FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How do I begin a search?
A: Enter into the “Document Inquiry” screen. Once there, there are two time periods for conducting a search. You will need to select one of the two following time periods: The first time period is from January 1, 1993, to the present. Our records are updated as to name(s) and summary of the document, as a document is recorded; however, the image of that document generally takes about 28 business hours to be seen. To conduct a search in this time period, click on the “Search” button.
The second time period is from December 31, 1992, going back in time to 1777. These images can be viewed; however, you will need to use the indexes of the various books to search for a document; this is explained further down under the Vault searches. To conduct a search in this time period, click on the “Vault” button.
Q: What documents am I not going to be able to view?
A: Most documents on our website are viewable, with the exception of Birth, Marriage and Death Records; these documents are not viewable. Birth records that are older than 100 years, and Marriage and Death records that are more than 50 years old, can be viewed at the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History website: www.wvculture.org. (
Q. Are plats on this website and, if so, how do I view a plat?
A. Yes, plats are on this site. Some plats are attachments to a Deed; they are indexed in the “Deed Plat Index” which can be viewed on the online search site. Other plats have been filed and recorded in Plat Books; they can be viewed by one of two ways:
First, we have indexed the plats by alphabetical name; you can search by using the “Plat Book Index” on the online search site. These documents that were recorded in Deed Books are before 1993; accordingly, you must use the “Vault” to gain access to these records. The “Vault” is on the search site, on the ribbon at the top of the screen.
Second, you can use the search site, by selecting to search by book and page (as opposed to “individual”) and then enter the plat book number and page number. To locate a plat, use the Plat Book Index and do a search by the name of the plat name; the plat will either be indexed in a Deed Book as an attachment or in a Plat Book.
Remember, if the Deed with the plat attached, was recorded before December 31, 1992, then you must continue your search in the “Vault.” If the Deed with the plat attached, was recorded on January 1, 1993, or thereafter, you will continue in the “Search” field.
If the Plat is in the “Plat Book,” follow the next few steps: (1) proceed to the “Search” page (main screen) and in the toolbar is a button titled “Image” and next to it is the “Print” button. Click on the “Image” button. The screen will change and a box will appear with “No Book” inside; type “plat” inside the box and to the right in the next box type the plat book number you want, and two boxes further to the right, type the page number you desire, then double “enter.”
PLEASE NOTE: you can zoom in and out of an image on the screen by using the zoom bar located on the bottom right of your screen.
PLEASE NOTE: if you wish to print a page, you must pay for the copy(ies). You have two choices in printing your copy. You can print a copy of the entire page by selecting “Page” or if you want to zoom into a page and print only what you see on the computer screen, then select “Visible Portion.” These options are located in the “Print” button located in the toolbar.
PLEASE FURTHER NOTE
Many of the plats listed herein are two or more pages in length. Unfortunately, when the plats were recorded they were recorded as (for example) page 36 (1 of 2 sheets), 36 (2 of 2 sheets). This method could not be duplicated on our website numbering. If you have any plat, please use the following method to verify that you have seen all of the pages of the plat. After you have the plat on your screen, use the “next” button, located on the ribbon. This button will take you to the next photo which may be the next page of the plat you are viewing, or it may be the next plat.
Q. What is the cost of a photocopy?
A. An online photocopy fee is based upon $1.00 per page regardless of the number of pages of the document or how many pages from, multiple documents. However, if you appear in the County Clerk’s Office to obtain a copy of a document, a photocopy fee is based upon a charge of $1.50 for the first two pages of a document and an additional $1.00 fee for each subsequent page of the same document. Therefore, as an example, if you come to the County Clerk’s Office to make or obtain a copy of a document, if the chosen document has three pages, the cost will be $2.50; if the document has one page, the cost is $1.50. This fee is based upon each document (not based on the total number of pages, from multiple documents, being requested).
PLEASE NOTE: if you wish to print a page, you must pay for the copy(ies). You have two choices in printing your copy. You can print a copy of the entire page by selecting “Page” or if you want to zoom into a page and print only what you see, then select “Visible Portion.” These options are located in the “Print” button located in the toolbar.
Q. Are the Land Books available to be viewed online?
A. Yes, there is a separate section on this site that is dedicated to the Land Books of Ohio County, West Virginia, from 1884 to 10 years ago. For those who do not know, Land Books are the tax records for that year. This section will be updated throughout the years. Information for the past 10 years can be viewed on www.wvpropertytaxes.com. In the middle left side of the page, you will see an outline of the State of West Virginia and its 55 counties; any county highlighted in blue has its tax records online. If the county you want is highlighted in blue, click on that county and the search page appears for that county. These records are updated instantly as taxes are paid at the Sheriff’s Tax Office for that county.
Q. Can I find someone’s Last Will and Testament on this site?
A. In West Virginia, an individual’s Last Will and Testament is not accepted for filing or recording until AFTER the individual dies. The Paper Writing purporting to be a Last Will and Testament must be brought to the Clerk’s Office for either “Lodging” or for “Probate” within 30 days of the decedent’s death or when the individual/entity learns of the decedent’s death. If there is no intent to probate the Paper Writing, then it is “Lodged” and kept by the Clerk until someone wishes to probate the Paper Writing; a “Lodged” document is indexed under the decedent’s name but the document itself is not viewable for the public to see. A “Probate” Paper Writing is recorded and is viewable to the general public, along with the Appraisement and the Settlement records (if those documents have been filed).
Beginning on July 1, 2021, the State of West Virginia created the “West Virginia Small Estate Act” under West Virginia Code §44-1A-1. This act is for the purpose of avoiding the need to “probate” a decedent’s estate. The Act only can be used if the decedent was a resident of the State of West Virginia at the time of his/her death, and if the decedent’s probate personal property does not exceed $50,000.00 and/or probate real estate values do not exceed a cumulative value of $100,000.00. The Affidavit filed under this Act does not begin a “probate” proceeding but rather avoids a “probate” proceeding. The Affidavit is recorded and is likely to be the only document filed in the Clerk’s Office regarding the decedent’s estate.
Q. Some books have at the beginning a series of “0”s followed by an alphabet letter and some have a series of “1000”s followed by an alphabet letter; what does this mean?
A. Some of the older books have indexes at the beginning and some have indexes at the end of the book. If the index begins at the front of the book, we identified the index as an “0” followed by the alphabet letter that was for that page/entry. If there were more than one page of the same alphabet letter, we identified subsequent pages with a 1 or a 2, etc.
If the index is at the end of the book, we identified that index by “1000” followed by the alphabet letter that was for that page/entry. If there were more than one page of the same alphabet letter, we identified subsequent pages with a 1 or a 2, etc.
WHEN CONDUCTING A SEARCH FROM JANUARY 1, 1993, TO PRESENT
Q: How do I get started?
A: In the toolbar, you will see a button (with binoculars) for “Search.” Click the “Search” button and insert the last name (surname) and then in the box to the right, insert the first name, then “enter.” A list of documents with the name that you selected will appear if there exists such documents within the time frame you selected. Review which document you wish to see and double-click on the image of a sheet of paper located to the left of that entry. To get out of that image, click on the exit button located in the upper right corner of the screen.
Q How can I make my searches faster or see fewer matches?
A. Essentially, there are two ways to make your search faster.
First option: you can choose “the type of a party to a document” along with the name you are searching; for example, do you want to see only the transactions in which the name you are searching is the grantor (conveyor) or the grantee (receiver), or a creditor, or a decedent, or a groom, or a bride, etc. If so, then click on the “Selections” button located on the top of the toolbar. You will then see below it a button titled “Indexes-sub”; click on the button and your options will appear for you to select. To close this box, click on the “Indexes sub” box again.
Second option: you can choose the type of document (i.e., Deeds, Liens, Estates, Oil & Gas Leases, etc.) you wish to view. At the top of the toolbar click on the “Selections” button and below on the far left, you will find the “Indexes” button; click on it. The various types of documents will appear and you can deselect the ones you do not wish to view. To close this box, click on the “Indexes” box again.
WHEN CONDUCTING A SEARCH FROM DECEMBER 31, 1992, BACK TO 1777
Q: How do I get started?
A: Once you are in “Document Inquiry” you will be able to conduct a search for records. From the toolbar select “Vault.” Select the type of book (ie: Will, Appraisement, Deed, Deed of Trust, etc.) and then insert the volume number and in the next box insert the page number. If you don’t know the book and page number, you must use the Index Book for that type of book (i.e., Will, Appraisement, Deed, Deed of Trust, etc.) and locate the information.
Q. How do I use the Index Books to find a name?
A. Generally, each set of books has its own index. Some books, like Deeds, have multiple indexes broken down into periods of time. For example, Deed Book Indexes are from 1777 to 1935, and from 1936 to 1959, and then from 1960 to 1992 (after 1992 everything is online in the “Search” portion of this website). Each book has a Grantor (the party making the conveyance) Index and a Grantee (party accepting the transfer) Index.
After selecting the Index Book you want, open it to the tab that matches the letters of the last name you wish to search. The tabs have instructions at the top of the page, explaining how to narrow your search. It will take a little practice to learn how to look up names.
PLEASE NOTE: you cannot find a conveyor’s name in a “Grantee Index;” you have to look for a conveyor’s name in the “Grantor Index.” Likewise, you cannot find a decedent’s Last Will and Testament in a “Deed Book Index;” you have to look for the Last Will and Testament in a “Will Book Index.”