Putnam County, Missouri Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Unionville
Organized: February 22, 1843
Parent County(s): Non-County Area 23 and Non-County Area 24 [1]
Neighboring Counties
Adair  • Appanoose (IA)  • Mercer  • Schuyler  • Sullivan  • Wayne (IA)
See County Maps
Location Map
Missouri Putnam County Map.svg.png
Israel Putnam

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Israel Putnam. The County is located in the north center area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Putnam County Courthouse
Main Street, #204
Unionville, MO 63565
Phone: 660-947-2674
Putnam County Website

Clerk of the Circuit Court has birth records 1878-1903, marriage records from 1854, divorce and court records from 1855, land records from 1848.
Probate Judge has probate records from 1848.[3]
For additional details:Putnam County Courthouse (GenWeb)

Putnam 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
1878 1854 1887 1855 1848 1848 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]

  • 1843 Putnam County was formed in February 22, 1843 from Non-County Area 23 and Non-County Area 24.
  • County seat: Unionville[5]

According to Campbell's 1874 Missouri gazetteer, the size of Putnam County was "greatly reduced" as a result of "the difficulty between Iowa and Missouri" (see "The Honey War" in Wikipedia). The same source notes that Putnam County was enlarged to include the former Dodge County in the spring of 1853.

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

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places in Putnam County, MO, 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
Census-designated places
  • Elm
  • Grant
  • Jackson
  • Liberty
  • Lincoln
  • Medicine
  • Richland
  • Sherman
  • Union
  • Wilson
  • York
Ghost towns

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,

  • 1836 March - The first white settler came to what is now Putnam County.
  • 1843 - The area that included what would later become Putnam County was surveyed and old boundary lines were readjusted.
  • 1845 February 28 - Putnam County is organized.
  • 1877 June 26 - A Temperance and Reform Society was organized.

The area that eventually became Putnam County, Missouri was a part of Chariton County when Missouri was admitted to the Union in 1821. Later, this area was a part of Sullivan County. Putnam County was formed from Sullivan County 28 Feb 1845, according to Walter Williams' 1913 history titled A History of Northeast Missouri, but from parts of both Adair and Sullivan Counties according to Wikipedia.

Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri (1874) also notes that "the Indians left in the summer of 1845." Then, from about 1845 to 1855, "a large number of families, many of them from Kentucky, located in the rich prairie lands and many fine farms were made."

Earlier settlers, prior to the formation of the county in 1845, are also noted by Campbell in his 1874 gazetteer: "Among the early settlers were James Cochran and Isaac and Clifford L. Summers, who located near the present site of Omaha; Isaac and Jesse Gilstrap, John F., W. G. and Miles Crabtree, and Joseph, Joshua, John and Henry Guffey, who settled on Goshen Ridge, which extends from north-west of Hartford to south-east of Martinstown; James M. Brasfield, who lived near Pleasant Home, besides the families of McCollom, Marshall, Mullinix and Martin." Campbell states that all of these individuals and families arrived prior to 1844.

The original county seat of Putnam County was Putnamville, located in the northeastern part of the county. The county seat moved to Winchester 6 Jan 1849. Sometime around 1853 this was again moved, this time to Harmony. The name of Harmony was changed "a few years later," according to Campbell's 1874 Missouri gazetteer, to Unionville.

Originally, the county was divided into the following townships: Cochran, Elm, Grogan, Locust, and Richland.

The first county court was held 28 Apr 1845 in the home of James Cochran.

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 Putnam 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 1,636
1860 9,207 462.8%
1870 11,217 21.8%
1880 13,555 20.8%
1890 15,365 13.4%
1900 16,668 8.5%
1910 14,308 −14.2%
1920 13,115 −8.3%
1930 11,503 −12.3%
1940 11,327 −1.5%
1950 9,166 −19.1%
1960 6,999 −23.6%
1970 5,916 −15.5%
1980 6,092 3.0%
1990 5,079 −16.6%
2000 5,223 2.8%
2010 4,979 −4.7%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.
List of Churches and Church Parishes


  • 1870-1873 Unionville Catholic Church Baptism Index 1870-1873. Batch C511531 at FamilySearch.

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 Putnam 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, Sullivan, Putnam and Schuyler Counties, Missouri. 1888. Chicago, Illinois: The Goodspeed Publishing Co. Online at FamilySearch; and at Missouri Digital History
  • State of Missouri: an autobiography. 1904. By Walter Williams. Columbia, Mo: Press of E. W. Stephens. Online at: Missouri Digital History
  • History of Northeast Missouri. (See "Putnam County" chapter.) 1913. Ed. by Walter Williams. Vol. 1 Online at Google Books.
  • Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri. (See "Putnam County" section.) 1874. Online at Google Books

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Wayne CountyAppanoose CountyMercer CountyGrundy CountySullivan CountyAdair CountySchuyler CountyMO PUTNAM.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 Putnam 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 Putnam County, Missouri:

- 18th Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company D
- 18th Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company E
- 18th Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company I
- 2nd Provisional Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company A
- 2nd Provisional Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company G
- 2nd Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union), Company C
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company A
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company B
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company C
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company D
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company E
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company F
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company G
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company H
- 45th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company I

World War II[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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 Putnam 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 Putnam County. For state-wide library facilities, see Missouri Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

  • Putnam County Genealogical Society
    115 N. 29th St.
    Unionville, MO 63565
  • Putnam County Historical Society
    201 South 16th Street
    Unionville, MO 63565
    Phone: 660-341-5157
    Website Facebook

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Missouri Digital Heritage. Free. digital images of many types of records from institutions across the State
  • Putnam County MO Genealogy Research. Contains information for researching genealogy in Putnam County MO, Census, bios, obituary, birth, death, marriage, maps, and other records
  • MOGenWeb. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
  • genealogytrails.com. Free. Data submitted by individuals
  • 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
  • RootsWeb resources. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
  • Linkpendium. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
  • CyndisList. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
  • StateofUS. Free. family history resources and government records
  • 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, "Putnam, Missouri," in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putnam_County,_Missouri. accessed 9/13/2018
  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), Putnam 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, "Putnam County, Missouri," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, Putnam County Missouri, accessed Nov 2019.
  7. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/d/d8/Igimissourij.pdf.