Missouri Vital Records
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.
For St. Louis city records from 1870 to the present, write to:
Division of Health
634 No. Grand Boulevard
P.O. Box 14702
St. Louis, MO 63178
The Family History Library also has 16 microfilms of the registers of the St. Louis City Hospital for 1846 to 1900.
St. Louis Public Library owns these microfilm birth and death record sets:
St. Louis, MO Birth Records, 1870-1910
St. Louis, MO Index to Register of Births, 1910-1929
St. Louis, MO Burial Permits, 1882-1908
St. Louis County, MO Birth Certificates, 1883-1910
St. Louis County, MO Death Certificates, 1883-1910
State Records of Births and Deaths
The Missouri State Archives offer an online searchable Missouri Birth & Death Records Database, Pre-1910, which is an abstract of births, stillbirths and death records from microfilm in the state archives. For the entries that exist, there is a wealth of genealogical information present.
Missouri Death Records are now online for the years 1910-1957.
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)
The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are listed in Where to Write for Vital Records: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Divorces(Hyattsville, Maryland.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 1993. (Family History Library book 973 V24wv.) Copies of this booklet are at the Family History Library and many Family History Centers.
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. For St. Louis, for example, the library has 147 microfilms from the city recorder (index for 1806-1965, records from 1808-1920, licenses from 1881-1966), and 14 films from the county recorder (index for 1877-1928, licenses from 1881-1933). The Missouri State Archives has copies of the same films available at the Family History Library.
St. Louis Public Library owns the following microfilm record sets:
St. Louis, MO Marriage Records, 1808-1882
St. Louis, MO Marriage Index, Males, 1806-1965
St. Louis, MO Marriage Index, Females, 1806-1963
St. Louis County, MO Marriages, 1881-1954
St. Louis County, MO Marriage Applications Index, 1882-1980
Most pre-1850 marriages in Missouri have been transcribed in publications such as the following:
- Brooks, Linda Barber. Missouri Marriages to 1850. Three Volumes. St. Louis,Missouri: Ingmire Pub., 1983-. (Family History Library book 977.8 V2bm.)
- Ormesher, Susan. Missouri Marriages Before 1840. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982. (Family History Library book 977.8 V2o; fiche 6051425.)
The Bureau of Vital Records (see address above) has an index to marriage records from July 1948 to the present.
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.
A published list of early divorce records is Lois Stanley, Divorces and Separations in Missouri, 1808-1853. Missouri: 198-. (Family History Library book 977.8 P2sd.) This volume includes notices from newspapers.
Inventory of Vital Records
To learn more about the history and availability of vital records, see Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records in Missouri (St. Louis, Missouri: Historical Records Survey, 1941; Family History Library book 977.8 V23g ; film 928021 item 10).