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Family history in the spotlight for October

October 5, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

CHARLESTON - October takes on special meaning for archaeologists, genealogists and history buffs because it has designations as National Archaeology Month, National Archives Month and Family History Month. The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will celebrate all three with programs and activities that highlight the historic and cultural heritage of our state and its residents.

"This month is a great time for us to remind people that the division has invaluable resources for research about people, places and events that have important meanings to us," Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History said. "We have online resources that are available 24 hours a day and on-site resources that allow visitors to study and learn about the topics that are of interest to them."

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville is the site of one of the largest conical burial mounds in the New World, built by the Adena People between 250 and 150 B.C. Grave Creek also is home to the state's archaeological research center, which provides a home to protect, conserve and interpret West Virginia's archaeological collections covering the last 12,000 years.

For National Archaeology Month, Grave Creek will host Archaeology Weekend today and Saturday and National Archaeology Day on Oct. 20. Both events offer free family-friendly activities and learning experience.

The West Virginia Archives and History Section, located in the Culture Center on the State Capitol Complex in Charleston is responsible for the West Virginia State Archives and Library, which includes a research database that is one of the most up to date in the world. Along with online exhibits that tell the story of our state and special events, the Archives offers online databases that include digitized vital statistics, primary source documents and information on newspapers and state records that are available to anyone looking for primary source documents.

"Whether you are looking for family statistics such as births, deaths and marriages, social history from yearbooks and cookbooks or photography, the Archives collection is open to the public for research and reference," Reid-Smith said.

The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office offers online databases about sites on the National Historic Register and cemetery care and history. A youth-oriented Preservation Guidebook provides a scavenger hunt of architectural highlights of the West Virginia State Capitol and a guide for discovering the history and architectural style of homes and neighborhoods.

"In addition to our resources, there are local libraries, historic and landmark societies and archives in our state colleges and universities that provide valuable research opportunities as well," Reid-Smith said. "We hope people who are interested in these subjects take some time this month to begin personal research projects or look at new avenues to continue studies they have begun."

For more information on the lectures, events and programs offered by the Division, visit

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division's programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.



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