Missouri Census

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Portal:United States Census >Missouri


Many federal census records (1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930) are at the following archives: *State Historical Society of Missouri (University of Missouri–Columbia Campus) *Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City) *The Family History Library *The National Archives The 1890 census schedules for Missouri and most other states were destroyed in a fire on 21 January 1921 at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. Missouri state censuses or transcriptions of those census records are available at: *The State Historical Society in Columbia and the Family History Library.
Residents of Missouri may borrow microfilm of federal census records through 1880 from the Missouri State Historical Society on interlibrary loan through public or college libraries. State census microfilm. Soundexes, and other indexes may not be borrowed.

Historical Background

Federal censuses for the state of Missouri begin with 1830 and were taken every ten years. Census records become public 72 years after the census was taken. See the United States Research Outline for more information about nationwide census records and indexes. Census records from 1850 on can show names of each member of the household, his or her age, state or country of birth, occupation and race. Censuses can also give clues about marital status, marriage dates, death dates, immigration and naturalization information, migration patterns, previous residence, adoptions, and divorces. (See the United States Research Outline for more details.) Censuses for 1840 and earlier list only heads of families. Most families were listed when a census taker made his visits, making these records rich in clues. Other persons in the county with the same surname may be related to each other. Statewide indexes can also help to locate families when only the state where they lived is known.


The 1830 through 1870 federal censuses have statewide, head-of-household indexes in book form. These were compiled by various organizations. If an ancestor does not appear in one index, check another for the same year as the handwriting may not have been transcribed correctly. The State Historical Society has individual indexes to each Missouri county for 1840 and 1850.
The 1880 (partial), 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses have Soundex (phonetic) indexes on microfilm. These indexes are available at the State Historical Society, the Family History Library and its branches, and the National Archives — including regional branches and presidential libraries. Many Missouri local genealogical and/or historical societies have prepared individual county indexes for these later census years, including the 1930 census.

Special Censuses

Mortality Schedules

The 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses included inquiries about persons who had died in the twelve months immediately preceding the enumeration. Mortality schedules list deaths from 1 June through 31 May of 1849–50, 1859–60, 1869-70, and 1879–80. They provide nationwide, state-by-state death registers that predate the recording of vital statistics in most states. While deaths are under-reported, the mortality schedules remain an invaluable source of information.
Mortality schedules asked the deceased's name, sex, age, color (white, black, mulatto), whether widowed, his or her place of birth (state, territory, or country), the month in which the death occurred, his or her profession/occupation/trade, disease or cause of death, and the number of days ill. In 1870, a place for parents' birthplaces was added. In 1880, the place where a disease was contracted and how long the deceased person was a citizen or resident of the area were included (fractions indicate a period of time less than a year).Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad nameLoretto Dennis Szucs and Matthew Wright, "Census Records." &amp;amp;amp;lt;i&amp;amp;amp;gt;The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy&amp;amp;amp;lt;/i&amp;amp;amp;gt;, 3d ed., Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. (Provo, UT : Ancestry, 2006), 196-97.

Territorial and State Censuses

The Territory of Missouri took censuses in 1814, 1817, and 1819. The State of Missouri took censuses in 1821, then every four years beginning in 1824 through 1868, and in 1876. Most of these Territorial and State Censuses no longer exist. Listed below are copies currently available. At the State Historical Society of Missouri (University of Missouri–Columbia Campus): *1817 - St. Charles Territorial Censuses (transcription) *1819 - St. Charles Territorial Censuses (transcription) *1840 - Rives County [now Henry County] (transcription) *1844 - Callaway County (microfilm), Marion County (transcription) *1852 - St. Charles County (transcription) *1864 - Gasconade County (transcription) *1868 - Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, and Webster counties (all microfilm) *1876 - Benton, Callaway, Cape Girardeau, Christian, Greene, Holt, Howard, McDonald, Montgomery, Osage, Phelps, Reynolds, St. Francois counties (all microfilm) Butler, Iron and Texas counties (transcriptions). At the Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City): *1840 - New Madrid, Newton, Pike, Randolph, Ray, Rives (later Henry), Shelby, Stoddard and Warren counties (all transcriptions) *1844 - Callaway County (microfilm); Greene County (transcription) *1868 - Cape Girardeau County (microfilm)

Web Sites

Ancestry:  http://www.ancestry.com

Heritage Quest Online:  http://www.heritagequestonline.com

Census Online:  http://www.census-online.com/links/MO/

Genealogy Today:  http://dir.genealogytoday.com/usa/mo/census.html

Access Genealogy:  http://www.accessgenealogy.com/census/missouri.htm

Mortality Schedules:  http://mortalityschedules.com/


Missouri Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.

Federal Many federal census records are found at the Family History Library, State Historical Society of Missouri, the National Archives, and other federal and state archives. The United States Research Outline provides more detailed information about these records. The Family History Library has the U.S. federal censuses of Missouri for 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930. The 1890 census was destroyed. The 1890 Union veterans schedule and published index are available at the Family History Library and at the National Archives. The 90,000 names in the index include some Confederate soldiers. St. Louis Public Library also owns the U.S. federal censuses of Missouri for 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930, and in addition owns the 1890 Union veterans schedule and published index. St. Louis Public Library also owns the statewide book indexes and the Soundex indexes mentioned below. Statewide indexes are available for the 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses in book format. Separate published indexes for many counties are also available for 1860. Soundex (phonetic) indexes are available on microfilm for part of the 1880 census and all of the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses. Mortality schedules (lists of deaths during the year preceding the census) exist for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. The State Historical Society of Missouri has these records. Copies of the schedules and indexes for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 are available at the Family History Library. Territorial and State A few Spanish censuses were taken as early as 1772. Portions of Missouri were included in the 1810 census of Louisiana Territory. Missouri Territory took censuses in 1814, 1817, 1819, and 1820. The 1820 census was destroyed, but tax and vital records have been published as a substitute. The state of Missouri took censuses in 1821, at four-year intervals from 1824 to 1868, and in 1876. The 1876 census, available for 10 counties, is the most complete. It lists only the heads of households. Most of the other schedules have been destroyed. Copies of the portions that remain are available at the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Family History Library, and the Missouri State Archives, and in some local county offices.

Web Sites