Adair County, Missouri Genealogy

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Guide to Adair County, Missouri ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Kirksville
Organized: January 29, 1841
Parent County(s): Macon[1]
Neighboring Counties
Knox  • Linn  • Macon  • Putnam  • Schuyler  • Scotland  • Sullivan
See County Maps
Location Map
Missouri Adair County Map.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for John Adair. The County is located in the northeastern area of the state. [2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Adair County Courthouse
106 W. Washington
Kirksville, MO 63501
Phone: 660-665-3350
Adair County Website

County Recorder has marriage and land records from 1840.
Clerk of the Circuit Court has divorce and court records.
Probate Clerk has probate records.
County Clerk has school enumeration records. [3]

Adair County, Missouri Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1883 1840 1883 1841 1840 1841 1830
*Statewide registration started in 1910 for births and deaths. General compliance for births by 1927 and deaths by 1911.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1841 Adair County was created 29 January 1841 from Macon County.
  • County seat: Kirksville[5]

For animated maps illustrating Missouri county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Missouri County Boundary Maps" (1804-1889) may be viewed for free at the website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator.
The State Historical Society of Missouri has information on historical Missouri place names for all 114 Missouri Counties.
The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county: [6]

Unincorporated communities

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were gleaned from Missouri Digital Heritage,

  • The area now known as Adair County was first settled in pre-historic times.
  • 1804 November 3 - The Treaty of St. Louis, between the USA and the Sacs and Foxes, stipulated that goods and cash be paid to the Sacs and Foxes.
  • 1825 - The Big Neck War was fought.
  • 1828 - The first white settlement in Adair County.
  • 1838-40 - Survey of Public Lands of Adair County was completed.
  • 1840 - Both settlers and speculators began a rush to the land office.
  • 1841 January 29 - Adair County was founded.
  • 1850 - Immigrants started coming to Adair County in large numbers.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Adair County, Missouri online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Missouri Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 2,283
1860 8,436 269.5%
1870 11,448 35.7%
1880 15,190 32.7%
1890 17,417 14.7%
1900 21,728 24.8%
1910 22,700 4.5%
1920 21,404 −5.7%
1930 19,436 −9.2%
1940 20,246 4.2%
1950 19,689 −2.8%
1960 20,105 2.1%
1970 22,472 11.8%
1980 24,870 10.7%
1990 24,577 −1.2%
2000 24,977 1.6%
2010 25,607 2.5%
Source: "".

For tips on accessing Adair County, Missouri Genealogy census records online, see: Missouri Census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Missouri denominations, view the Missouri Church Records wiki page.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Missouri Land and Property for information about records of land transfers from the government to private ownership. After that transfer, transactions were usually recorded and are currently housed at the county courthouse.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Adair County, Missouri Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section Missouri Local Histories.

  • History of Adair County : together with reminiscences and biographical sketches. 1911. by Eugene Morrow Violette. Kirksville, Missouri : Denslow History Co. Online at FamilySearch (Free); and at HathiTrust (Free)
  • History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Schuyler counties, Missouri : from the earliest time to the present. 1888. Chicago, Illinois : Goodspeed Pub. Co. Online at FamilySearch (Free); and at Missouri Digital Heritage (Free)
  • Sketch of Adair County, Missouri : plus "patron's business references" by township, telling the section, township and range of their property, where they were born and when they settled in Adair County. 199-?. by A. H. John. S.l. : s.n. Online at Family Search (Free); PDF at Adairchs (Free)
  • A History of Missouri's Counties, County Seats and Courthouse Squares. Marian M. Ohman. 1983. N.p.: The Curators of the University of Missouri. Online at Missouri Digital Heritage
  • Missouri As It Is in 1867: an illustrated historical gazetteer of Missouri. 1867. by Nathan Howe Parker. N.p.: Missouri State Library. Online at Missouri Digital History.
  • State of Missouri: an autobiography edited for the Missouri commission to the Louisiana purchase exposition. 1904. by Missouri. Commission to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition; Williams, Walter, 1864-1935. Columbia, Mo.: Press of E. W. Stephens. Online at Missouri Digital Heritage

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Putnam CountySchuyler CountySullivan CountyLinn CountyMacon CountyShelby CountyKnox CountyScotland CountyMO ADAIR.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Service men in Adair County, Missouri served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Adair County, Missouri:

- 21st Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company H
- 21st Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company I
- 27th Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company D
- 39th Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company A
- 7th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry (Union), Company H
- 1st Regiment, Enrolled Militia, Missouri National Guard Infantry (Union), Independent Company
- 2nd Provisional Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company M
- 30th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company E
- 50th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company H
- 50th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company I
- 50th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company K

Civil War Battle
The following Civil War Battle was fought in Adair County

Map showing Civil War battles in Missouri

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

The Adair County Historical Society has created an obituary and death notice collection on its website. They have been extracted from the Kirksville Daily Express and cover dates from March 1979 through December 31, 2010. There are some additional obituaries taken from the Unionville Republican which are earlier than the listed dates above.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records include wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. For further information, see United States Probate Records.

In Missouri, probate records have usually been recorded by the clerks of the probate courts, but in some counties the common pleas or circuit courts handled this function. They are frequently indexed.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and slaves aged 21 to 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district. For more information see the wiki page Missouri Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. For additional guidance on researching and using vital records, see United States Vital Records or How to order Missouri Vital Records.

St. Louis and Kansas City recorded births and deaths starting as early as 1850 for deaths and 1870 for births.  The Missouri Department of Health began keeping birth and death records in 1909. County records vary by year and the county. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Missouri Vital Records State Department of Health, the County Clerk's office or order electronically online.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Adair County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Missouri Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Adair County. For state-wide library facilities, see Missouri Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Adair County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Missouri Societies.

  • Adair County Historical Society
    211 South Elson Street
    Kirksville, MO 63501-3466
    Phone: 660-665-6502

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Missouri Digital Heritage. Free. digital images of many types of records from institutions across the State.
  • Adair County Missouri Genealogy Research. Contains information for researching genealogy in Adair County MO, Census, bios, obituary, birth, death, marriage, maps, and other records
  • MOGenWeb. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
  • USGenWeb Archives. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
  • FamilySearch Catalog . Free. - The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records
  • Linkpendium. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
  • CyndisList. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
  • Missouri Genealogy. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Missouri. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Adair County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Missouri, accessed 18 Sept 2018.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Missouri. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Adair County, Missouri. Page 397-407 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 393-397.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Missouri. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Adair County, Missouri," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Missouri, accessed August 2019.
  7. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 15 August 2012)
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at