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Genealogy Links

The following websites may help you locate information on your St. Louis ancestors.

The Missouri State Archives (located in Jefferson City, with a branch in St. Louis) has many valuable online databases, most notably the Missouri Death Certificates database, 1910-1966. The following databases are also available:

The Central Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (located at 13th & Olive in downtown St. Louis) serves the city of St. Louis. The St. Louis Obituary Index includes death notices, burial permits, and obituaries from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for the years 1880-1930, 1942-1945, 1960-1970, and 1992-2014. (The late Robert M. Doerr compiled an addendum to the St. Louis Obituary Index, which covers deaths that appeared in the Post-Dispatch from January 1975 to June 1977.)

  • The St. Louis Public Library subscribes to Ancestry and Heritage Quest. These two subscription databases include the federal census records. St. Louis Public Library cardholders can access Heritage Quest from home. (Click on the Heritage Quest link, and log in with your card number and pin number. Contact webmaster@slpl.org if you have trouble accessing the database.)
  • The St. Louis Public Library subscribes to ProQuest's St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1874-2003) database, which includes the digitized, keyword-searchable St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874-2003. St. Louis Public Library cardholders can access this database from home. (Click on the Historical Newspapers: St. Louis Post-Dispatch link, and log in with your card number and pin number. Contact webmaster@slpl.org if you have trouble accessing the database.)
  • The microfilm collection also includes passenger records and indexes for all major East and Gulf Coast ports in the U.S., city directories for most larger Missouri cities, and 19th-century St. Louis City and County vital records and naturalization records.

The Headquarters Branch of the St. Louis County Library (located at 1640 South Lindbergh Blvd.) serves St. Louis County. This library has several online genealogy indexes and databases including the following:

  • "19th-Century U.S. Newspapers" subscription database includes the digitized, keyword-searchable St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1875-1888. St. Louis County Library cardholders can access this database from home. Please note: If you're not a cardholder and you cannot visit the library, check to see if your local public library or nearby university library subscribes to this database.
  • ProQuest's Historical St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1874-2003) subscription database includes the digitized, keyword-searchable St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1874-2003. St. Louis County Library cardholders can access this database from home.
  • Index to the St. Louis County Watchman-Advocate, 1881-1890. This newspaper was published in Clayton and focuses on St. Louis County rather than the city of St. Louis.
  • Index to obituaries in the German-language Westliche Post, 1875-1894.
  • See the Indexes page of the St. Louis County Library website for a complete list of online indexes. To do a global surname search of these indexes, key in a surname in the Genealogy Search box.
  • The St. Louis County Library subscribes to Ancestry and Heritage Quest. These two subscription databases include the federal census records. St. Louis County Library cardholders can access Heritage Quest from home.
  • The St. Louis County Library subscribes to Fold3.com (formerly known as Footnote.com), which includes digitized St. Louis city directories (1863-1923). St. Louis County Library cardholders can access Fold3 from home.

The St. Louis Mercantile Library (located on the campus of the University of Missouri–St. Louis) has an online index to the "morgue" of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper, which was a massive clippings file that covers the period 1920s-1980s. Researchers can search by name or St. Louis subject. This is a great resource to consult if you're looking for information regarding an individual, business, institution, or topic in this time period. To search the name index most effectively, key in the surname only. Please note that the online index is not complete; indexing of personal names currently is only completed through "Von." Contact the Mercantile Library to look up a name after "Von."

The State Historical Society of Missouri (located in Columbia) has an online index to selected Missouri newspapers, including a few St. Louis newspapers for the years 1808-1828, 1835-1840. In addition, the reference library's Missouri Surname Index is a valuable card catalog that is not searchable online

The St. Louis Genealogical Society has several online indexes, many of which were published in issues of the St. Louis Genealogical Society Quarterly. The St. Louis Genealogical Society has also published several valuable CDs of local records including the following:

  • "St. Louis Death Registers: An Index to Deaths Recorded in the City and County of St. Louis, 1850-1908"
  • Four CDs of St. Louis burials that include records of more than 1 million burials in hundreds of St. Louis City and County cemeteries.

Selected St. Louis City and County directories are accessible online.

Selected St. Louis newspapers that have been digitized and rendered keyword searchable.

Search for burials in Catholic cemeteries in St. Louis on the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis website.

Missouri Digital Heritage provides digital images of selected publications, documents, and photographs from many Missouri libraries and archives. The following are a couple highlights:

The 22nd Circuit Court website includes several indexes to St. Louis probate estates (circa 1888-2000) and guardianships (circa 1812-2000). For more information about these indexes and procedures for viewing the documents or requesting photocopies, visit the Probate Division Resource Room page.

The St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project is an ongoing effort of the Missouri State Archives–St. Louis to process and index the pre-1876 records of the St. Louis Circuit Court. (The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County split in 1876.) Please note that only selected records are currently searchable online.

St. Louis University yearbooks (1913-2005) have been digitized and are available online. St. Louis University course catalogs (1829-1902) are also available. (These catalogs often include lists of students.) To globally search all the St. Louis University Libraries digital collections, go to the advanced search page. Please note: These yearbooks and catalogs were rendered searchable by optical character recognition (OCR) software, which translates scanned printed text into machine-readable (i.e., searchable) text. Sometimes the OCR software misinterprets the typeset letters. The photograph collection includes many St. Louis University Medical School graduating class photographs; however, it appears that the names of the students in these photographs have not been indexed.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial website includes several databases of records relating to African Americans recorded in St. Louis courts, 1804-1865.

Pictorial St. Louis, the Great Metropolis of the Mississippi Valley, published in 1875, contains bird's-eye views of the city of St. Louis in 1875. Many residential and commercial buildings are identified by name.

The University of Missouri has digitized their collection of Sanborn fire insurance maps, 1880-1922. To view fire insurance maps for St. Louis, visit the preceding link and click the FIND MAPS BY CITY link, then click ST. LOUIS. Click the "+" button to display a second set of search boxes. In each of the two FIELD boxes, change the search parameter to STREET NAME. Then, in the two SEARCH TERMS boxes, key in the names of the nearest intersecting streets to the street address you are seeking. For example, key in GRAVOIS in the top box and ARSENAL in the lower box. Omit the street suffix (i.e., Avenue, Blvd., Street).

Search and view digital images of issues of the Country Day News (1917-1992), the student newspaper of St. Louis Country Day School, on the Country Day News Archives website.

Search and view digital images of the employee magazines of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (The Frisco) (1902-1935) on the Springfield–Greene County Library website. Please note that the search option has some limitations; in some cases browsing the issues of the magazines may be helpful.

Search for records of death circa 1962-present in the Social Security Death Index.

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System provides an index to the compiled military service records held at the National Archives. Please note: If you locate an ancestor in this online index who served in a Missouri Union or Confederate unit, the service records for these units are accessible on the subscription service Fold3.com (formerly known as Footnote).

The National Graves Registration Project compiled by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War contains burial records of many Civil War veterans.

For a guide to genealogical research in St. Louis, consult Ann Fleming's St. Louis Family History Research Guide (published in 2008). This book is available in the Missouri History Museum Library.

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