Ray County, Missouri Genealogy
Guide to Ray County, Missouri ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|___ County, Missouri|
Location of Missouri in the U.S.
|Founded||November 16, 1820|
|Address|| Ray County Courthouse|
100 W Main Street;
PO Box 536
Richmond, MO 64085-0536
Ray County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 5.1 Biographies
- 5.2 Cemeteries
- 5.3 Census
- 5.4 Church
- 5.5 Court
- 5.6 Land and Property
- 5.7 Local Histories
- 5.8 Maps
- 5.9 Military
- 5.10 Naturalization and Citizenship
- 5.11 Newspapers
- 5.12 Probate Records
- 5.13 Taxation
- 5.14 Vital Records
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
- 8 References
Ray County, Missouri Record Dates
County Clerk has birth and death records 1883-1884; Recorder Deeds has marriage and land records; Clerk of the Circuit Court has divorce and court records; Probate Judge has probate records. (Records of interest to genealogists obtainable from Ray County Historical Society, Richmond, Missouri 64085) 
For animated maps illustrating Missouri county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Missouri County Boundary Maps" (1804-1889) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog
- The State Historical Society of Missouri has information on historical Missouri place names for all Missouri Counties.
- Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton and Linn Counties, Missouri Index to Biographies at Ancestry.com ($)
- Portrait and biographical record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties, Missouri : containing biographical sketchePortrait and biographical record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties, Missouri : containing biographical sketche at Ancestry.com ($)
- Cemetery Records Ray County, Missouri Genealogy Trails
- Ray County, Missouri Cemetery Records, Volume I-III at Ancestry.com ($)
- Ray County, Missouri Cemetery Records, Volume IV-VI at Ancestry.com ($)
- Missouri Cemeteries Missouri Access Genealogy
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Missouri Cemeteries for more information.|
- 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.
- The Hardin Cemetery Disaster - The Flood of 1993 (Hearthstone Legacy)
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.)
- "Churches of Ray county, Missouri" Ray County Genealogical Association.
- Church and Family History Assistance for Ray County, Missouri Primitive Baptist Family History website. (1847-1877 Crooked River Church records recently donated.)
- 1800 - 1991 Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 at FamilySearch — index and images
Many of your ancestors may be found in the "more genealogically obscure" court records as defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, or jurors. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence, occupations, and other family history information. See Missouri Court Records for a discussion of court types and their jurisdictions.
- 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
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 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.
- "History of Ray County, Mo.", St. Louis Missouri Historical Company, 1881 at GoogleBooks and at FamilySearch (Free)
- "A History of Northwest Missouri", Walter Williams, Editor, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1915 at GoogleBooks .
- The University of Missouri Digital Library has digital copies of Missouri county plat books (ca. 1930) for all Missouri counties including Ray County. The city of St. Louis is not included in this collection.
- Map of 1904 Ray County with numerous small settlements (My Genealogy Hound)
- 1900 - 1941 Missouri, Pre-WWII Adjutant General Enlistment Contracts, 1900-1941 at FamilySearch — images
(Black Hawk 1832, Seminole War 1837, Osage War 1837, Heatherly War 1836)
- Service Records
- Pensions and Claims, 1892-1926
- See Missouri Military Records: Indian Wars or Military Records (Missouri State Archives)
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
- 1846 - 1848 Missouri Military Records: Mexican War 1846-1848.
- 1861 - 1865 Missouri, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861 - 1865 Missouri, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- Missouri, Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers Home Applications at FamilySearch — images
Service men in Ray 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 Ray County, Missouri:
World War II
- 1941 - 1946 - Missouri, Reports of Separation Notices, 1941-1946 at FamilySearch — index and images
Naturalization and Citizenship
- 1800 - 1991 Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 at FamilySearch — index
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.
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. 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.
Online Probate Records
- 1750 - 1988 Missouri Probate Records 1750-1998 at FamilySearch — images
- 1766 - 1988 Missouri Wills and Probate Records 1766-1988 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
- 1821 "Ray County Assessor's List for 1821" Ray county, Missouri USGenweb. Cites as its 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 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.
- 1827 - 1935 Missouri, Births and Christenings, 1827-1935 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1851 - 1910 Missouri Birth Records, 1851-1910 at Ancestry.com — index/images $
- 1858 - 1868 Ray County Birth Index 1858-1868. Batch C515661 at FamilySearch - free.
- 1883 - 1890 Ray County Birth Index 1883-1890. Batch C582498 at FamilySearch - free.
- 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.
- 1750 - 1920 Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1800 - 1991 Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1805 - 2002 Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 at Ancestry.com $- Index and Images. Some years have no entries for Ray County.
- 1820 - 1850 Ray County, Missouri Marriages (1820-50) and Wills (1824-49) at Ancestry.com $
- 1820 - 1880 Ray County Marriage Index 1820-1880. Batch M515661 at FamilySearch - free.
- 1850 Missouri Marriages to 1850 at Ancestry.com — index $
- 1880 - 1885 Ray County Marriage Index 1880-1885. Batch M515662 at FamilySearch - free.
- 1834 - 1910 Missouri, Death Records, 1834-1910 at Ancestry.com — index/images $
- 1867 - 1976 Missouri, Deaths and Burials, 1867-1976 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1883 - 1890 Ray County Death Index 1883-1890. Batch B582498 at FamilySearch - free.
- 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
- Ray County Museum and Genealogical Library
901 W Royle Street
Richmond, MO 64085-1545
- Ray County Genealogical Association
901 W. Royle
Richmond, MO 64085
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.
- Wood Heights Missouri Family History Center 13109 State Highway 0 Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 United States Location Map
Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
| Check back often with these websites. Internet offerings are growing at record rates.
Local societies and libraries may know of other websites.
|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|
|USGenWeb Archives||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions|
|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 ($)|
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 "Ray Missouri" and search catalog.|
|Missouri State Archives Library||catalog; from this page you must search "Ray County"|
|Google+||Missouri Genealogy Network Community|
|list of groups from "Missouri Genealogy" search|
|Ancestry.com||Ray County Message Board|
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 422-438. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- 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.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.