Difference between revisions of "Ray County, Missouri Genealogy"

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Docket, 1836-1851 is available at the Missouri State Archives.
Docket, 1836-1851 is available at the Missouri State Archives.
==== Land ====
==== Land and Property ====
{{MO Land}}
{{MO Land}}

Revision as of 23:03, 29 June 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Missouri Gotoarrow.png Ray County

Guide to Ray County Missouri genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Hand and keyboard.jpg Missouri
Online Records

___ County, Missouri
Map of the U.S. highlighting Missouri
Location of Missouri in the U.S.
Founded November 16, 1820
County Seat Richmond
Address Ray County Courthouse
100 W Main Street;
PO Box 536
Richmond, MO 64085-0536
Phone: 816.776.4502
Ray County Website

County Courthouse

County Clerk has birth and death records 1883-1884;
Recorder Deeds has marriage and land records;
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce and court recrods;
Probate Judge has probate records. (Records of interest
to genealogists obtainable from Ray County Historical
Society, Richmond, Missouri 64085)[1]


Parent County

1820--Ray County was created 16 November 1820 from Howard County. County seat: Richmond [2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties



Compendium Resources:

Individual Cemeteries:

  • Shotwell Cemetery, Richmond BillionGraves
  • Sunny Slope Cemetery, Richmond
  • Woodland Cemetery, Richmond
  • Odell Cemetery (also known as Roe Baptist Church cemetery)

Three of the cemeteries in this county, Shotwell, Sunny Slope, and Richmond, are on the north side of Highway 10 (Main Street) and are all together almost as if they were all one cemetery.


For tips on accessing Ray 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.

New Hope Church, near Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, was the first church of any faith to organized (1820) in this county. (Transcript of records at Primitive Baptist Library in Carthage, Illinois.)[3]


For specialized court records, see Probate  · Naturalization  · Divorce  · Land

Circuit Court
  • Woods, Fred D. Name Index to the First Twenty Years of Ray County, Missouri, Circuit Court records, 1820-1840  FHL
  • The Missouri State Archives has the index (1821-1872) to the circuit court records, and Vols A-O (1821-1882) in microfilm.
  • Missouri, Ray County Circuit Court. Court Records, 1821-1882; Index to Court records, 1821-1888. FHL
County Court

The Missouri State Archives has Vol A (1820-1837) Minutes (County Clerk) on microfilm.

Court of Common Pleas

The Missouri State Archives has the Common Plea Index, Vol A, 1867-1874 and the Common Pleas book, Vol A, 1867-1870 on microfilm.

Justice of the Peace

Docket, 1836-1851 is available at the Missouri State Archives.

Land and Property

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 Ray 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.

  • Google has scanned the book "History of Ray County, Mo." as the book is now in the public domain.  It was written in 1881 and can be found at books.google.com/books .
  • Also Google has the book "A History of Northwest Missouri" written in 1915, also in the public domain.  This book has history on Ray county and neigboring counties.  It can be found at books.google.com/books .



Indian Wars (Black Hawk 1832, Seminole War 1837, Osage War 1837, Mormon War, Heatherly War 1836)
  • Service Records
  • Pensions and Claims, 1892-1926

See Missouri Military Records: Indian Wars or Military Records (Missouri State Archives)

1846-1848 Mexican War

Some Ray county residents served in the Santa Fe Battalion of the Missouri Mounted Volunteers. (This unit compiled its own record.)

  • Service Records
  • Pensions and Claims, 1887-1926

See Missouri Military Records: Mexican War 1846-1848.


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

  • Newspaperarchive.com ($) has historical newspapers available on-line. Their database has Chillicothe newspapers from the late 1800's and early 1900's that covered local news on residents from Ray County communities.


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.

A unique aspect of Ray county wills is that the people who legally should be referred to as executors are referred to as administrators.[4] The Ray County Courthouse houses the orginial probate records from 1821. All dates have associated packets.

Ray county, Probate Court. Wills, Letters & Bonds, 1821-1915. Missouri State Archives microfilm.

Ray county, Probate Court. Bonds, Vol B, 1836-1844. Missouri State Archives Microfilm Reel Number C 5780.

Ray county, Probate Court. Letters of Admministration, 1836-1884. Missouri State Arcives microfilm.

Ray county, Probate Court. Inventories/appraise/sale Bill, Vol B, 1853-1863. Missouri State Archives microfilm.

Ray county, Probate Court. Inventories,Appraisements & Sale Bills, Vol D-FI, 1859-1886. Missouri State Archives microfilm

Ray county, Probate Court. Notices & Affidavits, Vol A, 1862-1877. Missouri State Archives microfilm.

Ray county, Probate Court. Minutes, 1867-1869. Missouri State Archives microfilm.

Ray county, Probate Court. Record of Estates, Vol 1, Allen-Zuklin. Missouri State Archives microfilm.

Ray county, Probate Court. Record of Estates-guardians, Vol 1, Adams-Yates. Missouri State Archives microfilm.


  • [1821] ."Ray County Assessor's List for 1821" Ray county, Missouri USGenweb. Which cites as it's source: "Missouri Pioneer Book" Volume 2 February 1968, p. 39-41, compiled and published
    by Miss Nadine Hodges & Mrs John Vineyard & Mrs Howard W. Woodruff.
  • [1831] "Poll Book of Elections & Voter Registrations" Ray County Genealogical Assoication
  • Cowles, Edgar M. Resident taxpayers of Ray County, Mo., comprising the names and occupation of all resident taxpayers in the county, arranged alphabetically, according to post-office addresses. (Hardin? Mo., c1894). See Library of Congress F472.R2 C87.
  • Missouri State Archives has microfilmed taxation sources starting in the 1900s.

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.

  • 1858-1868 - Ray County Birth Index 1858-1868. Batch C515661 at FamilySearch - free.[5]
  • 1883-1890 - Ray County Birth Index 1883-1890. Batch C582498 at FamilySearch - free.[5]
  • Missouri, Ray county, County Clerk. Permanant Record of Births, Vol 1, 1883-1889 is available at the Missouri State Archives on microfilm. Reel Number C 25631.
  • Missouri, Ray county, County Clerk. Register of Births and Stillbirths, Vol 1, 1883-1890 is available at the Missouri State Archives on microfilm. Reel Number C 5754.
  • 1820-1880 - Ray County Marriage Index 1820-1880. Batch M515661 at FamilySearch - free.[5]
  • 1880-1885 - Ray County Marriage Index 1880-1885. Batch M515662 at FamilySearch - free.[5]
  • "Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2020" Ancestry.com $ Index and Images. Some years have no entries for Ray County.
  • 1883-1890 - Ray County Death Index 1883-1890. Batch B582498 at FamilySearch - free.[5]
  • Missouri, Ray county, County Clerk. Permanent Record of Deaths, Vol 1, 1883-1889 is available at the Missouri State Archives on microfilm. Reel Number C 5754.
  • Missouri State Archives provides on-line access to Missouri Death Certificates more than 50 yrs old starting in 1910.

Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Genealogical Societies

Web Sites


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ray County, Missouri. Page 405 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Webb, Robert. "Sharing Our Joy in Successfully Locating Books, Church Records, and Other Valuable Original Source Documents, and a Listing of Recent Gifts Received." Primitive Baptist Library website, accessed 16 Dec 2012.
  4. Fred Woods, "Tarwater Family History / Genealogy - Daviess and Ray co. Missouri" Facebook group (closed) posting dated 29 Jul 2012 and email correspondence to Jana Stokes, July 2012. Wood is author of several Ray county genealogical books including Name Index to the First Twenty Years of Ray County, Missouri, Circuit Court Records, 1820-1840 (Richmond, Missouri : Ray County, Missouri Genealogical Association, 1994).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/f/f4/Igimissourir.pdf.