West Virginia Church Records

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny, in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the West Virginia Family History Research series.
History of West Virginia
West Virginia Vital Records
Census Records for West Virginia
Background Sources for West Virginia
West Virginia Maps
West Virginia Land Records
West Virginia Probate Records
West Virginia Court Records
West Virginia Tax Records
West Virginia Cemetery Records
West Virginia Church Records
West Virginia Military Records
West Virginia Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
West Virginia Archives, Libraries, and Societies
African Americans of West Virginia
West Virginia Coal Mining
West Virginia County Resources
Map of West Virginia


With the arrival of English and Scots-Irish settlers came West Virginia’s early dominant religions. Many families of English origin were Quakers; the Scots-Irish were Presbyterians. Both religions were well established by 1740, and they were followed by Baptists who settled in Berkeley County in 1743 and a Methodist circuit in Berkeley and Jefferson counties in 1778. For a complete discussion of early church records, see Virginia Church Records.

Since colonial times dozens of religious groups have established congregations in West Virginia including the following: Baptist, West Virginia Baptist Historical Society, Rt. 2, Box 304, Ripley, WV 25271; Methodist, Methodist Historical Society, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Annie M. Pfeiffer Library, College Ave., Buckhannon, WV 26201; Roman Catholic, Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston, P.O. Box 230, Wheeling, WV 26003; Episcopal, Episcopal Diocese of WV, 4032 MacCorkle Ave. SW, Charleston, WV 25309-1510; and United Brethren, Historical Library, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 (denominations).

Many religious groups have deposited their records at the West Virginia and Regional History Collection. Church record inventories compiled as part of the Historical Records Survey are available there and at The Family History Library (FHL).

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