Missouri County records differ extensively from county to county in either quality not to mention quantity. Some happen to have been carefully conserved and some have been substantially misused and overlooked. Many Missouri records have simply disappeared. For genealogists doing research in Missouri there is no valuable substitute for an on-site research of county court house records.

Each county has retained its own county records. Local records are constantly being compiled according to county by the Missouri Local Records Preservation Program. The state archives website holds a searchable database of those compiled records.

The recorder of deeds in each county is responsible for keeping the records pertaining to marriages. Official recording of those records was not required until 1881, but earlier records do exist. The clerk of the county court holds death and marriage records from before recording became mandatory in 1909.

The Missouri State Archives Birth and Death Records Database contains various pre-1909 records of stillbirths, births, and deaths. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Missouri Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Adair1841Macon CountyKirksville
Andrew1841Part of the Platte PurchaseSavannah
Atchison1843Holt County, part of the Platte PurchaseRock Port
Audrain1831Callaway, Monroe and Ralls countiesMexico
Barry1835Greene CountyCassville
Barton1855Jasper CountyLamar
Bates1841Van Buren (now Cass) CountyButler
Benton1835Pettis and Greene countiesWarsaw
Bollinger1851Cape Girardeau, Madison, Stoddard and Wayne countiesMarble Hill
Boone1821Howard CountyColumbia
Buchanan1838Part of the Platte PurchaseSaint Joseph
Butler1849Wayne CountyPoplar Bluff
Caldwell1836Ray CountyKingston
Callaway1821Boone, Howard and Montgomery countiesFulton
Camden1841Benton, Morgan and Pulaski countiesCamdenton
Cape Girardeau1812One of the five original countiesJackson
Carroll1833Ray CountyCarrollton
Carter1859Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley and Shannon countiesVan Buren
Cass1833Jackson CountyHarrisonville
Cedar1845Dade and St. Clair countiesStockton
Chariton1821Howard CountyKeytesville
Christian1859Greene, Taney and Webster countiesOzark
Clark1836Lewis CountyKahoka
Clay1822Ray CountyLiberty
Clinton1833Clay CountyPlattsburg
Cole1820Cooper CountyJefferson City
Cooper1818Howard CountyBoonville
Crawford1829Gasconade CountySteelville
Dade1841Barry and Polk countiesGreenfield
Dallas1841Polk CountyBuffalo
Daviess1836Ray CountyGallatin
DeKalb1843Clinton CountyMaysville
Dent1851Crawford and Shannon countiesSalem
Douglas1857Ozark CountyAva
Dunklin1843Stoddard CountyKennett
Franklin1818St. Louis CountyUnion
Gasconade1821Franklin CountyHermann
Gentry1841Clinton CountyAlbany
Greene1833Crawford and Wayne countiesSpringfield
Grundy1839Livingston CountyTrenton
Harrison1843Daviess CountyBethany
Henry1834Lillard (now Lafayette) CountyClinton
Hickory1845Benton and Polk countiesHermitage
Holt1841Part of the Platte PurchaseOregon
Howard1816St. Charles and St. Louis countiesFayette
Howell1857Oregon CountyWest Plains
Iron1857Madison, Reynolds, St. Francois, Washington and Wayne countiesIronton
Jackson1826Lillard (now Lafayette) CountyKansas City, Independence
Jasper1841Barry CountyCarthage
Jefferson1818St. Louis and Sainte Genevieve countiesHillsboro
Johnson1834Lillard (now Lafayette) CountyWarrensburg
Knox1843Scotland CountyEdina
Laclede1849Camden, Pulaski and Wright countiesLebanon
Lafayette1821Cooper CountyLexington
Lawrence1843Barry and Dade countiesMount Vernon
Lewis1833Marion CountyMonticello
Lincoln1818St. Charles CountyTroy
Linn1837Chariton CountyLinneus
Livingston1837Carroll CountyChillicothe
Macon1837Chariton and Randolph countiesMacon
Madison1818Cape Girardeau and Sainte Genevieve countiesFredericktown
Maries1855Osage and Pulaski countiesVienna
Marion1826Ralls CountyPalmyra
McDonald1847Newton CountyPineville
Mercer1845Grundy CountyPrinceton
Miller1837Cole and Pulaski countiesTuscumbia
Mississippi1842Scott CountyCharleston
Moniteau1845Cole and Morgan countiesCalifornia
Monroe1831Ralls CountyParis
Montgomery1818St. Charles CountyMontgomery City
Morgan1833Cooper CountyVersailles
New Madrid1812One of the five original countiesNew Madrid
Newton1838Barry CountyNeosho
Nodaway1843Andrew County, the Platte PurchaseMaryville
Oregon1841Ripley CountyAlton
Osage1841Gasconade CountyLinn
Ozark1841Taney CountyGainesville
Pemiscot1851New Madrid CountyCaruthersville
Perry1821Sainte Geneviere CountyPerryville
Pettis1833Cooper and Saline countiesSedalia
Phelps1857Crawford CountyRolla
Pike1818St. Charles CountyBowling Green
Platte1838Part of the Platte PurchasePlatte City
Polk1835Greene CountyBolivar
Pulaski1833Crawford CountyWaynesville
Putnam1843Adair and Sullivan countiesUnionville
Ralls1821Pike CountyNew London
Randolph1829Chariton and Ralls countiesHuntsville
Ray1820Howard CountyRichmond
Reynolds1845Shannon CountyCenterville
Ripley1831Wayne CountyDoniphan
St. Charles1812One of the five original countiesSaint Charles
St. Clair1841Rives (now Henry) CountyOsceola
St. Francois1821Jefferson, Sainte Genevieve and Washington countiesFarmington
St. Louis1812One of the five original countiesClayton
St. Louis City1876Created in 1876 when city residents voted to secede from St. Louis CountySt. Louis
St. Genevieve1812One of the five original countiesSainte Genevieve
Saline1820Cooper CountyMarshall
Schuyler1843Adair CountyLancaster
Scotland1841Clark, Lewis, and Shelby countiesMemphis
Scott1822New Madrid CountyBenton
Shannon1837Ripley CountyEminence
Shelby1835Marion CountyShelbyville
Stoddard1835New Madrid CountyBloomfield
Stone1851Taney CountyGalena
Sullivan1843Linn CountyMilan
Taney1837Greene CountyForsyth
Texas1843Shannon and Wright countiesHouston
Vernon1851Bates CountyNevada
Warren1833Montgomery CountyWarrenton
Washington1813Sainte Genevieve CountyPotosi
Wayne1818Cape Girardeau and Lawrence countiesGreenville
Webster1855Greene CountyMarshfield
Worth1861Gentry CountyGrant City
Wright1841Pulaski CountyHartville


List of Missouri Extinct Counties

Missouri has counties that no longer exist. They were set up by the state, provincial, or territorial governing administration. A lot of these counties were created and disbanded within the 19th century; county boundaries have evolved very little since Nineteen hundred in the vast most of states. These counties need to be considered when doing ancestry and genealogy research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or merged with another county.

  • Clark County, Missouri: Renamed Cleveland County in 1885
  • Decatur County, Missouri: Formed in 1841 as Ozark, renamed in 1843 to Decatur, renamed back to Ozark in 1845
  • Dodge County, Missouri: Formed in 1849. Abolished in 1853
  • Hempstead County, Missouri: Formed in 1818 from New Madrid County. Abolished in 1819; became part of the Arkansas Territory
  • Lillard County, Missouri: Formed in 1821 from Cooper County; Abolished in 1825; divided into Jackson and LaFayette Counties
  • Lawrence County, Missouri: Formed in 1815 from New Madrid County. Abolished in 1819; became part of the Arkansas Territory
  • Kinderhook County, Missouri: Formed in1841 from Benton, Pulaski and Morgan Counties, renamed in 1843 to Camden County
  • Niangua County, Missouri: Formed in1841 from Polk County, renamed in 1844 to Dallas County
  • Seneca County, Missouri: Formed in 1847 from Newton County; renamed to McDonald County in 1849
  • Van Buren County, Missouri: Formed as Van Buren, renamed to Cass County in 1849


List of Missouri Counties with Burned Courthouses

The damage to Missouri courthouses tremendously has a bearing on family historians in each and every way. Not only are these historic buildings ripped from each of our lifetimes, so are the archives they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed they’re lost permanently. Although they have been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn as well. The most tragic aspect of this is the reason why virtually all of our courthouses are destroyed from arsonist. However, not all the records were damaged or lost. A number of Missouri counties have experienced a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Barry County Courthouse Courthouse burned in 1861, some records destroyed
  • Bates County Courthouse Courthouse burned in 1861, some records destroyed
  • Bollinger County Courthouse – The courthouse burned in 1866 and 1884
  • Barton County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in November 1862
  • Camden County Courthouse – Courthouse burned 1902. Some deeds were re-recorded in 1902.
  • Caldwell County Courthouse – Fire consumed most county records when suspected arsonists set the courthouse ablaze April 19, 1860. On November 28, 1896, fire once again consumed the Caldwell County courthouse.
  • Cape Girardeau County Courthouse – Courthouse was destroyed by fire July 18, 1870
  • Crawford County Courthouse – Courthouse burned February 15, 1873, and again on January 5, 1884.
  • Chariton County Courthouse – A fire in the clerk’s office, apart from the courthouse, destroyed all County Court records November 11, 1861, and fires set by Confederates on September 20, 1864, destroyed the courthouse. The brick courthouse, painted white in 1969, was destroyed by fire August 27, 1973, during a renovation project.
  • Christian County Courthouse – Arsonists destroyed the building and all court records on August 20, 1865.
  • Dade County Courthouse – The courthouse was destroyed in the Civil War, October 6, 1863. Some records were destroyed
  • Dallas County Courthouse – Confederate troops burned the building October 18, 1863. Fire also destroyed two subsequent emergency quarters during 1864 and 1867, consuming most county records.
  • Dent County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1864 The next courthouse, built in 1864, also fell victim to fire in May 1866. The fire destroyed county records.
  • DeKalb County Courthouse – The Courthouse was destroyed by fire on Christmas night in 1878. Some early records were destroyed.
  • Douglas County Courthouse – Vandals burned the Militia Springs courthouse, destroying many records in July 1872. On April 26, 1886 the store building used for courthouse purposes was destroyed by fire, and again all records were destroyed.
  • Dunklin County Courthouse – Fire destroyed this courthouse during the Civil War. Courthouse burned again in April 1872; this was the fire that destroyed all records.
  • Gentry County Courthouse – The Courthouse was destroyed by windstorm on July 13, 1883. Some Early records lost.
  • Greene County Courthouse – A fire that destroyed the Courthouse on October 28, 1861
  • Harrison County Courthouse – Fire destroyed the Courthouse January 7, 1874.
  • Hickory County Courthouse – Fire destroyed the courthouse in 1852. A storm damaged part of the roof and upper story in April 1879; fire destroyed the building January 8, 1881. The 2 courthouse fires destroyed many records.
  • Holt County Courthouse – Courthouse Fire in February 1965. Records saved.
  • Howard County Courthouse – Fire destroyed the courthouse December 1, 1886. No recorde were lost.
  • Howell County Courthouse – In the fall of 1863, guerrillas burned West Plains and the Courthouse. Most records were destroyed. The county reorganized in 1866.
  • Jasper County Courthouse – Courthouse was destroyed by fire in October 1863. County records were saved by moving themto Neosho, Missouri
  • Knox County Courthouse – fire destroyed the courthouse on Christmas Eve 1885. No records were destroyed
  • Laclede County Courthouse – was destroyed by fire of unkown causes in 1920. County recorder and County treasurer were able to get to their office and take out all their records. Some records were kept in a vault which collapsed and Circuit Clerk A.H. Gray lost all the records in his possession. Sheriff Lambeth also had some records in this vault G.C. Jones superintendent of schools, lost everything in his office. Article
  • McDonald County Courthouse – In 1856 a log courthouse, reportedly built in Rutledge, was demolished by Rioters. Bushwackers burned the courthouse in 1863, destroying most records; Deeds before 1863 recreated.
  • Mercer County Courthouse – Fire destroyed the Courthouse March 24, 1898. Some Records were destroyed.
  • Morgan County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in the general town fire of March 12th, 1887.
  • Mississippi County Courthouse– Courthouse reportedly burned in 1891, Record loss unknown. The Courthouse burned, Monday, Feb. 10, 1997. Extensive damage done to records. Record loss is unknown at this time.
  • Maries County Courthouse – A fire, believed to have been set intentionally, destroyed the courthouse and most records November 6, 1868
  • Montgomery County Courthouse – Damaged by fire in the Civil War, the Courtgouse was later razed; The Courthouse burned April 12, 1901, destroying many county records. Copies of early original deds are in Jones Abstract Company in Montgomery City
  • Newton County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1862, destroying many county records.
  • Oregon County Courthouse – In October 1863 this courthouse was burned in a Civil War incident, destroying many county records.
  • Osage County Courthouse – A fire on November 14, 1880, damaged the courthouse. Fire destroyed the courthouse October 30, 1922.
  • Ozark County Courthouse – Courthouse destroyed by fire in 1858 or 1859, all early records were destroyed. 2nd Courthouse destroyed by fire sometime before February 1864., some records were lost. 3rd Courthouse destroyed by fire November 28, 1934.
  • Pemiscot County Courthouse – Courthouse burned December 2, 1882, most records were destroyed; Deed index from 1833 survived
  • Pulaski County Courthouse – Courthouse Fire destroyed most Pulaski County Court records June 13, 1903.
  • Randolph County Courthouse – Courthouse burned on August 12, 1882, the fire began in the second story between the two towers, consumed the courthouse.; Some records were destroyed. Deed index from 1829 survived
  • Reynolds County Courthouse – The courthouse has burned twice. The first time was in December, 1863, when the confederate army burned it. A new courthouse was built in the fall of 1867 on the same foundation as the prior one. This courthouse was burned in late November, 1871. Both times all records were destroyed. Temporary quarters again burned May 27, 1872, while a new “fireproof” courthouse was being built.
  • Ripley County Courthouse – The courthouse burned during the Civil War and again January 1, 1898, some records were destroyed.
  • Saline County Courthouse – In August 1864 the courthouse burned as a result of Civil War activity.
  • Stoddard County Courthouse – During Price’s raid in September 1864, the courthouse was burned by some stragglers, but fortunately the records had been removed.
  • Shannon County Courthouse – Courthouse was burned by Federal soldiers in 1863 destroying this early courthouse along with all county records;, Fire destroyed the Courthouse December 31, 1871; An arsonist set fire to the courthouse and both clerks’ offices in March of 1895. The courthouse was not seriously damaged, although all county records were destroyed; On May 23, 1938, fire destroyed the courthouse,
  • St. Clair County Courthouse – The Courthouse apparently was burned in September 1861 by Gen. James Lane. One account claims that Lane’s raid only partially destroyed the courthouse; by some accounts it was rebuilt and used until November 1864, when it was again burned in Civil War activity. Probate Court records were destroyed.
  • Sullivan County Courthouse – Fire destroyed the Courthouse June 26, 1908.
  • Taney County Courthouse – The courthouse was burned in 1863 by Union troops trying to keep the fortress out of the hands of Confederates. Fire destroyed the courthouse and most records December 19, 1885
  • Texas County Courthouse – Courthouse was destroyed during the Civil War. February 12, 1881, fire damaged the courthouse. On December 14, 1930, fire destroyed the Courthouse.
  • Vernon County Courthouse – Both the courthouse and clerk’s office were destroyed when the town was burned in 1863, County Court records are missing from 1861-65.
  • Washington County Courthouse – In 1906 the Courthouse burned, but before the building was completely destroyed the officials were able to carry the records out safely.
  • Wayne County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1853 or 1854, destroying all records. The records in the courthouse were stolen in 1866. Courthouse damaged by fire December 14, 1892, some records destroyed. Few official county records prior to 1893 survive.
  • Webster County Courthouse – Courthouse courthouse was accidentally burned by Federal Troops in 1863; The second story was damaged by a tornado on April 18, 1880. Minor record loss.
  • Worth County Courthouse – Fire destroyed this Courthouse in February 1866. No records loss
  • Wright County Courthouse – In 1849 courthouse was burned and partially destroyed in 1862. The courthouse burned, reportedly January 11, 1863. A tornado damaged the building in 1888 .County Court records for Wright County were destroyed in an 1896 fire. Courthouse burned in 1864 and 1897.