Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Research

The western counties of Virginia separated from that state when it seceded in 1861. Those counties combined as West Virginia and became the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

Library of Congress, “...Boy beginning career as 'picker'...” color digital file from black and white negative, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, (  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.01054 : accessed 17 Jul 2014), Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-74043

Library of Congress, “…Boy beginning career as ‘picker’…” color digital file from black and white negative,
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog,  (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.01054 : accessed 17 Jul 2014), Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-74043

Here are 5 things you might not know about West Virginia:

  1. In 1756, the first public spa opened in Berkeley Springs.
  2. Almost 3/4 of the state is covered by forests.
  3. The first rural mail delivery started in 1896 in Charles Town and then spread throughout the U.S.
  4. The concept of advertising outdoors originated in Wheeling in 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with: “Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch.” Mail Pouch Tobacco was first produced in Wheeling in 1879.
  5. The only residence built entirely of coal and aptly named Coal House is located in White Sulphur Springs.
Our new free state guide, “West Virginia Research Guide: Family History Sources in the Mountain State,” has an overview and timeline of the state, along with resources to explore when searching for your West Virginia ancestors. If your ancestors hail from West Virginia, you should also check out the “Virginia Research Guide: Family History Source in the Old Dominion State.”
Guides for other states are also available in the Learning Center under Free State Research Guides.

About Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.

3 Comments

Finn S Hansen 

I believe that you will find that Charles Town, which is in the Eastern part of West Virginia, is a different town than Charleston which is further West.

July 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm
Anne Gillespie Mitchell 

Finn, you are absolutely correct. :-) I have updated the post. Thank you for pointing that out!

July 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm
Elaine Hodges 

West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863.

July 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm