West Virginia
Archives & History News
Volume II, No. 10
December 2001


From the Editor:

Whether you prefer to pick up gifts in person or order by mail, consider giving West Virginia History as a holiday gift. The new 1999-2000 issue and assorted back issues (some on sale!) are available. Mining Your History Foundation offers fifteen-generation genealogy charts for $2.00 each which would be great stocking stuffers for the genealogist in the family! If you are the family historian, consider filling out a chart as much as you can and presenting the younger generation of your family with the gift of their own heritage. If you are able to visit us at the Cultural Center in Charleston, don't forget to take advantage of our expanded hours, particularly in the evening.


By Susan Scouras

Whether you use the Archives and History Library in person, or explore our indexes and services available on-line through, we will provide some tips and information to guide you in making the best use of your time and in locating information you may not find on your own. The goal of the Archives and History Library staff is to make the many components of the collection available to our patrons, and to direct Library users to the sources and services they need.

The West Virginia Union Catalog

First, let's take a look at the West Virginia Union Catalog, searchable on the Internet through computers in the Archives and History Library Reading Room, through computer connections in most West Virginia libraries, or from any computer with Internet access. To search from home or from a library which does not belong to the Union Catalog, use the featured link on our Web site at, or type in The catalog can be searched by author, title, subject and keyword. If a title is held by the Archives and History Library (coded as WVCA) or by the West Virginia State Library Commission Library (coded as WVLC), the holdings will appear in boxes at the bottom of the screen when the search is conducted from either of the two libraries or on the Internet link. In any other library across the state, that particular library's holdings will be identified in the same way. If the title is held by another library, click on "Locations" to see the codes for the library or libraries that have that book in their collections. An alphabetical list of the library codes is on the lefthand portion of the Web page. By clicking on a library code, you will find the name, address, phone number and often links to that library's Web site. You will have all the information you need to contact the library yourself, or to have your local library request an inter-library loan for you. Please be advised that the Archives and History Library generally does not inter-library loan materials from its collection.

Whenever materials are not available through inter- library loan, ask if the library has research services available by mail or e-mail. If you are unable to visit the library in question, and if the library does not offer research services, you may want to request a copy of the Archives and History Library Researchers List. Many of the professional researchers who have requested to be placed on our list for distribution to the public are willing to travel to do research.

The Archives and History Library does not endorse anyone as a researcher. As a service to those who are unable to visit the Archives and History Library in person or who require more extensive work than we are able to complete in response to a typical research request letter, we provide names and addresses of researchers who have notified us that they are available to research for a fee only. If you have a problem with any individual or group on our Researchers list, please contact us.

We also suggest you write or e-mail the genealogical/historical society in the area in which the library is located and ask if anyone in the group does research for others. Remember to include your telephone number and e-mail address when you write in case there are questions. The local library should be able to provide information on area groups. If not, you can request our list of West Virginia Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Societies, or check our Web site under "Historical Societies and Repositories," as listed by county in the "Archives" section (

Subject searches can be tricky if you are not familiar with library subject heading rules and practices. For information on an individual person, type in the last name first. To look for titles about a family, type in "Smith family." Usually alternate spellings will have cross-references, but not always. Be sure to search for variations in spelling of surnames, such as "Lock," "Loch," "Lach," and "Locke" family. For a West Virginia county, type in the name of the county. Most information related to a county will have some type of subject heading beginning with the county name. Two types of records in particular can also be found by searching the type of record, followed by the state name, then the county name. Example: "Registers of Births, etc.-West Virginia-Kanawha County,"and "Cemeteries-West Virginia-Kanawha County." (Note: do not type in the quotation marks and hyphens in the examples given, just type in the words with a space between words.)

To search by title, omit "A," "An" or "The" if that is the first word in the title. The cataloging system ignores those works if the title was entered properly, and will not find the title if "The," etc., is typed in as the first word. For example, to locate "The Harper Family" family history book, type in "Harper Family" as the title. If the title of the book is "A History of the Allerton Family," type in "History of the Allerton Family."

When searching for a specific author, type in the surname, then the first name or initial. Variations in an author's name may or may not be cross-referenced. If you are searching for works by Stan Cohen, you will find some of them under "Cohen, Stan," "Cohen, Stan B." and "Cohen, Stanley B." Be sure to check all variables to find all works by a single author.

Keyword searches will bring up the word or words entered if they appear anywhere in the entry, whether in the title, subtitle, subject headings, or cataloging notes. A Boolean search that allows you to better define a search is also possible. If you are a patient and persistent (or desperate!) researcher, a keyword or Boolean search may pay off, particularly if the original cataloger of the title was not genealogy- oriented. For instance, buried in the 1,325 hits brought up in a keyword search for the name "Barker" was a work titled The Joseph Barker, Jr. Home, a report prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would be very interesting to a Barker family researcher. Neither "Barker family" nor "Barker, Joseph" was listed as a subject heading, until I came across the entry and added "Barker family" to the catalog entry. (In addition to editing the newsletter, my duties include cataloging newly received materials and making corrections to the VTLS West Virginia Union Catalog as needed.) A subject search under "Barker" would not have found this report.

A keyword search could turn up family names used as middle names or maiden names used with married surnames that were not added to the catalog as subject headings. The only subject heading for the title Some Descendants of James and Sarah (Ravenscroft) Jones was "Jones family." A keyword search for "Ravenscroft" would have located this title even though "Ravenscroft family" was not a subject heading in the catalog. The subtitle of this book is "including separate sections of the connecting families of Ravenscroft, Collins, Hickman, Richards and Cain." When I came across the entry, I added all of these names as subjects, but I will never be able to find all such situations, and in the case of books covering more than five or six surnames, I would not be able to add all of them as subjects in most instances. Again, with patience and persistence, you may be able to locate valuable information using a keyword or Boolean search that you would not find otherwise.

Library Reading Room

If you are a patron of the Archives and History Library Reading Room, also referred to as the Search Room, here are a few guidelines to organization and use of materials found in the Reading Room itself:

Library Staff is Here to Help

The main thing to remember is that the Archives and History Library staff is here to help you. If you can not locate the information you need, ask the staff. If the staff member does not know the answer to your question, he or she will find someone who does. We want to make the West Virginia Archives and History collection accessible for all.


Two free one-hour parking spaces have been assigned for visitors to the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.


2001 Annual Report: West Virginia University Foundation, 2001.

APG Directory of Professional Genealogists: Association of Professional Genealogists, 2001. Spirit Led and Free to Be: Jacqueline M. Yohe, 1999.

More Than Penny Candy: Dolly Withrow, 2001.

Not to Be Forgotten: Prestonians Who Died in Vietnam 1965-1970: Dorothy Bonafield Snyder, 2001.

Crucial Land Battles: David Phillips, 1996.

Southern Revenge!: Civil War History of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: Greater Chamber of Commerce of Shippensburg, PA, 1989.

Appalachian Ghost Stories, and Other Tales: James Gay Jones, 1975.

Outhouse Humor: Billy Edd Wheeler, 1988.

Through the Mill Door and Beyond: Trail Guide to Babcock State Park: Emily Grafton, 1997.

Pearl Harbor: The Way It Was, December 7, 1941: Scott C. S. Stone, 2001.

History of Gallia County: Containing a Condensed History of the County; Biographical Sketches; General Statistics; Miscellaneous Matters &c.: Reprinted from Historical Hand Atlas by H. H. Hardesty & Co., c1882, 1976.

An Every Name Index to H. H. Hardesty's 1882 History of Gallia County, Ohio: Mary Ann Wood, c1976, 1988.

Don't Close Your Eyes: Carlene Thompson, 2000.

Marriage Records, 1851-1900: Gallia County, Ohio: Michael L. Trowbridge, 1986.

Marriage Records, 1803-1850, Gallia County, Ohio: Michael L. Trowbridge, 1983.

Index to Gallia County, Ohio Will and Estates 1803-1900: Gallia County Genealogical Society, c1989, 2000.

Gallia County, Ohio Birth Records: Michael L. Trowbridge, 1993.

Gallia County, Ohio Death records: Ann H. Brown, 1998.

The Damned Dog Died, Oscar and Other Stories: A Collection of Newspaper Columns by Contemporary American Writers: Bob and Sally Batz, 1979. [Contains articles by the late Jim Dent, Charleston newspaper columnist.]

West Virginia Studies: Our Heritage: William Thomas Doherty, 1984.

West Virginia: Our State, 2000 C.E.: Tony L. Williams, 2nd ed., 1997.

West Virginia Government: William E. Coffey, Carolyn M. Karr and Frank S. Riddel, 1983.

Dissertations on Microfilm

Leaving Clear Fork Valley: A Story of Appalachian Migration: Everett A. Lilly, 1997.

Monacans and Mountaineers: A Comparative Study of Colonialism and Dependency in Southern Appalachia: Samuel Robert Cook, 1997.

Political Culture in the Lower Shenandoah Valley: Frederick County, Virginia, 1836-1961: Michael J. Gorman, 1997.

Tapping the Big Vein: Coal Mining and Environmental Alteration in Maryland's Appalachian Region, 1789-1906: Geoffrey Littlefield Buckley, 1997.

Fertilizing the Weeds: The New Deal's Rural Poverty Program in West Virginia: Kevin J. Cahill, 1999.

"To Make the Crooked Ways Straight and the Rough Ways Smooth": The Federal Government's Role in Laying Out and Building the Cumberland Road: Billy Joe Peyton, 1999.

Ladies and Gentlemen on Display: Planter Society at the Virginia Springs, 1790-1860: Charlene Marie Lewis, 1997.

This newsletter is a publication of :

The Division of Culture and History
Archives and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
(304) 558-0230
Nancy P. Herholdt, Commissioner

"West Virginia's Architects and Builders" 2002 Calendar

The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has published a 13-month full-color calendar with photographs of historic structures, monuments and archaeological sites across the state. SHPO, a part of our parent agency, the Division of Culture and History, has provided copies of the free calendar for distribution to patrons of the Archives and History Library. To request a copy of the calendar to be mailed to you contact:

Lora Lamarre
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
(304) 558-0220, Ext. 711

1890 Census Supplement Project

The World Genealogy Project, accessible at, has announced that all of the information provided to date for the 1890 Census Supplement Project has been put on-line for free viewing. The intent of the project is to collect family household data circa 1890 using submissions by genealogists and researchers in order to recreate the information that would have been provided in an 1890 Census. Currently over 6,800 households have been identified for the data base. The Web site list can be searched by surname. A corresponding book is offered for sale on the Web site. The book contains lists of surname by state, maiden names when known, and married women by first name when maiden name is unknown. While the on-line household entries do not provide the name of the submitting researcher, the book lists contributors along with the family numbers for the information they supplied. As always, we advise caution when using information from secondary sources. Lists such as this one can help a researcher bridge a gap, but should be documented as much as possible with primary sources such as birth, death and marriage records, etc. Whenever possible, contact the contributor and ask for documentation.


Thank you to Shirley Parsons, Charleston, for the donation of new and used West Virginia history and literature books. When shopping yard sales and used book sales, Ms. Parsons always keeps her eyes open for possible donations to the Archives and History Library. We appreciate her efforts very much. Pat Pleska donated the volumes of Gallia County, Ohio, records listed in the New Title List this month. We try to collect a few non-West Virginia records for border state counties.

Article from the January 18, 1911
Charleston Daily Mail

"During the session of the State legislature the department of Archives and History will be open from 8 o'clock in the morning until 5 in the afternoon, and from 7 until 10 o'clock at night. The rule requiring the department to remain open during the evening hours applies only to the time the legislature is in session, and the hours are fixed so as to accommodate the members of the legislature, their relatives and friends, visitors in the city and the public, generally. State Archivist and Historian Virgil Lewis accords all a hearty invitation to visit the department at this time. Especially is a visit during the evening hours of interest. The rooms are brilliantly lighted by electricity, are comfortably warmed, and the many interesting displays present a doubly interesting appearance at night. The department of Archives and History is located in the Capitol Annex and it is by far the most interesting department to the visitor in the city." [Editor's note: Not only are the Library and the State Museum regularly open weekday evenings now, the antique display case recently placed in the Archives Library Reading Room is from the original Archives facility described here.]


9:00 a.m. 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
9:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Holiday hours as posted.

Staff Copy Service and the Microfilm Storage Room will close one half hour prior to closing each day. Archives and History office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is closed on all state holidays. Please make viewing arrangements for manuscript, photograph, moving images and other special collections during regular office hours.



"WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON": A Collection of West Virginia War Letters. Exhibit in the Archives and History Library, The Cultural Center, Charleston.

"A STRINGS MUSICALE," DECEMBER 16. Concert, WV Independence Hall, Wheeling.

CHRISTMAS EVE, DECEMBER 24. Archives Library will be open 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.*

CHRISTMAS DAY, DECEMBER 25. Archives Library will be closed.

NEW YEAR'S EVE, DECEMBER 31. Archives Library will be open 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.*

NEW YEAR'S DAY, JANUARY 1, 2002. Archives Library will be closed.

HISTORY DAY 2002, FEBRUARY 28, 2002. Capitol Complex, Charleston.

*Only the Archives Library will be staffed--all other Archives offices will be closed. The State Museum will be open any time the Archives Library is open. The West Virginia Library Commission Library in the Cultural Center is closed weekends and all holidays.


Annual History Day will be Thursday, February 28, 2002. Once again, organizations statewide with an interest in preserving and disseminating West Virginia history will converge on the Capitol to demonstrate to the state legislature and to the general public the importance of people, places and events prominent in West Virginia's history. Please start planning your displays and begin thinking about who you think should be designated a West Virginia History Hero.


Fredrick Armstrong: Director
Debra Basham: Archivist (photographs, special collections)
Constance Baston: Researcher (Veterans Memorial Archive)
Greg Carroll: Historian (Civil War, Native American history)
Dick Fauss: Archivist (microfilm and moving images)
Elaine Gates: Library Assistant (microfilming and microfilm repairs)
Joe Geiger: Historian (Web page)
Ed Hicks: Photographer (archival photography, darkroom)
Mary Johnson: Historian (West Virginia History)
Terry Lowry: Library Assistant (Civil War)
Jaime Lynch: Library Assistant (records of the 1700's and early 1800's, Pennsylvania)
Cathy Miller: Library Assistant (WV State documents, periodicals)
Sharon Newhouse: Secretary
Harold Newman: Library Assistant (microfilming, Revolutionary War)
Pat Pleska: Manager (Veterans Memorial Archive)
Susan Scouras: Librarian (cataloging, Kentucky, library collection, newsletter editor)
Bobby Taylor: Library Manager
Nancy Waggoner: Office Assistant

Working on special projects: Allen Fowler. Intern: Ethan Byer. Volunteers: Caroline Connor, Bill Kelley, Dale Newhouse, and Angela Tolbert.

Archives and History News

West Virginia Archives and History