| St. Louis Mercantile Library
E-mail: Reference/Research Request Form
- St. Louis Mercantile Library - University of Missouri
Thomas Jefferson Library Building
One University Blvd.
St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4400
Telephone: 314-516-7240 or 314-516-7247
Hours and holidays: Library hours and holidays
Directions, maps, and public transportation:
- Google map: St. Louis Mercantile Library
- Public transportation: The Metro Transit-St. Louis bus route 4-Natural Bridge stop (Natural Bridge @ University) is 1100 feet south of the Library. The Metro Link train UMSL North stop is 1750 feet northeast of the Library. The North Hanley Transit Center a mile to the northwest connects bus routes 4-Natural Bridge, 35, 37, 38, 39, 47, 49, 61, 77, 79, 98, and the Metro Link train.
Internet sites and databases:
- UMSL St. Louis Mercantile Library about, membership, research, collections, events and exhibitions, tours, maps, and A-Z index.
- UMSL Library MERLIN Catalog online. Search by keywords, title, author, subject, numbers, or other. Also available in WorldCat.
- UMSL databases online links including HeritageQuest Online, and Biography and Genealogy Master Index (BGMI).
The University of Missouri St. Louis Mercantile Library has collections that concentrate on Westward Expansion, American rail and river transportation history as well as the history, development, and growth of the St. Louis region, and broadly developed subjects related to the humanities, with a core collection numbering over 250,000 books. The special collections of the library consist of over 400 individual collections with archival materials numbering in the millions, including over 100 historic newspaper titles, presidential letters, early travel diaries and civil war era letters, fur trade records and the newspaper and printing morgue of the St. Louis Globe Democrat. The Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library focuses on United States river and inland waterways history. It has 2,500 books and a large pictorial/photographic collection. The John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library is one of the largest (45,000 volumes) and finest railroad history collections focused on railway economics, finance, corporate history, management practice, regulatory history, mergers, labor relations, operations, and engineering.
Founded in 1846, and chartered by the State of Missouri in that year, the St. Louis Mercantile Library is the oldest general library in continuous existence West of the Mississippi River.
Established by civic leaders and philanthropists wishing the citizens of frontier St. Louis to have a fine library even in the city's earliest days, the Mercantile, as it has now been known by generations of Missourians, exists today as a vibrant, active community asset, celebrating its heritage while making great collections accessible to new scholars.
The Mercantile Library has been from its inception a membership library, with members today having access to millions of books in the University of Missouri's catalog (also available in WorldCat). Mercantile Library members are also entitled to other benifits, including special lectures, openings of special exhibitions of the collections, receptions, informal talks and discounts on library services and publications.
Other Libraries at the St. Louis Mercantile Library
If you cannot visit or find a source at the St. Louis Mercantile Library, a similar source may be available at one of the following.
- National Archives I, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons, and federal employees.
- National Archives at College Park, Maryland collects records of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury all after 1900.
- National Archives at Kansas City, MO, records of federal agencies and courts for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, censuses, ships lists, naturalizations, military records. 
St. Louis CITY offices: In 1876 St. Louis City separated from St. Louis County, but retained all of the original St. Louis County records prior to 1876.
- St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds and Vital Records Registrar has births 1825-1909, and 1920-present; marriages 1766-1931; deaths 1825-1960, and 1965-present; land 1877-present; adoptions, cemetery records, French and Spanish colonial records, orphanages, licenses and trademarks, veterans discharges, and will indexes, including county records before 1876. 
- St. Louis City Assessor has real estate and property tax records. 
- St. Louis City 22nd Circuit Court probate records 1804-2000; civil, criminal, and family court. 
- U.S. Customs House, St. Louis, has immigration and naturalization records.
St. Louis COUNTY offices:
- St. Louis County Office of Vital Records, Berkeley, has all Missouri births since 1920, St. Louis County only births 1883-1910; all MO deaths since 1980, and St. Louis County only deaths 1883-1910. 
- St. Louis County Clerk, Clayton, has births 1877-1910. 
- St. Louis County Recorder of Deeds, Clayton, has marriages and land records since 1876, and military discharges. Marriage, court, and land records of St. Louis County prior to 1876 are only available via the St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds and Vital Records Registrar.
- St. Louis County Circuit Court Clerk, Clayton, has court records since 1876, and divorces. 
- St. Louis County Probate Court, Clayton, has probate records and an online index.
- St. Louis County Office of the Medical Examiner, St. Louis, has selected death records.
Mixed City and County of St. Louis repositories:
- Clayton Historical Society, Clayton, collects artifacts and documents.
- Concordia Historical Institute, St. Louis, Department of Archives and History of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
- Episcopal Diocese of Missouri Archives, St. Louis, a library, extensive document and photograph collections, and parish registers.
- German American Heritage Society of St. Louis exploring and preserving heritage.
- Missouri History Museum Library, St. Louis, has regional history sources, St. Louis, Missouri, the Mississippi and Missouri Valleys, the Louisiana Purchase, American West: indexes, guides, catalogs, photos, genealogy workshops. Many records of Missouri settlers from Illinois.
- National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, federal government employee and military personnel records starting 1917.
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis Office of Archives and Records parish christenings, confirmations, marriages, and deaths.
- St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society collects, preserves, and publishes genealogical and historical records.
- St. Louis County Library, a Missouri collection including the National Genealogical Society, and St. Louis Genealogical Society collections, online databases, federal censuses, births, deaths, cemeteries, church records, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, wills, African American records, yearbooks, and can order microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
- St. Louis Genealogical Society has a collection of 20,000 books, journals, maps, and CDs at the St. Louis County Library (previous).
- St. Louis Missouri Family History Center has premium online services for free, can offer research suggestions, and can order genealogical microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
- St. Louis Public Library has an Obituary Index for the years 1880–1927; 1942–1945; 1992–2006, family histories, passenger lists, Heritage Quest, and Gateway Family Historian publication.
- Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library, St. Louis, comprehensive source for Judaica. 23,000 books.
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, St. Louis, recent civil, criminal, or bankruptcy court records.
Outside of St. Louis:
- Repositories in surrounding counties in Missouri: Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Louis County, Independent City: St. Louis City, counties in Illinois: Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair
- Community of Christ Library and Archives, Independence, books, periodicals, letters, and diaries of the of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints/Community of Christ.
- Kansas City Public Library Missouri Valley Special Collections, The Missouri Valley Room has a great genealogy collection for Missouri and Kansas with biographies, periodicals, genealogies, diaries, photos, scrapbooks, and newspapers of the Kansas City area. 
- Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, a great American genealogy collection: censuses, MO federal land sales, penitentiary, St. Louis fur trade, Civil War, passenger lists, plantations, American Indians, city directories, newspapers, Draper Manuscripts, and KY taxes. 
- Missouri Bureau of Vital Records, Jefferson City, central registry of Missouri births and deaths since 1910; marriages and divorces since 1948.
- Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, has court, land, military, death records, federal censuses, county and municipal records, photos, penitentiary, and manuscript records. Birth and death record index since 1883 is online; birth records 1883-1895; marriages 1827-1937.
- Missouri United Methodist Archives, Fayette, historical materials on Methodism in Missouri emphasizing ministers.
- Ozarks Genealogical Society Library, Springfield, has Missouri and other states, a large periodical collection, and special southern Missouri family records. 
- Springfield-Greene County Library Center, for southern Missouri: censuses, church histories, directories, Civil War, online deaths 1910-1958, births, marriages, land, probate, cemeteries. 
- State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, census, maps, newspapers, online tools, oral history, photos, historical manuscripts, and reference materials.
- Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Library, Republic, helps find ancestors who served in the U.S. Civil War.
Outside of Missouri:
- Repositories in surrounding states: Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
- Harrison County Historical Museum, Marshall TX, a key repository for Missouri and Texas settlers. A major center for MO Confederates. Family folders, books, letters, diaries, journals, surname lists. 
- Newberry Library, Chicago, genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records mostly from the Mississippi Valley, Missouri , eastern seaboard, Canada, and Britain.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 History and Mission in UMSL St. Louis Mercantile Library (accessed 25 March 2016).
- ↑ UMSL Saint Louis Mercantile Library in UMSL St. Louis Mercantile Library (accessed 27 March 2016).
- ↑ Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library History in UMSL St. Louis Mercantile Library (accessed 27 March 2016).
- ↑ John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library History in UMSL St. Louis Mercantile Library (accessed 27 March 2016).
- ↑ Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
- ↑ Information for Researchers at the National Archives at College Park, MD in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 67. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
- ↑ National Archives at Kansas City in National Archives (accessed 5 March 2014).
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 396. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
- ↑ St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds and Vital Records Registrar (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT : Everton Publishers, 2002), 406. At various libraries (WorldCat). FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- ↑ City of St. Louis Assessor's Office - Administrative in City of St. Louis, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ 22nd Judicial Circuit Probate Division Resource Room in 22nd Circuit Court St. Louis, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 St. Louis County Vital Records in St. Louis County, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ St. Louis County Clerk in St. Louis County, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ St. Louis County Circuit Court Clerk in St. Louis County, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ St. Louis County Probate Court in St. Louis County, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ St. Louis County Office of the Medical Examiner in St. Louis County, Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ Clayton Historical Society (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ German American Heritage Society of St. Louis (accessed 7 March 2014)
- ↑ Dollarhide and Bremer, 134.
- ↑ Home in St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ Online guide to St. Louis sources in the History and Genealogy Department in St. Louis County Library (accessed 2 February 2016).
- ↑ Home in St. Louis Genealogical Society (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ Introduction to LDS Family History Centers in Family History Research Wiki (accessed 29 February 2016).
- ↑ Genealogists in St. Louis Public Library (accessed 3 February 2016).
- ↑ U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ Dollarhide and Bremer, 47 and 67.
- ↑ Special Collections in Kansas City Public Library (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ About the Midwest Genealogy Center in Mid-Continent Public Library (accessed 5 May 2010).
- ↑ Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Information in Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (accessed 3 March 2016).
- ↑ Vital Records in Kansas City Public Library (accessed 2 Feb 2016).
- ↑ Research in Ozarks Genealogical Society (accessed 15 March 2014).
- ↑ Guide to Local History and Genealogy Department Collections in Springfield-Greene County Library District (accessed 15 March 2014).
- ↑ The Hulston Library in Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Missouri in National Park Service (accessed 15 March 2014).
- ↑ Our Collection in Harrison County Museum (accessed 7 March 2014).
- ↑ Dollarhide and Bremer, 39.