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A responsible and effective records management program assures the retention and protection of the public records created by or for or on behalf of the State of West Virginia. The County Records Management Manual is intended as a guide for all employees in the state's 55 counties who share in the creation, maintenance, and disposition of records. It is designed to be the standard that keepers of public records housed in the 55 counties are to follow. However, all records systems are in a constant state of change, and exceptions and extenuating circumstances will influence - sometimes negatively, but often positively - the methods outlined here. The State Archives and its staff are ready to assist every county with the implementation of the foregoing procedures and/or to help solve any dilemmas that arise because these standards and procedures cannot be met.

This manual will be updated from time to time. The forms included in the manual, and the other specific procedures will undergo constant scrutiny to assure county officials that the standards are beneficial for keeping the historical records of West Virginia in excellent condition. When updated pages will be forwarded to the counties, they will be numbered so that removal of the old page(s) and insertion of the new can be easily accomplished.

NOTE: This publication intends to prepare all creators and custodians of records to be in compliance with the state statutes regarding records keeping in West Virginia. Any deviation from any of the procedures included in this manual needs first to be approved by the State Archivist in order to avoid penalties as proscribed by law.


The Secretary of the Department of Administration is considered the "State Records Administrator" (W. Va. Code 5A-8-5) and is charged with the responsibility of establishing "standards, procedures, and techniques for effective management of records" in West Virginia. The State Records Administrator also collects continuing surveys and reports from agencies to assess records keeping operations, makes recommendations for improvements in records management practices, establishes state records retention schedules, and determines which records are deemed "essential," among other duties described in 5A-8-7 of the West Virginia Code.

This manual has been commissioned by The Records Management and Preservation Board (RMPB) of the WV Department of Administration, a committee that serves an advisory role to the Secretary of the Department of Administration and performs other duties set forth in the Public Records Management and Preservation of Essential Records Act (5A-8-1 ff). The board is composed of nine members: The Commissioner of the Division of Culture and History serves as chairperson; one member is the Administrator of the Court of Appeals; one member is the Administrator of the Governor's Office of Technology (or her or his designee); and six members are appointed by the Governor: a Clerk of the County Commission, a circuit court clerk, a county commissioner, a prosecuting attorney, an attorney experienced in mineral title and real estate examination, and a representative of a local historical or genealogical society. The staff of the board consists of the Director of the Section of Archives and History of the Division of Culture and History and such persons as he or she may call upon for assistance.


Joseph N. Geiger, Jr.
WV Division of Culture and History
Archives and History Section
Building 9, The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305-0300
(304) 558-0230
Fax: (304) 558-4193

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Created 2 September 2003
All or part of this handbook may be reproduced for non-commercial educational or training purposes.

Records Management and Preservation Board