Genealogy & Local History

"Reveal the stories of our past" banner showing historic black and white photo of people in front of a clothing shop

Kanawha County Public Library does not actively collect genealogical materials, though we do provide access to online genealogy tools. The emphasis of our physical collection is local history.

We collect the Charleston Daily Mail (1914 to current) and the Charleston Gazette (1924 to current) on microfilm held at the Main Library. Some miscellaneous film from older newspapers is also available. These collections are not indexed, so having a date is helpful.

See all newspaper holdings in our catalog

Genealogy & Biography Resources

Newspapers, Records & Histories

WV Newspaper Microfilm at The WV Archives
This is a list of the cities collected by the Archives. Clicking on the county will display their holdings for that paper.

WV Archive Vital Records Project
The Archives is digitizing historic birth, death & marriage records. This is a work in progress & more is being added.

Harden & Harden Funeral Home
The Archive is home to the Harden & Harden Funeral Home records. This is an alphabetic name listing.

Central WV Genealogy & History Library
Focus on Lewis, Harrison, Monongalia, Barbour, Randolph, Upshur, Gilmer, Ritchie, Braxton, Marion, Doddridge, Nicholas & Webster.

Library of Congress Newspapers
The Library of Congress has scanned some newspapers, which can be searched for free.

Family Search's Kanawha Page
The Family Search genealogy site has a page for Kanawha County.

Archived history information for the state of West Virginia with special sections for Civil War history and county-specific information.


Genealogy Groups in Kanawha County

Family History Center of the LDS
Offering access to some of their genealogy databases at the Family History Center on McClure Parkway. Directions at website.


Online Genealogy Resources

West Virginia GenWeb Project
Volunteer-driven project that began in 1996. Users share their family and cemetery research.

The Tombstone Project
Links to county cemetery indexes. Does overlap with information listed WVGenWeb, but includes unique records as well.

Family Search
Free genealogy resources outside of from the Latter Day Saints.

Cyndi's List (West Virginia)
Cyndi’s List is one of the earliest online internet genealogy resources. In addition to records for each state, the site also has wealth of help starting family history research.

Obituary Requests

You can request obituaries from the Charleston Daily Mail or Charleston Gazette, but only if you can provide a date of death. We do not have an index available, and obituaries are searched based on staff availability.

To request: send a letter with the name and date of death, your contact information, self-addressed stamped envelope, and one quarter for each obituary requested to:

Kanawha County Public Library
Attn: Obituary Request
123 Capitol St.
Charleston, WV 25301

Library Biography & Genealogy Resources

Oxford Reference logo

Dictionary of American Family Names

Where does you last name come from? What does it mean? It is easy to find out with this dictionary.

Gale eBooks logo

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History

Looking at the African-American experience from 1619 on.

Family Search logo


A family history website started by the Latter-day Saints for people doing genealogical research.

Access Newspaper Archive logo

Newspaper Archives

Search back issues of the Charleston, Beckley, Bluefield, Fayetteville, Morgantown and Weirton digital microfilm. Available dates vary.

West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History logo

West Virginia State Archives

The WV State Archives collection is a powerful resource for the WV genealogist and history buff.

West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History logo

West Virginia State Archives Vital Records Project

The WV State Archives vital records project is bringing historic WV birth, marriage and death records to the web.