If you are considering using West Virginia cemetery records for your ancestry work or to learn about the history of your own family, you should be aware of how useful they can be. In fact, West Virginia cemetery records can help in ways where other records sometimes cannot. West Virginia Cemetery and gravestone inscriptions are a rich source of information for family historians. For Definitions of all Cemetery Terms See Symbols on Gravestones and Their Interpretations
You can use West Virginia cemetery records if you are unable to use census records or if you are looking for dates before a census.
West Virginia cemetery records are often full of details you may not be able to retrieve in any other way. These records often include a full legal name and data about when and where a person was born. This also includes names of other relatives or at least a spouse.
West Virginia cemetery records can often times be traced back for earlier dates than other types of vital records. While most states didn’t keep organized records until around 1900, cemeteries can be traced back to the 1600s in many cases or earlier.
The point is West Virginia cemetery records can often times help where other records cannot. Some people like to use West Virginia cemetery records when other records cannot be found or used. Other people prefer to use these types of records to start with because they provide so much information.
You can find West Virginia cemetery records for private and public cemeteries. There are also two national cemeteries:
Grafton National Cemetery
West Virginia National Cemetery
If you are going to use West Virginia cemetery records, try to find out which county you need to be looking in. Too many people make the mistake of assuming the county a person lived in will be where they were buried. You may be able to track down death records that can lead you to where a person was laid to rest.
Often times a person is buried where they were born. If you can locate the county or even the state they were from, you will have more luck with your cemetery records. West Virginia cemetery records can be the best resource for family members who lived and died a long time ago.
Research In West Virginia Cemetery Records
In 1935, a Historical Records Survey (HRS) was taken. The Works Projects Administration (WPA) authorized the project, which was a division of its larger Federal Writers Project. The survey created a federal census index, as well as cemetery, military record, and vital record indexes. The HRS also created the biggest collection of grave inscriptions from West Virginia graves. Both the FHL and the West Virginia and Regional History Collection have copies of that list, which includes grave inscriptions from before 1940.
Many volumes of gravestone inscriptions and records from cemeteries have been published by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and other sources over the years. Several of those publications are housed at the FHL, and in repositories around the state of West Virginia.
Famous People Buried in West Virginia Cemeteries
Name / Date / Cemetery
Marshall University Football Team Memorial – Spring Hill Cemetery
Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, suffered collegiate sport’s worst catastrophe on November 14,1970 when a chartered jet crashed while returning the football team, coaches, athletic officials and supporters from a game with East Carolina University. Seventy five people perished during an attempted landing at Huntington’s Tristate Airport.
West Virginia Cemetery Readings, 1941(search.ancestry.com) Prepared under the direction of the Works Project Administration in 1939, this database is a collection of cemetery inscriptions from the state. Each entry provides the decedent’s name, birth date, death date, living relative, and survey date.
Web: West Virginia, Find A Grave Index, 1788-2011(search.ancestry.com) This database contains an index to cemetery and final disposition details posted on Find a Grave. Find a Grave provides users a virtual cemetery experience, with images of grave markers from around the world, as well as photos, biographies, and other details uploaded by volunteers.