SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Thanks to the help of FamilySearch Archive (Genealogy Society of Utah), searching those elusive ancestors with West Virginian origins or connections may now be just a mouse click away.
FamilySearch scanned and indexed the records and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History is hosting them online. The free database consists of millions of West Virginia births, deaths, and marriages — a goldmine for genealogists and historians.
Researchers and curiosity seekers can now search and view scanned images of original birth, death, and marriage records from six counties, as well as most statewide death certificates from 1917-54 at www.wvculture.org/vrr.
The database has more than 3.5 million names linked to 1.4 million original images of birth, marriage, and death records from Calhoun, Gilmer, Hardy, Harrison, Mineral and Pendleton counties. The record dates vary by county and type of record, but typically range from 1816 to 1929. Birth records are for the period1853-1930, county death records for 1853-1969/1970, and county marriage records from the creation of the county until the late 1960s, all of which are searchable by name, county, and date.
FamilySearch filmed, scanned, and created the automatic index at the heart of the online database. Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch, said, “Birth, marriage, and death records together in a single database are particularly attractive to researchers because multiple generations of ancestors can be found on one document, and you can track their growth and whereabouts over time as noted by births, marriages, and deaths in the family.”
All users have to do is type in an ancestor’s name to search the free database. They can also view a high quality, scanned image of the original document. The project required 2,500 volunteers and 64,000 hours to complete. West Virginia plans to add records from additional counties in the future.
FamilySearch is a nonprofit entity committed to preserving and increasing access to vital records of genealogical significance and producing high-quality products and services for the family historian. FamilySearch maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources with vital records from more than 110 countries, territories, and possessions and provides free access through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and more than 5000 branches (family history centers) in 70 countries.