Adair County, Missouri Genealogy

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United States
Adair County

This article is about a northeast Missouri county. For other uses, see Adair.

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


Adair County, Missouri
Map of Missouri highlighting Adair County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the U.S. highlighting Missouri
Location of Missouri in the U.S.
Founded January 29, 1841
County Seat Kirksville
Address Adair County Courthouse
106 W. Washington
Kirksville, MO 63501
Telephone: (660) 665-3350
Adair County Website

County Information

Adair County, Missouri Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1883 1841 1830 1841 1841

County Courthouse

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. [2]


Parent County

1841 Adair County was created 29 January 1841 from Macon County. County seat: Kirksville [3]

Boundary Changes

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

Record Loss

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


Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Knox  • Linn  • Macon  • Putnam  • Schuyler  • Scotland  • Sullivan

Adair CountyKnox CountyLewis CountyScotland CountyClark CountySchuyler CountySullivan CountyPutnam CountyShelby CountyMarion CountyMacon CountyGrundy CountyLivingston CountyLinn CountyAdams CountyHancock CountyMercer CountyLee CountyPike CountyHenderson CountyJefferson CountyHenry CountyDes Moines CountyVan Buren CountyWapello CountyDavis CountyMonroe CountyWayne CountyLucas CountyAppanoose CountyDecatur CountyMOAdair1.JPG



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
MOGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
MOGenWeb Archives
Billion Graves
See Missouri Cemeteries for more information.

Missouri Genealogy Cemeteries Missouri Cemeteries


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


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.



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

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.

  • Violette, Eugene Morrow. History of Adair County : together with reminiscences and biographical sketches. Kirksville, Missouri : Denslow History Co., 1911.
  • History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Schuyler counties, Missouri : from the earliest time to the present. Chicago, Illinois : Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1888.
  • John, A. H. 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. S.l. : s.n., 199-?.

History Timeline

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.




Civil War

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

Naturalization and Citizenship


The Adair County Historical Society has created an obituary and death notice collection on its website. They have been extrated from the Kirksville Daily Express and cover 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.

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Adair County, Missouri Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


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 Records


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

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.


Societies and Libraries

List of Missouri Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

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

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


Sites with online indexes or images of records
Missouri Digital Heritage Free digital images of many types of records from institutions across the State
MOGenWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
MOGenWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcription
Adair County MOGenWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Sites that search for links pertaining to Adair County, Missouri Genealogy
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 ($)
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Adair County, Missouri Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch catalog Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.
WorldCat To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library Major genealogy resource library, located in Indiana. On home page enter "Adair Missouri" and search catalog.
Missouri State Archives Library catalog; from this page you must search "Adair County"
See also local libraries and Missouri Archives and Libraries
Social networking sites pertaining to Adair County, Missouri Genealogy
GeneaBloggers enter "missouri" in the search box to see a list and links to Missouri Blogs
Google+ Missouri Genealogy Network Community
Facebook list of groups from "Missouri Genealogy" search Adair County Message Board


  1. Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 385-403. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Adair County, Missouri. Page 397 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 15 August 2012)
  5. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at