Missouri Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, FUGA, FASG, and Pamela Boyer Porter, CGRS, CGL for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Missouri sil.png
the Missouri Family History Research series.
History of Missouri
Missouri Vital Records
Census Records for Missouri
Background Sources for Missouri
Missouri Maps
Missouri Land Records
Missouri Probate Records
Missouri Court Records
Missouri Tax Records
Missouri Cemetery Records
Missouri Church Records
Missouri Military Records
Missouri Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Missouri Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Missouri Territorial Records
African Americans of Missouri
Missouri County Resources
Map of Missouri


Statewide and locally, many genealogical periodicals are published in Missouri. Both the Missouri Historical Review and the Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal cover the state on a broader spectrum. Indexes for Missouri Historical Review from its inception in 1906 to July 1976 are available for purchase from the State Historical Society of Missouri. Active local organizations can be contacted regarding their current publications as well as activities. To determine available material of a local nature, refer to the Directory, published by State Historical Society of Missouri (see Missouri Archives, Libraries, and Societies below).


The State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia holds the most complete newspaper collection. The earliest extant is the Missouri Gazette (1808'14), which has been microfilmed. The society periodically updates and publishes Missouri Newspapers on Microfilm at the State Historical Society of Missouri, available from the society for $14. The society will loan its microfilmed newspapers through the interlibrary loan system.

Several early newspapers have been abstracted for their genealogical material. These include The Liberty Tribune, The Springfield Advertiser, The St. Louis Christian Advocate, Death Records from Missouri Newspapers, 1810'1857, Death Records of Missouri Men, and Death Records of Missouri Pioneer Women. These have been privately published and are available in many libraries.

The State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia has indexed some of its newspapers, particularly those located in the Mid-Missouri geographic area. Newspapers that are indexed are listed on the society's website at www.system.missouri.edu/shs/newscardfiles.html. Those researching a topic or an ancestor may contact the society to request a copy of the list of index roll numbers needed to order the appropriate roll of index cards through interlibrary loan. Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis has a unique obituary clippings collection that began more than one hundred years ago. This collection concentrates on newspapers published in the eastern part of the state. St. Louis Public Library offers an online index to obituaries in St. Louis newspapers from 1880 to 1921, 1942 to 1945, and 1992 to 2002, with other years being added periodically. The St. Louis Mercantile Library (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies) holds the clipping file of the now-defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper.


The University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection (WHMC) at Columbia and the State Historical Society of Missouri created a joint collection of manuscript holdings in 1963, which is located at 23 Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65201. In 1968, branches of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection were created at University of Missouri campuses in Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis. WHMC-Columbia houses the records of the Missouri Historical Records Survey (1936'42), available on microfilm, which includes transcriptions of early court records. Each WHMC collection focuses primarily on a Missouri region'Columbia on Mid-Missouri, Kansas City on western Missouri, Rolla on southern Missouri and the Ozarks, and St. Louis on the eastern area. Collections include frontier and pioneer life, genealogy, travel and description, women, architecture, and many other topics. WHMC-Columbia maintains a card-file index of collections at all four branches. Indexes to the holdings of any or all of the branches can be searched online at shs.umsystem.edu/manuscripts/invent/subject.html. The records that survived the devastating fire of the capitol building in 1911 were combined into a collection at the State Historical Society of Missouri called the Capitol Fire Documents, which has been indexed and microfilmed. The collection consists of 13 reels of the index and 242 reels of documents. The original records and microfilmed copies are in the Missouri State Archives. The State Historical Society in Columbia has a copy of all the film.

The House and Senate journals are also in the Missouri State Archives. They have been microfilmed and are available for on-site research or purchase. Items of interest in the records of the General Assembly are private acts, early divorces, petitions, compensation for individuals, etc.

Federal records that pertain to Missouri citizens are located at the National Archives'Central Plains Region at 2306 E. Bannister Rd., Kansas City, MO 64131. Various Missouri federal records and finding aids are described online at www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/kansas_city/holdings.html in Guide to Archival Holdings at NARA's Central Plains Region (Kansas City).