Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Genealogical Research in Government Documents: Missouri State Publications

This guide tells how to use Federal Depository Library collections for genealogical research

Genealogically useful information in Missouri state publications

I.  Session laws. (1820-present).   Look at the “Private Laws” section, also called “Acts of a Private Nature.”  Limited indexing at the back of each volume.

  • Adoptions
  • Name changes
  • Divorces and child custody
  • Appointing guardians for orphaned children
  • Granting free blacks permission to live in the state
  • Legitimizing marriages and the children born in them
  • Allowing certain individuals not to pay taxes, because of infirmity
  • Paying individuals for service to the state (county sheriffs, etc.)  This is called “Relief.”
  • Authorizing a person to build a toll-bridge
  • Granting people exceptions, so a law would not apply to them

II.  Reports of state agencies and institutions.  The following agencies’ publications are most likely to list names:

  • Report of the Public Schools of Missouri
    Dates available: 1858-present
    Early editions list names of teachers
  • Missouri Adjutant General’s reports
    Dates available: 1861-1924
    Lists names of selected officers in Civil War, War of 1898, and WWI
  • Penitentiary records
    Dates available: mid-late 1800s
    Lists names and ages of prisoners along with their county of residence, crime, length of sentence, etc.  There is a cumulated index available.
  • Missouri state colleges and normal schools, and special state-run schools like the Missouri School for the Blind and Missouri School for the Deaf.   Annual reports from state reformatories do not show names, but census records might.   Dates vary.
  • Miscellaneous :
  •  State boards of Licensing and Registration show names of 19th century doctors and midwives.
  •  Department of Labor shows names of union leaders in each county
  •  Missouri Official Manuals (“Blue Books”) show names of people who ran for state and county offices.
  •  Contested elections go into great detail on the age, birthplace, and naturalization status of people who voted in local elections.  These are fairly rare.

Find libraries that own any of the above by using the Missouri Historical Documents Browser.


Govt Documents Coordinator

Marie Concannon's picture
Marie Concannon
MU students:
Make an appointment with me
in MU Connect
106-B Ellis Library
(573) 882-0748