Vital records, as their name suggests, are connected with central life events: birth, marriage, and death. Maintained by civil authorities, they are prime sources of genealogical information; but, unfortunately, official vital records are available only for relatively recent periods. These records, despite their recent creation in the United States, are critically important in genealogical research, often supplying details on family members well back into the nineteenth century. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, by Loretto Szucs and Sandra Luebking.
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Vital Registration, Division of Health
350 Capitol St, Rm. 165
Charleston, WV 25301-3701
Info: (304) 558-2931
Fax: (304) 343-2169
In terms of obtaining vital records, West Virginia is not an “open record” state. Access to certified copies of birth certificates is restricted to the following individuals:
- The registrant (person named on the certificate) as long as they are 18 years or older or are emancipated by court order or marriage
- Mother or father as listed on the certificate or current step-parent of registrant
- Legal guardian (submit copy of guardianship papers)
- Registrant’s spouse
- Children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc of the registrant (including half and step relationships)
- Brother or sister of the registrant (including half and step relationships)
- Mother-in-law / Father-in-law of registrant
- Son-in-law / Daughter-in-law of registrant
- Grandparents and Great-grandparents of the registrant
In addition, a legal representative of one of the above or an authorized government agency may obtain a certified copy.
Those who do not meet one of the above categories, but who can demonstrate a direct or tangible interest in the record should contact the office directly for instructions.
If you have questions, please call (304) 558-2931 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM eastern time.
Certificates will only be issued to the next of kin or to persons with a legal right to the certificate. If you have questions concerning the right to obtain a copy of a death certificate, please contact the Vital Registration Program at (304) 558-2931 .
Marriage and Divorces