Pay..... Yes & No..... there are many sites that are "free" and the best subscription site is www.Ancestry.com .....once at the Ancestry site check for a free trial, usually 14 days to see if you care to subscribe.
Some "free" site that might be of interest to you.
This site has much information and is expanding everyday, one feature of interest for you might be Ohio Death Certificates 1908-1953... actual images, viewable & printable.
This site has local/county genealogy sites of States from all across the country that have various types of records for each county.
Many, many databases and message boards for questions/answers on individual family searches
Thsi is the West Virgina site for births, marriages, deaths, etc.... it currently does not have all WV counties, but it is also being updated frequently so you need to check it out periodically.
These and Ancestry will get you started and as you search these sites you will be directed to others. I suggest you make a "folder" in your favorites for just your genealogy sites as the number of sites you visit will grow dramatically.
We were all novice's at one time. You are among friends here, so whenever you have a question don't hesitate to ask for help. Somebody here will have an answer for you. A good starting point and one many of us used is found at http://www.afrigeneas.com/guide/
Best wishes in this, your new "addcitive" venture.