Missouri Genealogy Online – Sources for Researching Missouri Ancestors

by | 11 Jan 2021

Research and explore your Missouri genealogy online with these online Missouri databases, indexes, and digitized record collections focused on Missouri and family history – many of them free!

  1. Missouri Death Certificates, 1910–1969
    The Missouri Digital Heritage project of the Missouri State Archives has a wonderful online collection of more than 2.5 million death records created after 1910 and over 50 years old, with a searchable index that links to a digitized image of the original death certificate. Search the index by first name, last name, county, year of death, and/or month of death.
  2. St. Louis County Library – Genealogy Indexes, Finding Aids, and Guides
    Staff and volunteers of St. Louis County Library have prepared dozens of indexes to sources of interest to genealogists, including books related to Missouri history as well as historical newspapers, plus records specific to St. Louis County such as early birth records, court records, church records, naturalizations, etc. This collection also includes finding aids with information for other resources available at the library.
  3. Missouri Digital Heritage
    More than 9 million records related to Missouri history and genealogy can be accessed online through Missouri Digital Heritage, including items from the collections of the Missouri State Archives, the Missouri State Library, and other Missouri repositories. The Quick Links tab will take you to some of the most-visited collections, including vital records, county histories, county plat books, and city directories. Browsing by “media type” offers quick access to collection guides, personal papers, organizational records, and newspapers.
  4. St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project
    This rich resource for Missouri genealogy is a collaborative project of the Missouri State Archives, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, and various city and county Circuit Courts. Court files from 1802 to 1900 have been indexed and are available through the online database (available years vary by city/county). Most of the court records have been digitized and images are available for online research. Free!
  5. Missouri Naturalization Records, 1816–1955
    This wonderful collection began when volunteers from the St. Louis Genealogical Society, in a collaborative effort with the Missouri State Archives and the St. Louis City Circuit Court, compiled information taken from three partially-completed sets of naturalization index cards into a searchable online database of 93,104 entries, representing immigrant persons who filed for naturalization in the St. Louis court system from 1816 through September 1906. Since then, naturalization records from over a dozen counties have been added, with indexing in progress for over a dozen more. Follow the “About the Project” link to see what is currently available.
  6. Missouri Coroner’s Inquest Database
    This free database from the Missouri State Archives includes abstracts of historical coroner’s records of Andrew, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Green, Miller, Pemiscot, Perry, Ray, Ripley, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Genevieve, and Stoddard counties, as well as the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Medical Examiner. The years and available records vary by location. Abstracted information includes the name of the deceased, age or date of birth, date, and cause of death, plus details necessary for obtaining the original coroner’s records. Copies can be requested by email for a fee.
  7. Missouri Federal Land Patents
    The Bureau of Land Management maintains a free, searchable database with images of federal land patents issued in the State of Missouri. Select “Search Documents” in the upper left and then “Missouri” from the drop-down box. To continue the research, don’t miss the federal tract books for six Missouri land offices available as digitized images on FamilySearch.
  8. Missouri Soldier’s Records: War of 1812 – World War I
    The Missouri State Archives hosts this comprehensive database of Missouri soldiers abstracted from individual service cards and listing more than 576,000 Missourians who served in the military from territorial times through World War I, including the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Heatherly War of 1836, the Mormon War of 1838, and others. Over half of the service cards are from soldiers who served during the Civil war.
  9. Missouri Supreme Court Historical Database
    Dig deep into Missouri’s early history in this free database from the Missouri State Archives and the Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society. The database includes an index and abstracts of the criminal and civil court cases that were appealed to the territorial and state Supreme Court of Missouri up to 1868 and a partial listing of cases to 1883. A number of documents in the earliest cases date from the 1780s and 1790s, under the rule of French and Spanish governments, and are written in the French language.
  10. Missouri Probate Records, 1750–1998
    This free online collection from FamilySearch includes digitized copies of probate records created by Missouri county courts including wills, inventories, guardianship records, and other records of estates. Most of the records in this collection fall between 1840 and 1930, but the content and years of the court records vary by county. There are also a few records, in certain counties, of some civil disputes and even criminal matters mixed in with the probate records. These records are browse-only, not searchable, but most include digitized indexes. If you have a subscription to Ancestry, some (but certainly not all!) of these records can be searched in their Missouri, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1766–1988 collection.

©2021 Kimberly Powell. Use of this article elsewhere without permission violates copyright. Short excerpts and links are welcome, with credit and a link back to Learn Genealogy.

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