statistics Center. This government agency stores all birth and death records from 1917 to present, marriage indexes from 1924, marriage records from 1964 and divorce indexes from 1967. Indexes provide minimal information about the event, for events where insufficient information was available to create an authentic certificate. Those who need a West Virginia marriage certificate prior to 1964 will need to contact the county clerk’s office where the event took place.

    Additional vital records for West Virginia can be found at the office of the West Virginia Archives and History. This office provides online West Virginia public records searches for birth, death and marriage records in the state. Scanned images of the original documents are available for perusal and printing, although official copies will still need to be ordered from the Health Statistics Center. In addition to these vital records, the Archives and History also provides information on Civil War records, naturalization records, periodicals and state documents.

    Online Public Records in West Virginia

    Conducting a public records search in West Virginia is not as easy as in other states, but there are options. While the Health Statistics Center doesn’t offer online services directly, the agency has partnered with VitalChek to make this option available to interested individuals. VitalChek is used by many states and allows researchers to search for vital records and request copies from the comfort and privacy of any location with Internet access. Turnaround for documents is typically much faster than through other methods. There is an additional fee for using the VitalChek service.



     
    State of West Virginia Resources & Statistics
    Separator Line

    Population:
    1,468,814

     
    Under 18:
    387,381

     
    Over 65:
    280,666

     
    Employed:
    927,285

     
    Land in Square Miles:
    24,077.73

     
    Acres of Farms:
    3,668,584

     
    Births:
    20,836

     
    Deaths:
    20,780

     
    Infant Deaths:
    81

     
     
    Murder:
    60

     
    Forcible Rape:
    362

     
    Robbery:
    889

     
    Assault:
    3,657

     
    Total Violent Crime:
    4,968

     
    Burglary:
    11,066

     
    Larceny \ Theft:
    32,337

     
    Motor Vehicle Theft:
    3,204

     
    Total Property Crime:
    46,607

     
    West Virginia Public Records Locations
    Department of Public Safety
    Traffic Records Section
    725 Jefferson Rd
    South Charleston, WV 25309-1698
    Phone:
    304-746-2128

    Fax:
    304-746-2206










    Attorney General's Office
    State Capitol Bldg
    1900 Kanawha Blvd. Rm 26E
    Charleston, WV 25305-9924
    Phone:
    304-558-2021

    Fax:
    304-558-0140










     
    Bureau for Public Health
    Vital Records
    350 Capitol St, Rm 165
    Charleston, WV 25301-3701
    Phone:
    304-558-2931

     
    304-558-9100

    Fax:
    304-558-1051










    Sec. of State - Business Organizations Division
    1900 Kanawha Blvd E
    State Capitol Bldg 1, Room 151 K
    Charleston, WV 25305-0770
    Phone:
    304-558-8000

    Fax:
    304-558-5758










     
    State Police
    Criminal Records Section
    725 Jefferson Rd
    South Charleston, WV 25309
    Fax:
    304-746-2209

    Records:
    304-746-2179










    Bureau for Public Health
    Vital Records
    350 Capitol St, Rm 165
    Charleston, WV 25301-3701
    Phone:
    304-558-2931

     
    304-558-9100

    Fax:
    302-343-2169










     
    Division of Motor Vehicles
    1800 Kanawha Blvd
    Building 3, Rm 124, State Capitol Complex
    Charleston, WV 25317
    Phone:
    304-558-4444

     
    304-558-3915

    Fax:
    304-558-0465










    WV Dept of Education
    GED Office
    1900 Kanawha Blvd E, Bldg 6, Rm 250
    Charleston, WV 25305-0330
    Phone:
    304-558-6315

    Fax:
    304-558-4874










     
    Governor's Office
    Office of the Governor
    1900 Kanawha Blvd, East
    Charleston, WV 25305-0370
    Phone:
    304-558-2000

     
    888-438-2731

    Fax:
    304-342-7025










    Division of Natural Resources
    Licensing Division
    Capitol Complex, Bldg 3, Room 624
    Charleston, WV 25305
    Phone:
    304-558-2758

    Fax:
    304-558-6208










     
    West Virginia Division of Corrections
    Records Room
    112 California Ave, Bldg 4, Room 300
    Charleston, WV 25305
    Phone:
    304-558-2037

    Fax:
    304-558-5934










    West Virginia State Legislature
    State Capitol Complex
    Documents - RmMB-27
    Charleston, WV 25305
    Phone:
    304-347-4830

     
    877-565-3447

    Fax:
    304-347-4901










     
    Bureau for Public Health
    Vital Records
    350 Capitol St, Rm 165
    Charleston, WV 25301-3701
    Phone:
    304-558-2931

    Fax:
    304-343-2169










    State Police Headquarters
    Sexual Offender Registry
    725 Jefferson Rd
    South Charleston, WV 25309
    Phone:
    304-746-2133

    Fax:
    304-746-2402










     
    Division of Culture & History
    Archives & History Section
    Bldg 9, 1900 Kanawha Blvd E
    Charleston, WV 25305-0300
    Fax:
    304-558-4193










    Administrative Office
    State Supreme Court of Appeals
    1900 Kanawha Blvd, Bldg 1, Rm E 100
    Charleston, WV 25305-0830
    Phone:
    304-558-0145

    Fax:
    304-558-1212










     
    Sec. of State - UCC Division
    Bldg 1, Suite 157-K
    1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
    Charleston, WV 25305-0440
    Phone:
    304-558-6000

    Fax:
    304-558-5758










    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Records Unit
    1606 Washington St East
    Charleston, WV 25311
    Phone:
    304-558-0282

    Fax:
    304-558-1012










     
    Sec of State - Election Division
    Bldg 1 #157-K
    1900 Kanawha Blvd E
    Charleston, WV 25305
    Phone:
    304-558-6000

    Fax:
    304-558-0900