BULLET Guidelines for those seeking genealogy related information from St. Louis Public Library:
St. Louis Public Library receives over 2,000 questions per month related to genealogy. We wish to facilitate your research and, at the same time, make it easier for our staff to assist you.

1. Please include your mailing address with any communication as copies may be necessary to answer your question.

2. Research fees and copy fees are noted. We will provide copies of materials from the resources noted on our web site. These are generally indexes; the full-text is not available electronically. In most cases the genealogy material is from older sources that have been microfilmed so we usually recommend mailing rather than faxing. We also unable (as yet) to scan the text and send the information to you via e-mail. Prepayment is not necessary; an invoice is included with any mailing of copies.

3. To search for information in the newspapers that we have in our collections, we will need the month, day, and year. We cannot search an entire month or more for a name or event. If we have the full date we will check a few days on either side of the day, and we will check the St. Louis Globe-Democrat or another appropriate daily paper if the data is not found in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Because of the volume of requests handled monthly, we do not normally note the source and page number on each page of copy.

4. We do not loan our newspaper microfilm to other libraries because of the high usage within our library. Your local library may be able to borrow it from another source through its inter-library loan service. The best source for Missouri newspapers is:

State Historical Society of Missouri
1020 Lowry Street
Columbia, MO 65201-7298

5. Regarding vital records (birth, death, marriage), please see the Selected List of Genealogy Information Available in Microform. We have on Microfilm St. Louis City Births, 1870 - 1908, Deaths, 1850 - 1908, Marriages, 1808 - 1882. For some of the registers the information on the film is very faint, so copies may not be very clear. Below are the addresses, if you wish to contact the Vital Records offices for copies. You should verify the fee in advance as these offices require prepayment. If you do not have a full date for us to look for obituaries in the newspapers, you should try to get a death certificate first.

For the City:
Deaths - 1850 - 1908
Birth - 1870 - date

St. Louis City Vital Records Division, Recorder of Deeds Office
St. Louis City Hall
1200 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2881
Births from c. 1870:
314/613-3016, 314/613-3017; Room 127
Deaths from c. 1850:
314/613-3018, 314/613-3019; Room 124
Marriages: 314/622-3257; Room 126

For St. Louis County:

St. Louis County Vital Records Division
St. Louis County Health Department
111 S. Meramec Avenue
Clayton, MO 63105-1711
County records since 1876

6. We have City Directories for St. Louis City for 1821-1980 and St. Louis County for 1893-1979. Please note that in the early years these were not necessarily issued annually. The directories were discontinued on the dates noted. Searching by address is not possible before 1930. If we are provided with a span of years rather than a particular year or years, staff will check every few years rather than every year.

7. We have an index to naturalization papers for St. Louis City for 1838-1849 and 1860-1876.

8. The obituary indexes on our web site at include obituaries, burial permits, and death notices. You can see that not all years are included. This is an ongoing, long-term project using the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. Staff started the index in 1992 and have continued since that date. 1918-1919 include an influenza epidemic where a large number of deaths were recorded as well as the deaths during WWI. The years encompassing World War II follow. Plans are to return to 1895 and move forward to fill in the remaining years. We have not had success in finding information before that date as death notices were not regularly recorded.

We will provide copies of obituaries, etc. for years not indexed. As noted above in #4, we must have the month, day, and year in order to do the search.

If you have multiple names to request, please limit the number requested to 20 or fewer per message.

9. During both World War I and World War II Casualty Lists were included in the newspaper. These listed those soldiers Killed In Action (KIA), Missing in Action (MIA), Prisoner of War (POW) and wounded. KIA's and MIA's have been added to these indexes and are also identified with (#). In many cases MIA's were never found and are presumed to have died in service. Those that were reported found or POW were not included in this index. There is also a separate African-American list.

10. If you are interested in copies, please include the name of the source as you find it on our web site, year(s), name(s), and date(s) as listed in order for us to fill your request as soon as possible. Remember to include your mailing address.

11. If you have multiple types of items to request such as marriage certificates, obituaries, etc. please limit each message to one type of item. Some items go to different departments (History & Genealogy, Microforms, etc.) and it is simpler to send one message to one department than one message to multiple departments. We can also better assure that all your questions have been handled.

12. If the nature of your question appears to involve major research, multiple years, and/or multiple resources, staff may suggest that you contact local researchers who do such work for a fee.

13. If you wish to ask a question about this information or the materials you find referenced on our web site, please send e-mail to our Reference Desk which will give you an electronic message form to complete. Once your message is received, it will be initially acknowledged within a few days of receipt. The amount of time it takes to acknowledge will depend on the number of questions being logged through webref at that time. Due to the nature of our system, this acknowledgement may come from an individual’s e-mail address rather than webref. Please continue to post questions and responses, however, to webref rather than the individual in case the individual is on vacation, etc. Webref will be monitored during normal working hours for Central Library.

Back to the History and Genealogy Department