NGS Research in the States Series: Missouri

Beginning in 1987, the National Genealogical Society began publishing a series of state guides in the organization’s magazine, the Quarterly. These guides were later issues as special publications. The latest version of the series contains revised guides, plus additional states not included in the previous releases. NGS Research in the States Series: Missouri, is the first to be reviewed here, but is just one of many in the complete series. This volume was written by Pamela Boyer Porter and Ann Carter Fleming with series editors Kay Haviland Freilich and Ms. Fleming.

This handbook opens with a short history of the growth and settlement of the state. By the mid-1800, Missouri marked the boundaries of the western frontier. Gold miners, adventure seekers, and families alike left the States in search of new opportunities many hoped to find in the territories and lands out west. Opportunities arose and many choose to stay in Missouri. Heavy German and Irish immigrant populations played a big roll in the state, but were not the only voices to be heard. Records of these early settlers are just a part of those examined in this guide.

Beyond a brief history, the booklet is broken into two main sections. First is a summary for the primary locations of records, Archives, Libraries, and Societies. The larger section is dedicated to Major Resources, which for the most part means various record types. Each record is described, often giving additional historical background, with information on where to find these records. For example, the State-Level Land Records subsection mentions the state received land grants from the Federal Government that the state then sold to individuals. Sales helped finance roads and canal projects. Records of these sales are held by the Missouri State Archives, “and most patents are on microfilm there.”

The conclusion of the book is short but defining. “People of every hue, creed, occupation, and origin left their tracks on Missouri’s hills, plains, and prairies. Their footprints are found throughout the state’s archives, libraries, and government offices. To study Missouri families, however, one must know the history of the state; and one must understand its records and their access.” Original records may be of limited access, however, microfilm, subject matter books, and Internet based indexes and digital record copies make accessing original information much easier and more practical then ever before. This guide will help those researching Missouri ancestor through a greater historical perspective and information on accessing records.


Table of Contents

History and Settlement

Archives, Libraries, and Societies

  • Missouri State Archives
  • State Historical Society of Missouri
  • Western Historical Manuscript Collection
  • National Archives and Records Administration
    • National Archives-Central Plains Region
    • National Civilian Personnel Record Center
    • National Military Personnel Record Center
  • Missouri Historical Society
  • Other Libraries
  • Other Societies

Major Resources

  • Aids to Research
  • Atlases, Gazetteers, and Maps
  • Biographical Guides
  • Cemetery Records
  • Censuses and Census Substitutes
    • Colonial Censuses
    • Federal Censuses
    • State Censuses
    • Miscellaneous Censuses
  • City and County Directories
  • City-Level Research
  • County-level Research
  • Court Records
    • County-Level Courts
    • District- and State-Level Courts
    • Federal Courts
  • Ethnic Records
    • African Americans
    • Native Americans
  • Land Records
    • Colonial Grants
    • U.S. Land Distribution
    • State-Level Land Records
    • County-Level Land Records
  • Military Records
    • Militia and National Guard Service
    • Ware of 1812
    • Indian Wars
    • Mormon War
    • Iowa or Honey War
    • Mexican War
    • Civil War
    • Civil War (Postwar Activities)
    • Spanish-American War
    • World War I
    • Other Military Actions
    • Military Records: Benefits
  • Naturalization Records
  • Newspapers
  • Religious Records
  • State Records
  • Tax Records
  • Vital Records
    • Adoption Records
    • Birth and Death Records
    • Marriage and Divorce Records
    • Miscellaneous “Vital Records”
  • Voter Registration
  • Women of Missouri
  • Conclusion


NGS Research in the States Series: Missouri is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: NGS06, Price: $15.79.

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