State-wide, West Virginia birth records have been recorded since 1917 though the registrations may be incomplete until closer to 1925. Many counties kept their own records from earlier than that, and may have further records to 1852 or earlier. There was a fire at the state courthouse that destroyed records between 1917 and 1921, so those years will have to be accessed through the individual county clerk's offices as well.
West Virginia birth records are held confidential for 100 years after the date of birth, after which time they become public domain. You can get a certified copy of your own certificate, or that of someone in your immediate family only. The allowed relationships include parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, spouses or siblings. Legal representatives also have access to records.
These records are held by the Health Statistics Center, as part of the WV Department of Health and Human Resources. You can make a request to get a copy of a birth record as long as you are eligible to do so. All you need to do is submit a completed form and pay the current search fee.
The cost for a West Virginia birth record is $12 USD, which is not refunded even if the record you ask for is not found. If the clerk cannot find your record, they will search the rest of the year based on the birth date given and then also the year before and the year after. Beyond that, you will have to pay additional fees for further searching. You can pay the fee in cash if you are there in person, or send a check or money order that has been made out to "Vital Registration".
You can mail an application to their office or visit in person for faster service. The address is Health Statistics Center, 350 Capitol Street, Room 165, Charleston WV, 25301-3701 USA. In person requests are issued while you wait and mailed applications are usually processed withing 5 days though there will be extra time spend while the documents are in the mail.
The form you need to fill out for a West Virginia birth record can be picked up at the counter, or printed from their website (http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hsc/vital/forms/birthfm.pdf). Fields to be completed include the person's full name, birth date, place where they were born and both their parent's full names. Also indicate your relationship to the person's whose record you are seeking as well as your phone number and mailing address.
When trying to find older records beyond the 1921 point, you will want to contact the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. They have a large number of county indexes available online (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_bcsearch.aspx) for searched for free. The earliest records are in Taylor county, dating to 1801 but most start around the 1850s.
You can view scanned images of the original registrations, many of which are one line in a registration book and include names, parents names and residence. The handwriting can be difficult to read for some of the old West Virginia birth records though.
To request a West Virginia death certificate by mail, you can follow these steps:
Fill out the West Virginia Death Certificate form in its entirety and print it.
Make out a $12 check or money order to "Vital Registration."
Send the completed application and payment to the address listed below. Processing times for mailed requests can be in excess of 19 business days.
For more information on how to access West Virginia death records, you can contact the office using one of the following methods:
West Virginia Department of Health
350 Capitol Street
Charleston, WV 25301-3701
Requesting West Virginia Birth Records
If you need to request West Virginia birth records, then you can do so through the Health Statistics Center, a division of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. The Department maintains all vital records for the state.
Way To Order Your Record
To make ordering West Virginia birth records easier, the Department offers multiple ordering methods. Requests for West Virginia birth records can be made in person and by mail to the Department itself, or by phone, fax, and internet through a third party company.
Limitation To Placing An Order
Because of state laws, only certain parties are eligible to make request for West Virginia birth records. You must be the person listed on the record, parent or grandparent, sibling, child, or grandchild, spouse, or be able to demonstrate a legal interest in the record.