Missouri Vital Records
Introduction to Missouri Vital Records
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Missouri Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
Vital Records Reference Dates
Missouri's civil records start the following years:
||Began when county organized|| |
|Statewide Registration||1883-1893, then 1909||1881||1883-1893, then 1909|
Brief History of Vital Records in Missouri
In 1883, the Missouri General Assembly enacted legislation providing for the Board of Health to have supervision of the statewide registration of births and deaths. This supervision amounted to prescribing “such forms and recommend[ing] such legislation as shall be deemed necessary for a thorough and complete registration of vital and mortuary statistics through the state.” (Laws of the State of Missouri, 1883, page 96/section 7) The State Board of Health was charged with preparing printed forms of certificates of births and deaths; these were to be provided to the clerks of the various counties and it was the duty of the county clerks to furnish the printed forms to the persons required to file birth and death reports.
This law did not make the reporting of all births and deaths mandatory. Due to non-compliance, the General Assembly repealed the statutes relating to the registration of births and deaths in Missouri in 1893.
It was not until 1910 that the General Assembly again provided for the registration of births and deaths on a statewide basis. Approved May 6, 1909, the act was to “provide for the immediate registration of all births and deaths throughout the state of Missouri by means of certificates of births and deaths and burial or removal permits; requiring prompt returns to the central bureau of vital statistics at the capital of the state, as required to be established by the state board of health, and to insure the thorough organization and efficiency of the registration of vital statistics throughout the state, and providing certain penalties” (Laws of the State of Missouri, 1909, page 538). Pursuant to this 1909 law, all births and deaths that occur in Missouri are reported to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The Bureau of Vital Records maintains these birth and death records.
Missouri Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Missouri Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Check Missouri Vital Records Online for more information about the resources listed below. Most online resources for Missouri Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
- Pre-1910 — Missouri Birth Records Database, Pre-1910 at Missouri State Archives — Index and images
- 1827-1935 — Missouri, Births and Christenings, 1827-1935 at FamilySearch.org — Index only; incomplete; Coverage Table; does not index a specific set of records; may include information previously published in the IGI or Vital Records Index collections
- 1851-1910 — Missouri Birth Records, 1851-1910 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only
- Missouri Quaker Records at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only; includes birth, marriages, and death in the index
- Pre-1850 — Missouri Marriages to 1850 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only; incomplete
- 1750-1920 — Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920 at FamilySearch.org — Index only; incomplete; Coverage Table; does not index a specific set of records; may include information previously published in the IGI or Vital Records Index collections
- Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 — index and images
- 1766-1983 — Missouri Marriages, 1766-1983 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only; incomplete
- 1851-1900 — Missouri Marriages, 1851-1900 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only; incomplete; includes 29 Missouri counties
- Missouri Quaker Records at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only; includes birth, marriages, and death in the index
- Pre-1910 — Death Records Database, Pre-1910 at Missouri State Archives — Index and images
- 1822-1994 — Missouri, Newspaper Death Index, 1822-1994 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only; incomplete; deaths taken from 3 Missouri newspapers: Callaway, Montgomery, and Cole Counties.
- 1834-1910 — Missouri, Death Records, 1834-1910 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index and images; info from Missouri State Archives
- 1910-1963 — Missouri Death Certificate Database, 1910-1963 at Missouri State Archives — Index and images.
- 1867-1976 — Missouri, Deaths and Burials, 1867-1976 at FamilySearch.org — Index only; incomplete; does not index a specific set of records; may include information previously published in the IGI or Vital Records Index collections
- 1873-1976 — Missouri, Deaths and Burials Index, 1873-1976 at Ancestry.com ($) — Index only
- Coroner's Inquest Database at Missouri State Archives — Index only; incomplete, covers 10 counties
Ordering information for Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates:
Additional Websites to other Missouri Databases:
- Online Missouri Death Records and Indexes — Links to free and subscription websites
- Rootsweb — Links to free and subscription websites
- Missouri Collections at FamilySearch.org
- All Missouri Links at Ancestry.com ($)
- Linkpendium — Links to free and subscription websites
- Vital Records Search and Information Directory for the United States — Links to free and subscription websites
County and City Records of Births and Deaths
Statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1863, but registration was not compulsory. Missouri has required registration in each county only during the years 1883 to 1893 and since 1909. The state did not achieve 90 percent registration of births until 1927 and of deaths until 1911.
Write to the appropriate county clerk for records before 1910. Those from 1883 to 1893 are also available from the Missouri State Archives.
The Family History Library has copies of most of the existing civil vital records in Missouri from about 1883 to the early 1900s. For example, records of Jefferson County births, stillbirths, and deaths from 1883 to 1892 are available.
State Records of Births and Deaths
Although the files are not open for public inspection, you can obtain copies of the state's births and deaths registered after 1 January 1910 by writing to:
Bureau of Vital Records
P.O. Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570
Telephone: 314-761-6387 (births)
Telephone: 314-751-6376 (deaths)
Internet: Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Vital Records. maintains Missouri birth, death, marriage and divorce records.
The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are available at the website of the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Click here.
Marriage records have been kept by Missouri county clerks from the earliest days of each county. Some records date from the early 1800s when the area was a territory without counties. Statewide registration of marriage began in 1881, and the files are mostly complete after that date. You can obtain copies of these documents from the various county clerks.
The Family History Library has copies of marriage records from each county. These often date to the 1920s. Most pre-1850 marriages in Missouri have been transcribed in publications such as the following:
- Missouri Marriages Before 1840, FHL Book 977.8 V2o; Fiche 6051425 See link to digital version. 
- Missouri Marriages to 1850. FHL Book 977.8 V2bm 
The Bureau of Vital Records (see address above) has an index to marriage records from July 1948 to the present.
To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Missouri marriages, click here.
- Gretna Greens. When an eloping Missouri couple's marriage is not in their home county, search for it in alternate places like Keokuk, Lee, Iowa.
Missouri State Archives has created the Missouri Digital Heritage Website providing access to death certificates from 1910-1960. Death certificates contain valuable information for family historians and researchers. The Missouri Death Certificate Database, containing death records created after 1910 and over 50 years old, makes that information available online through a searchable index that links to a digitized image of the original death certificate.
The index can be searched by first name and last name, county, and by year and month. Once a name is selected, a digitized image of the original certificate can be retrieved.
This is an ongoing project and additional records will be added as they are transcribed and imaged. If the image of the certificate is not yet available researchers can request a photocopy of the certificate by contacting the Archives Reference Desk . For death certificates less than 50 years old please contact the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records.
Missouri Coroner's Inquest is an abstract of records that have been indexed and are available for online research. The original records are available on microfilm at the Missouri State Archives. The database contains records from various counties, the City of St. Louis, and the St. Louis Medical Examiner.dditional records will be added as they reach seventy-two years of age.
Name of deceased
Age or date of birth
Date of death
Cause of death
Location of death
St Louis Missouri Police Officers' Deaths, 1861-1899 These deaths are taken from, St. Louis Board of Commissioner’ Record of Resignations, Reductions, Promotions, and Deaths 1861-1899. The names are listed alphabetically.
Cause of Death
Divorce proceedings have been filed with a court of common pleas, a circuit court, or the state legislature. Most divorce records can be obtained by contacting the appropriate circuit court clerk in the county where the plaintiff resided. The Family History Library has some of these court records, which include divorce information. The Bureau of Vital Records has divorce records from 1948 to the present.
- To access any possible divorce records available through the Family History Library, use the Place-names Search in the FamilySearch Catalog for:
- MISSOURI,[COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS
- MISSOURI,[COUNTY] - VITAL RECORDS
- A published list of early divorce records is Lois Stanley, Divorces and Separations in Missouri, 1808-1853. FHL Book 977.8 P2sd
This volume includes notices from newspapers.
Nonidentifying information is available to adoptive parents, a child's legal guardians or an adult adoptee. This can include the physical description, nationality, religious background, and medical history of the birth parents or siblings. Identifying information is available to the adult adoptee.
An adult adoptee may make a written request for information identifying his or her birth parents. If the birth parents have consented to the release of identifying information, the court shall disclose the information. If the birth parents have not consented, the court shall notify in writing, within 10 days of receipt of the request, the adoptive parents and the child-placing agency or court personnel having access to the information. For adoptions completed prior to 8-13-1986, the adoptive parents must consent to contacting the birth parents unless there is proof that the adoptive parents are deceased or incapacitated.
The State Registrar files the original certificate of birth with the certificate of decree of adoption and such file may be opened by the State Registrar only upon receipt of a certified copy of an order as decreed by the court of adoption.
For further information contact:
Missouri Division of Family Services
Adoption Information Registry
P.O. Box 88
Jefferson City, MO 65103
Please mark the letter "Confidential."
- Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record. The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
- If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial. A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
- Records for African Americans may be recorded in separate files with separate indexes.
- Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be uanavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
- Search for Vital Records in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records. Search for Missouri to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.
These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.
- Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.
- Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
- Census Records: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
- Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices. Also check newspaper social columns for additional information.
- Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.
- Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information, In addtion, soldiers' homes records can included this same information.
- Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.
- History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the FamilySearch Catalog.
Lost or Missing Records
Barry 1872, Barton 1860, Bates 1861, Bollinger 1866, 1884, Caldwell 1860, 1896, Camden 1902,Cape Girardeau 1870, Chariton 1864, 1973 Christian 1865, Crawford 1873, 1884, Dade 1863, Dallas 1863, 1864, 18867, DeKalb 1864, 1878 Dent 1864, Douglas 1886, Dunklin 1872, Gentry 1885, Greene 1861, Harrison 1874, Hickory 1852, 1881, Holt 1965, Howard 1887, Howell 1866, Jasper 1863, 1883, McDonald 1863, Maries 1868, Mercer 1898, Montgomery 1864,1901, Morgan 1887, Newton 1862, Oregon during C.W., Osage 1880, Pemiscot 1883, Pike 1864, Pulaski 1903, Randolph 1880, Reynolds 1872, Saline 1864, Shannon 1863, 1871, 1938, 1893, Stoddard 1864, Taney 1885, Texas 1932, Vernon C.W., Wayne 1854, 1892, Webster 1863, 1881, Wright 1864, 1897
To learn more about the history and availability of vital records, see Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Missouri. 
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
More Online Links
- About.com has a genealogy section that contains information about oudering birth, marriage, death, divorce and adoption records.
- Missouri Links from fhlfavorites.info - Free
- Missoouri GenWeb - Free
- Missouri Asylum Project - Free
- The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Missouri - Free/$
- Wee Monster Links for Missouri Birth & Marriage and Death Records - Free/$
- Ormesher, Susan. Missouri Marriages Before 1840. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982. Family History Library book 977.8 V2o; fiche 6051425.
- Brooks, Linda Barber. Missouri Marriages to 1850. Three Volumes. St. Louis,Missouri: Ingmire Pub., 1983-. Family History Library book 977.8 V2bm.
- Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/ (accessed 8 January 2011).
- (St. Louis, Missouri: Historical Records Survey, 1941; Family History Library book 977.8 V23g; film 928021 item 10.