West Virginia Genealogy
Guide to Ancestry and Family Tree Records

Jamestown, Virginia was settled in 1607. However, those settlers had no knowledge of what is now West Virginia. That area remained under Native American control for more than 100 more years. In 1660, Governor William Berkeley of Virginia tried to encourage explorers to investigate the area now known as West Virginia.

However, there were many barriers in their way, including battles with Native Americans, as well as a 1763 proclamation against settlement by the British Crown and conflicting French and British land claims. The first major settlement in what is now West Virginia was established in Berkeley County, Virginia, by Morgan Morgan.

British aristocrats tended to settle on Virginia’s coast, but the western part of the state, which later became West Virginia, was mainly settled by pioneers from Virginia and other states.

Over 55,000 residents are listed in the 1790 census. Around 15,000 of them were German. However, British settlements were established in the valleys of Monongahela, Kanawha, Greenbrier, and New. The Scots-Irish tended to make their homes in harsher terrain. As of 1790, less than 1% of those living in West Virginia were slaves. That was due mainly to the fact that the land in the area was not particularly good for farming or agricultural endeavors. When the Civil War ended, the African American population increased. Many of them came to West Virginia to work in the mining and railroad industries.

West Virginia Counties – The State of West Virginia was created as the 35th state on June 20, 1863. It has 55 Counties. The State of West Virginia is bordered by Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia. The West Virginia State Capital is in Charleston and the state government website is www.wv.gov.

Select a West Virginia county to view information & records pertaining to each County


West Virginia Genealogy Record Guides